Scott Dane will be one of the featured speakers at the third day of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday. The executive director of the Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota will address the RNC and likely speak about the concerns of his industry. This includes protecting the state's timber production through measures such as tariffs on rival countries.
Dane Is A Strong Backer Of Trump's Tariffs On Canadian Lumber
When President Donald Trump announced tariffs averaging 20 percent that would be placed on softwood lumber sent to the United States from Canada in 2017, it was welcomed by Dane and other timber industry leaders in Minnesota and neighboring Wisconsin, according to a report by CBS Minnesota. The decision was viewed as a way to protect the communities across America's upper Midwest, both the sawmills and the loggers who supply them. The industry had been plagued by struggles for nearly a decade prior, beginning with the 2008 housing market crash that drove down demand for softwood lumber products.
The Trump administration also blamed these struggles on Canada's decades of unfair subsidization of their own softwood lumber industry, through measures such as harvesting timber on public land at below market rates. Canada disputed the allegations and said the measures would harm American homebuyers who will have to pay more for wood. Timber imports from Canada totaled $5.66 billion in 2016, and the tariffs were expected to raise the cost of importing by about $1 billion.
Dane hailed the decision as necessary protection for timber production in Minnesota. In the time since the housing market crash, the state has seen seven major mills leave, making up 25 to 30 percent of its total logging workforce. At the time of the announcement, loggers had numbered 1,500 in Minnesota while the industry that consists of paper and lumber mills employs roughly 40,000.
"It's about time. This will be good for Minnesota and the timber industry. It's been frustrating to the timber industry for years to see full rail cars heading south from Canada," said Dane at the time.
He continued to support the tariffs in 2018, explaining the rise in domestic costs necessary if American industry is protected, according to a report by the Brainerd Dispatch.
"It's something we recognize as necessary. Just because you can buy two-by-fours cheaper somewhere else, or buy steel cheaper somewhere else-that doesn't do anything for our forest products industry or our steel industry in the United States," Dane said. "The Walmart conception that cheaper is always better isn't something we subscribe to."
Dane Has Supported Republican Politicians In The Past
Dane has previously endorsed Republican politicians, with the Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota holding some considerable influence in the state. In 2018, he and the organization backed Pete Stauber, who went on to win his race and become a United States representative for Minnesota's 8th congressional district.
His backing of Stauber was due to the then-candidate's support for loggers, truckers and other similar jobs throughout his rise in state politics. Including Stauber, the organization had only endorsed three previous candidates in the prior 14 years.
"We want people that recognize the value of the forest products industry in Minnesota and how it contributes economically and environmentally in Minnesota. It's Pete Stauber-compared to other candidates who have expressed minimal interest in the industry or have been adversarial to the industry," said Dane during an appearance at a campaign stop alongside the future representative.