The knowledge elected officials know about manufacturing varies drastically, according to French-Lutz.
Warren Davidson, the U.S. congressman representing the district where French Oil is located, was involved in his family's manufacturing company before being elected to Congress in 2016. He even served as chair of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association, so she said he is very familiar with and supportive of manufacturers.
Others, though, don't know much about manufacturing, so the associations can help them learn the ropes.
French-Lutz, through her work with the DRMA, worked quite a bit with former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley—who lost a gubernatorial bid in the Nov. 8 elections—on initiatives to increase the opportunities for women in the work force.
The associations look to gain support from those in both parties.
"Their methods to meet their goals are different, but we definitely work with elected officials from both sides of the aisle," French-Lutz said. "No. 1, you never know who is going to be in office. No. 2, regardless of who's in office, we need support as an industry. And they need to understand the challenges we face."
One example of an issue that, at first, didn't appear to impact manufacturers, she said, was the legalization of marijuana. Politicians generally look at it from a "justice standpoint," but it can impact companies and their ability to hire, particularly firms that perform government contract work.
"They cannot hire anybody who can't pass a drug test," French-Lutz said. "So the more there's legalization of marijuana, even at a medical level, if someone can't pass a drug test, we can't hire them."
Different organizations have different policies, but French Oil officials think the risk is too high, particularly because there is no current impairment test.
"All we can do is find out if (marijuana is) in their system," French-Lutz said. "If there's an injury or an accident—whether it leads to it or not—that brings up workers comp issues. It's just not a road we're willing to go down from a safety perspective.
"Elected officials were not cognizant of that whatsoever," she said.