WASHINGTON, D.C., May 9, 2017—Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) delivered a keynote address to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) membership at its annual Legislative Conference.
In his remarks, Sen. Gardner discussed numerous issues that impact independent insurance agents including tax reform and health care. He also provided an overview of the progress the Trump Administration has made thus far for the sake of small businesses and the clients they serve.
Sen. Gardner noted that one thing independent insurance agents and legislators have in common is that the work they do and the decisions they make should aim to help Main Street America thrive.
Over the last three months, “the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have worked with the Administration to reduce regulations by more than $85 billion in the U.S. economy,” Sen. Gardner said. “We also reduced the amount of paperwork required by all of you by more than 54 million hours.”
What’s yet to come for the communities independent agents serve every day? Gardner touched on several areas:
Tax reform. “How can we have a tax reform package that lowers the burden for American families and lets them invest their money the way they want to—instead of the way Washington thinks they should?” Sen. Gardner asked. “Keep government out of the way of American work.”
Sen. Gardner is from Yuma, Colorado, a tiny town on the eastern plains of the state. “That small town is primarily farmers and ranchers,” he explained. “I realized if we’re going to find new ways to keep them on the farm, and find new ways to bring new generations of farmers and ranchers back to the eastern plains, we need people to stand up and fight for economic opportunity.”
Doing that requires economic growth, Sen. Gardner said. “Every 1% in GDP growth creates hundreds of thousands of jobs. It brings billions of dollars into the U.S. treasury because more people are earning more money.”
“We can lower our tax rates,” Sen. Gardner summarized. “I know there’s a number of you who have concerns about how we do that. Working together, we can have a bill that represents the best ideas to reduce tax burdens that allows us to meet all our goals.”
Health care. “What we have in terms of health care continues to increase in costs for the American people,” Sen. Gardner stressed. “Thousands of people have lost their health insurance plans and had their doctors cancel on them.”
In Colorado, 150,000 people saw their health insurance cost increase by 77% in the last few years, Sen. Gardner pointed out. “That cannot continue,” he said. “The promise that the cost would be lowered by $2,500 a family was broken. We need a replacement for the Affordable Care Act that gives quality of care. We know there’s a difference between access and coverage. So how we can make sure people have access to that insurance through affordable coverage?”
Like insurance solutions, every legislative decision should revolve around safety and well-being—not just cost, Sen. Gardner said. “If the cost outweighs the benefit, maybe it’s not the best thing for us to be moving forward.”
Sen. Gardner was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. He currently serves on the Senate Energy & Natural Resource Committee; the Foreign Relations Committee; the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; and the Budget Committee. Sen. Gardner is chairman of the Energy Subcommittee and the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. In addition to his numerous committee leadership roles, As Chair of the NRSC, Sen. Gardner is committed to helping other Republicans get elected. He previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives and as a state legislator.
Prior to his career in public service, Sen. Gardner was a legislative aide, a practicing attorney and worked in his family’s business. He grew up in the small town of Yuma, Colorado, where his family owned and operated a hardware store. Sen. Gardner earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado State University and a law degree from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) also delivered a keynote address at the breakfast event which occurs just before members go to Capitol Hill to lobby their federal representatives. The Big “I” Legislative Conference is the insurance industry’s best-attended, most effective legislative meeting.
Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.