SEMA President Chris Kersting (left) and SEMA Board Chairman Scooter Brothers (right)
More than 70 SEMA members met with their U.S. Representatives and Senators as part of the May 9 Washington Rally, providing a valuable opportunity to urge members of Congress to pursue a pro-growth manufacturing and job creation agenda. Specific topics included support for the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act,” which would create a separate system for regulating companies that produce limited quantities of specialty cars, and the ongoing need to address spiraling health care costs. Other issues of concern included support for comprehensive tax reform, ensuring small business access to capital, preventing the sale of “E15” ethanol and protecting reasonable access to federal lands by the off-road community.
A new addition this year was a product expo held in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building. A diverse group of SEMA-member companies displayed a variety of niche-specific products throughout the day. The expo featured Courtney Hansen, host of “Overhaulin’,” Spike TV’s “Powerblock” and Velocity Television Network’s “Vinsetta Garage.” Members of Congress and staff saw firsthand the impact of the industry on the American economy.
Five members of Congress spoke at a SEMA-sponsored luncheon held in the Capitol Visitor’s Center. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) discussed the upcoming elections and the need to address pressing issues impacting the economy. All of the lawmakers are members of the “Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus,” an informal, non-partisan group that pays tribute to America’s ever-growing love affair with the car and motorsports. The lawmakers also encouraged SEMA members to get involved in this important election year by hosting members of Congress at their businesses through the Congressional District Site Visit Program. These visits allow elected officials to connect in their local community with job creators and business owners while learning more about the industry.
Senators Tester and Burr announced passage earlier that day of Senate Resolution 452 (S. Res 452), designating July 13, 2012, as “Collector Car Appreciation Day.” The date marks the third commemoration in what has become an annual event to celebrate and raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society. It is also the third time that Senators Tester and Burr have joined forces with SEMA to sponsor the Senate Resolution.
The day ended with an evening reception and dinner. The special guest for the evening, Rep. John Campbell (R-CA), arrived in his powder blue ’57 Ford Thunderbird and was greeted by SEMA President Chris Kersting and SEMA Board Chairman Scooter Brothers. Campbell met with Rally attendees and later delivered keynote remarks. As the original sponsor of HR 3274, the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act,” Campbell spoke candidly about being a “car guy” in Washington and the need for this important legislation to level the playing field for small businesses.
For more information about the Rally, the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus or the SEMA Congressional District Site Visit program, please contact Dan Sadowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.