LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
A Few Words With the New SEMA PAC Manager
By SEMA News Editors
The SEMAPAC Lounge at the 2021 SEMA Show.
SEMA’s Political Action Committee (PAC) plays an important role in SEMA’s overall government affairs strategy. Every dollar that goes into the PAC is strategically placed to meet one goal: increasing congressional support for the specialty aftermarket. In Washington, D.C., the size of the PAC matters, and SEMA’s new PAC Manager, Samantha Large, wants to take the SEMA PAC to the next level. Samantha’s goal is to grow SEMA PAC funds to protect the industry and ensure that your dollars are being used with your best interest in mind.
SEMA News wanted to learn more about the new SEMA PAC manager, diving into details on who she is and why members need to pay attention to the PAC.
SEMA News: Tell us about yourself.
Samantha Large: I’m originally from the Lone Star State. My family still resides Houston, Texas, where at the age of 18,
I headed to colorful Colorado to escape the heat and to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder.
After graduating from college, I lived in Denver, where I got my first real taste of politics as an intern for a political organization. About a year into my internship, I visited D.C. for a legislative conference. After my first meeting on Capitol Hill, I was hooked. Two weeks later, I was back in D.C., heading to my first Congressional hearing, and I’ve been here ever since.
I’ve worked in corporate fundraising for the National Rifle Association, served as a federal lobbyist and PAC fundraiser for the biofuels industry, and managed events for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. I live and love all things politics, and I’m excited to bring my experience and knowledge to SEMA.
SN: What made you want to join SEMA?
SL: While I’m not a gearhead, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the specialty automotive aftermarket and the excitement around all forms of motorized recreation. I know a passionate industry when I see one.
SEMA’s members love the industry, and its obvious that they are willing to put up a good fight to protect it. I’m all about advocacy, and I like to know I’m representing a group that is made of good, hardworking people who believe strongly in something. In the case of SEMA and its members—y’all love your cars! To me, it feels good to know I’m helping to protect the right to modify and personalize the style of vehicles.
SN: You have a background in political fundraising. Why should SEMA members get involved in politics?
SL: I’m a big fan of the quote, “You may not take an interest in politics, but politics will take an interest in you.” Because it’s true.
Politics can be messy, and it’s hard to have a daily interest in it unless you’re in the heart of it in D.C. It’s not in your face every day until some regulation or mandate creeps up on you, and then you’re stuck asking yourself: Why is someone telling me what I can and can’t do with my vehicle? Politics impacts you whether you like it or not. Which is why getting involved in the SEMA PAC is so important.
SN: And why is the SEMA PAC so important?
SL: You can’t always avoid having to meet certain regulations or standards, but you can help influence who is making those laws and how they are implemented. When it comes to Congressional elections, fundraising is a key factor in deciding the outcomes of races. The more money a candidate raises means their campaign has money to spend on advertising and staff to get their message out to the public.
The better campaign wins. Unfortunately, that usually means the campaign that raised the most money. Therefore, our Congressional leaders’ second-biggest job in D.C. is raising funds for their campaigns and reelections.
It’s crucial that SEMA has a well-funded PAC to support our Congressional champions in their races. We support them so they can win their reelection and stay in D.C. to continue fighting for our members on Capitol Hill. And our support for their campaigns does not go unnoticed by members of Congress. It helps us build key relationships with them that we could not have without PAC funds.
SN: How does the SEMA PAC work?
SL: One hundred percent of the donations to the SEMA PAC go to campaigns of congressional candidates who support SEMA and its members. Only members of SEMA are allowed to participate and contribute to the PAC, and they are eligible to contribute up to $5,000 per calendar year. We have SEMA PAC membership packages that offer great benefits and recognition opportunities throughout the year to our contributors.
SN: How does a SEMA member contribute to the SEMA PAC?
SL: It’s easy! All we need is your first and last name and email address to confirm that you’re a SEMA member, and then there is a short contribution form that takes seconds to fill out. All of this can be done in a matter of seconds at www.semapac.org.
SN: Is there a minimum contribution to support SEMA PAC?
SL: No. We are grateful for any and all donations. We have some people who commit to monthly or quarterly contributions. For example, some donors have committed to doing $25 to $100 a month to the PAC, which allows these members to make a huge difference without the stress of donating a large sum all at once. We can work with each member to get creative on how donating to the PAC will work for best for them.
SN: How do SEMA members learn more?
SL: I’m all about open communication. I want everyone to feel that they can call me and ask any questions about the PAC. Feel free to contact me at 202-796-2252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
››› SEMA Political Action Committee (PAC) Manager Samantha Large.