15-year-old gets a lesson on lobbying representatives

WASHINGTON — Daniel McMichael is taking home more from his trip to Washington, D.C., than a souvenir quill and ink pen set he purchased at the Supreme Court gift shop.

Rep. Scott Perry and Daniel McMichael

The 15-year-old attended the joint United Motorcoach Association-American Bus Association Capitol Hill Day with his father, Dale McMichael, president of Executive Coach in Lancaster, Pa.

The advanced-placement government student learned what it means to exercise his First Amendment right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances” by attending legislative meetings with Pennsylvania Republican Congressmen Lloyd Smucker, Lou Barletta, Bill Shuster and Scott Perry, and legislative aides for Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

“It was life changing,” Daniel said. “No matter how long you learn about what goes on in Capitol Hill, you are never truly prepared.”

Daniel is writing a paper for his government class about his experience on the Hill, interest group politics and HR 2120 – “Buses United for Safety, Regulatory Reform and Enhanced Growth for the 21st Century” (BUSREGS-21), which was introduced last year by Perry.

The bill targets several regulations proposed or enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

Industry advocates say HR 2120 is an attempt at comprehensive regulatory reform.

The goal is improving safety while relaxing unnecessary regulations in a way that will spark investment, growth and expansion in an industry that has contracted in recent years.

Although the bill hasn’t gotten a formal hearing in Congress, it still has had a positive impact since it was introduced, and some components of the legislation have made their way into other congressional measures or benefited from executive action.

“Daniel is my retirement plan,” his father said, because the teen would like to eventually take over the operations of Executive Coach.

For now, Daniel works at the company cleaning buses, but he hopes to soon start learning about the financial part of the business with an internship in the accounting department.

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