NU Online News Service, June 8, 2:27 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON—Edward Rust Jr., chairman and CEO of State Farm, has been elected vice chairman of the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Rust will serve a one-year term.
He replaces John Ruan, who was elected by the Chamber board to be chairman.
Chamber president and CEO Thomas Donohue says one of Rust’s jobs will be to persuade Congress to pass pending trade agreements.
“By failing to act on the pending trade agreements or create a competitive tax environment, American businesses are being put at a competitive disadvantage,” Donohue says in a statement.
Trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama are now being considered by the Senate, but are being held up by a dispute over including an extension of legislation designed to help workers hurt by increased trade.
Democrats in the Senate as well as the White House are demanding an extension of the provision, called “trade adjustment assistance” (TAA), as their price for passage of the trade deals.
The legislation expired in February.
In May, 162 House Democrats called for a five-year extension of TAA, while 41 Senate Democrats and 25 governors sent letters to the White House supporting a deal that includes TAA before formally submitting any of the trade deals to Congress.
“Ed understands that there is a lot Washington can be doing to help alleviate the uncertainty businesses are facing,” Donohue says. “But he also recognizes that part of Washington’s job is to get out of the way. More burdensome regulations won’t help the private sector do what it does best: expand and create jobs.”
Rust also currently serves as vice chair of the Business Roundtable and co-chairman of the Business Coalition for Student Achievement.
He serves on the boards of America’s Promise Alliance, the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Achieve Inc. He is a member of the boards of directors of Caterpillar Inc., Helmerich & Payne Inc. and McGraw-Hill Cos.