SEMA News—February 2018


By Daniel Ingber

Lawmakers Love Cars

State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus Leads the Way in Support of the Hobby

Lawmakers Love Cars
Current and former members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus gathered this past November to enjoy dinner, meet with SEMA staff, and tour the 2017 SEMA Show. The caucus is comprised of more than 750 legislators from all 50 states and helps raise the automotive hobby’s profile in the state capitols. In attendance were (standing left to right) Sen. Jim Patrick (ID); Rep. Howard Mosby (GA); Rep. Joe Pitre (NH); Del. Terri Sypolt (WV); Sen. Dave Sypolt (WV); Assemblymember Jim Frazier (CA); Rep. Stan Blake (WY); Sen. Josh Newman (CA); Sen. Mo Denis (NV); Rep. Roger Bruce (GA); Rep. Patrick Brennan (VT); Rep. Jason Ridley (GA); (seated left to right) Rep. Chip Campbell (SD); Sen. Mark Maynard (WV); Caucus Chairman Del. Gary Howell (WV); Sen. Tony Mendoza (CA); Former Sen. Mark Manendo (NV); and Rep. Linda Gallagher (KS).
It’s often said that it’s not what you know but who you know. In today’s political climate, it pays to have a sizeable Rolodex.

Given the outsized influence that states play in regulating the automotive specialty-equipment aftermarket industry, SEMA recognized long ago the importance of forging relationships with some of the most powerful state lawmakers in the country, and the results speak for themselves.

SEMA officially chartered the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus in 2005. It was the byproduct of long-standing relationships with legislators around the country. The caucus is a nonpartisan group of state lawmakers who love automobiles and appreciate the important role the industry plays as an economic driver in communities across the United States. Working in their state capitals, caucus members preserve and protect the industry by seeking to improve existing motor vehicle laws and creating new programs to safeguard and expand the hobby.

Currently led by West Virginia Delegate Gary Howell (R), these state-level legislators have been responsible for a range of pro-industry legislation, such as titling and registration for custom cars and street rods, reducing the tax burden on collector-car owners, implementing commonsense exhaust-noise testing programs and emissions exemptions, allowing single rear license plates, and abolishing ethanol requirements in gasoline.

The state caucus, now comprised of more than 750 members, is a vital tool for SEMA’s efforts to protect the industry. It has also been valuable to SEMA’s efforts to work with Congress, as many state caucus members have gone on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. To see if your state lawmaker is a member of the caucus, visit For more information on the caucus, contact Daniel Ingber via email at

Tell the U.S. Congress What Matters Most to You at the 2018 SEMA Washington Rally

Whether it’s pursuing a pro-growth and job-creation agenda or combating counterfeit products, there are many issues facing SEMA members in the nation’s capital. Join fellow SEMA members in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 16, for the 2018 SEMA Washington Rally.

The Washington Rally is your opportunity to demonstrate to congressional lawmakers the importance and strength of the $41-billion specialty-equipment industry. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to connect face-to-face with your legislators on Capitol Hill and inform them of the issues that matter most to you, your community and your business. The SEMA Washington Rally is exclusively for SEMA members.

Scheduled events include:

  • Legislative briefing session with SEMA staff.
  • One-on-one meetings with
  • Capitol Hill luncheon.
  • Private reception with members
    of Congress.
  • Opportunities to visit attractions
    in the nation’s capital.

To register or for more information, please contact Christian Robinson at

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