SEMA News—May 2021

Reaching Out To Lawmakers in 2021: Make Your Impact

By Chris Kersting

Chris KerstingOnce again in May, SEMA-member companies will be communicating directly with their elected representatives about the issues that concern our industry. Only it will be different this year—and, in certain ways, better.

Past Washington, D.C., SEMA Rally attendees can attest to the value of the event, when SEMA members converge on Capitol Hill for in-person meetings with their elected representatives in Congress. The Rally is an opportunity to make lawmakers aware of widespread public participation in the automotive lifestyle and the economic importance of the specialty-equipment industry. Now more than ever, lawmakers need to know that the enjoyment of motorsports and the car and truck hobbies is needlessly being eroded by overly aggressive laws and regulations.

The 2021 Washington Rally will be shifted to a virtual event via video conferencing this year. As with the live D.C. Rally, SEMA staff will match participating SEMA members with the appropriate congressional representative and supply briefing materials. Each meeting will last approximately 15 to 30 minutes and will include SEMA Government Affairs staff to facilitate discussions. We need you to join us for this year’s
virtual Rally.

For attendees and lawmakers alike, there are certain advantages to virtual meetings, including far greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling. Meetings will take place over a six-week period from May 12 to June 30 rather than in a single day.

This year’s virtual format will also allow participants to cover more ground. One example would be for registrants with multiple business addresses. Through the convenience of video conferencing, it will easily be possible to have separate meetings with each locality’s Congressional representative.

While the camaraderie associated with a face-to-face Rally may be missing this time around, the impact of the event should be as strong as ever. When constituents connect directly with their elected representatives, it’s more powerful than when a lobbyist makes a call or a new poll is released, and business on Capitol Hill has been conducted via digital meetings for at least a year now, so moving to a virtual platform to communicate is nothing new for lawmakers and their staffs.

Speaking of staffing, one of the top SEMA priorities for 2021 has been to increase the association’s capabilities in Washington, D.C., and state capitols around the country. That means additional resources for firepower in Washington, whether staffing or the ability to bring in outside help where situations warrant. Those steps will enable our legislative affairs team to advocate more broadly and continue to provide guidance on hot-button issues ranging from emissions compliance to motorsports regulations to access of vehicle-generated data and control systems.

Over the next five years, we can expect regulatory activity to increase, brought about through concerns with climate change, the introduction of new vehicle safety technologies, and efforts to phase out the internal combustion engine. We hope that you will join us to arrange a meeting with your Congressional representative by participating in our virtual Washington Rally
(visit https://pages.message.sema.org/WashingtonDC-Rally).

Even if you don’t get a chance to sign up for this year’s Washington Rally, you can help support your industry by signing up for the SEMA PAC and by defending the hobby through the SEMA Action Network (SAN). Visit the www.sema.org website to find out more. There is strength in numbers, especially when it comes to advancing our automotive freedoms.

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