Tim Smith elected new NASLBC chairman

Tim Smith was elected Chairman of the BLET's National Association of State Legislative Board Chairmen (NASLBC) during the Board's annual meetings in Las Vegas.

Smith, Chairman of the California State Legislative Board, is filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Brother J.T. Norris (also retiring from his post as Chairman of the Virginia State Legislative Board ), who pulled the pin in early May.

"In the short and long term, it's my goal to empower this Board to do the things we are constitutionally bound to do through education and communication," Smith said.

In addition to Chairman Smith, the following officers were elected to serve the NASLBC: 1st Vice Chairman Bill Verdeyen (Indiana State Legislative Board Chairman); 2nd Vice Chairman Terry Todd (Arkansas State Legislative Board Chairman); Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kertesz (Pennsylvania State Legislative Board Chairman); and Alternate S-T Mike McClary (Tennessee State Legislative Board Chairman). Brother Verdeyen was elected by acclamation.

The NASLBC also elected regional chairmen to represent different areas of the United States. Region 1 Chairman is Tim Hanely (Ohio State Legislative Board Chairman); Region 2 Chairman is Dave Lavery (Florida State Legislative Board Chairman); Region 3 Chairman is Ed Way (Illinois State Legislative Board Chairman); and Mike Muscha (North Dakota State Legislative Board Chairman) was reelected to the office of Region 4 Chairman.

The new NASLBC Chairman and his officers are stepping into office with bright hopes for the future.

"We have a younger group of dedicated State Chairmen who are full of talent and energy," Smith said. "We want to make this legislative body of the BLET a force for the carriers to reckon with."

He also bid farewell and thank you to the retiring officers. In addition to Brother Norris, who is retiring from the office of Chairman, NASLBC Secretary-Treasurer Perry Renfro (Oklahoma State Legislative Board Chairman) is also retiring.

"We will miss J.T. Norris and Perry Renfro, and we aim to do them proud," Smith said.

In addition to the election of officers, members of the NASLBC discussed legislative and political strategies for the coming election cycle. NASLBC members also considered numerous resolutions of importance to locomotive engineers and trainmen, such as two-person train crews and the safety of train crews who transport spent nuclear fuel.

BLET National President Don M. Hahs, First Vice President Ed Rodzwicz and National Secretary-Treasurer Bill Walpert were in attendance to address the Chairmen. BLET Auxiliary President Becky Schneider also addressed the group.

The Chairmen also enjoyed a special presentation by Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa, who spoke about the importance of the upcoming Presidential elections and the need to support political action funds, such as the Teamsters D.R.I.V.E. fund and the BLET PAC fund.

BLET Vice President and National Legislative Representative John P. Tolman was also in attendance. He spoke about plans to increase donations to the BLET PAC fund, and provided the Chairmen with updates regarding a railroad security bill currently pending introduction on Capitol Hill. Tolman also said the NASLBC and the BLET's National Legislative Office will work together in the coming months to coordinate a voter registration drive, a push to educate members about using absentee ballots, and boosting donations to the BLET PAC fund.

As part of that plan, the Chairmen are organizing a golf tournament for later this year (which may become an annual event) to raise money for and to help boost the exposure of the PAC fund.

The meetings concluded on April 28. Election of officers was held on April 27. The meetings were held in conjunction with the Teamsters annual Unity Conference, which begins on April 29, and the BLET's Western General Chairman's Association meetings, which begin on May 1. Next year's NASLBC meeting is tentatively scheduled for mid-May of 2008.

From left: J.T. Norris, retiring Chairman of the National Association of State Legislative Board Chairmen, passes the gavel to newly-elected Chairman Tim Smith. Brother Norris has since retired as Chairman of the Virginia State Legislative Board after many years of dedicated service, while Smith is Chairman of the California State Legislative Board.

Above, from left: J.T. Norris, outgoing NASLBC Chairman; Don Hahs, BLET National President; James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President; and Craig Gilchrist, Montana State Legislative Board Chairman. Brother Gilchrist presented the artwork by Montana Artist Don Greytak to President Hoffa on behalf of the NASLBC. Gilchrist's father, Gil, a 38-year veteran of the Great Northern, made the frame himself from wood salvaged from an old church. Calvin Burr, retired Montana State legislative Board Chairman, works with the artist to make sure the locomotives he draws are 100 percent mechanically accurate.

Left, from left: BLET National President Don Hahs; NASLBC Chairman Tim Smith (California); Vice President & National Legislative Representative John Tolman; National Secretary-Treasurer Bill Walpert; and NASLBC 1st Vice Chairman Bill Verdeyen (Indiana).

Standing, from left: NASLBC Region 1 Chairman Tim Hanely (Ohio); NASLBC Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kertesz (Pennsylvania); NASLBC 2nd Vice Chairman Terry Todd (Alabama); NASLBC Region 4 Chairman Mike Muscha (North Dakota); NASLBC Region 2 Chairman Dave Lavery (Florida); and NASLBC Alternate Secretary-Treasurer Mike McClary (Tennessee).

Present but pictured is NASLBC Region 3 Ed Way, Chairman of the Illinois State Legislative Board.



© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen