SEMA News—September 2011
Our Car Guy in Congress
Rep. Bill Posey Named Co-Chair of Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus
By Dan Sadowski
Rep. Posey has always been a strong advocate on behalf of the automotive specialty-equipment industry.
They arrived at the Cocoa Beach Cruise Night in their gleaming ’66 Chevelle Malibu. Bill and Katie Posey were excited to help kick-off the first leg of the Hot Rod Power Tour with a barbecue before the next day’s drive to Valdosta, Georgia. They were with friends and fellow enthusiasts, and it was the perfect occasion to announce Posey’s new leadership position in Washington.
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) has always been a strong advocate on behalf of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. In his free time outside of Washington, Rep. Posey can be found turning the wrenches on his cars in his Florida home district. When in Washington, Posey affirms his love for motorsports with photos of his cars and his racing days in his office on Capitol Hill. Being named co-chair of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus is a natural fit for him.
Growing up near Los Angeles, Posey spent time attending races with his father in Encino and Culver City. He became involved in midget racing at the age of five and began racing motorcycles at around 13 years old. Although he had to wait until he was 16 to race his first car, a ’51 Ford Flathead, he had already snuck in a few laps at the track. Over the years, Posey has owned 20–30 race cars, fixing them up and competing in them. Although he sold his race cars and moved to a classic-car collection, Posey’s racing experience likely exceeds that of any other member of Congress.
“I am pleased to serve as co-chairman of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus,” Posey said. “As a lifelong car guy and racer, I welcome the opportunity to partner with SEMA to raise the profile of the automotive performance industry in Washington. There’s not a Congressional district in the nation that’s not impacted by SEMA and its member companies. Together, we will strengthen the caucus and continue to promote the important role that SEMA-member companies play in the American economy.”
“Rep. Posey is equally comfortable at the race track and in the halls of Congress,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris
Kersting. “The competitive spirit is in his blood, whether he is behind the wheel or advocating for small businesses on Capitol Hill. SEMA is proud to welcome a true car guy as the caucus co-chair. It is reassuring to know that we have a fellow enthusiast protecting our industry and educating other members of Congress about the role of SEMA as the industry’s premier association.”
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL, center), on stage at the Hot Rod Power Tour kick-off event, reaffirmed his support for the automotive industry and spoke about changes in his home district involving the space program.
Given Rep. Posey’s unique understanding of the industry, he is a natural choice to serve as co-chair of the caucus. He is teaming-up with industry standard bearer Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), who helped launch the caucus in 1996. Whether removing trade barriers to exported auto parts or securing access to business loans and preserving R&D tax credits, the industry has benefitted from Rep. Levin’s political clout. Together, co-chairs Posey and Levin will recruit new caucus members, seek to support SEMA’s legislative initiatives and raise awareness of the positive economic impact SEMA-member businesses have on the American economy.
As noted previously, Rep. Posey and his wife Katie participated in the 2011 Hot Rod Power Tour in early June. The Power Tour began in 1995 when several Hot
Rod magazine staff members drove their project cars from Los Angeles to Norwalk, Ohio. It quickly gained in popularity, with thousands of people descending on each stop of the trip to admire the cars and enjoy the company of other enthusiasts. This year’s Hot Rod tour started in Rep. Posey’s home district, Port Canaveral, Florida, and ended seven days later in Detroit. In between, the tour stopped in Valdosta, Georgia; Montgomery, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Muskegon, Michigan.
During the kick-off event, Posey had the opportunity to chat with fellow enthusiasts about his twin passions—cars and politics. On stage at the kick-off event, Posey reaffirmed his support for the automotive industry and spoke about changes in his home district involving the space program. To show his commitment to fellow enthusiasts, he secured an “inside the fence” driving experience around Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center for Power Tour participants.
When in Washington, Posey affirms his love for motorsports with photos of his cars and his racing days in his office on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Posey’s motorsports background provides a strong understanding of the issues facing our industry in Washington, D.C.
“As a SEMA member, I could think of no one better to carry our message in Washington than Rep. Bill Posey,” said SEMA Political Action Committee Chairman and Source Interlink Media Vice President and Group Publisher Doug Evans. “Rep. Posey fit right in on the Power Tour and earned his stripes with his fellow enthusiasts. Having someone who understands the car-guy mentality in the caucus leadership is a great benefit to the hobbyist community.”
Rep. Posey has been well acquainted with SEMA from the time he served in the Florida state House and Senate. Posey was a charter member of SEMA’s State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus and sponsored SEMA-model legislation in 2007 to amend the vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and create a new classification for custom vehicles. In 2008, he introduced legislation to provide an exemption from commercial motor carrier regulations for vehicles that occasionally transport personal property to a motorsports facility. Both bills were enacted into law.
For the past 15 years, the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus has been a coalition of lawmakers who support the specialty-equipment aftermarket and recognize the industry’s positive economic impact. This informal, bipartisan member organization of nearly 100 legislators continues to recognize and pay tribute to America’s ever-growing love affair with the car and motorsports.
The caucus also helps SEMA develop lasting working relationships with U.S. representatives and senators who share a love for the automobile and are working to promote the growth and advancement of the auto hobby. SEMA works in partnership with caucus members to amplify the message among national policymakers that the automotive performance industry is a vital engine in today’s economy, employing more than a million Americans and generating $28 billion in sales annually.
To find a complete listing of all Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus members, log on to
www.semasan.com. If your representative or senator is listed, please take a moment to thank them for their participation in the caucus. If you do not see your representatives on the list, consider contacting their offices to encourage them to join. Visit www.sema.org or e-mail SEMA Congressional Affairs Manager Dan Sadowski at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to contact your elected officials.