From The Hill

Congressman Cools Off in the River City

Vintage Air Hosts U.S. Representative Lamar Smith

It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. If you’ve ever been to San Antonio, Texas, in the summer, you know it’s not uncommon for the mercury to push triple digits. When it’s that hot, having a running air-conditioning system in your car is a must. Enter Jack Chisenhall. When he founded Vintage Air in 1976, no one else was producing air-conditioning systems and components for classic cars and trucks.

Sun City Shines Bright

Russell Stephens (left), president of MSD Performance, demonstrated one of his company’s products to Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) during the congressman’s visit to the company in El Paso, Texas.MSD Performance Hosts U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke

For more than four decades, the MSD Performance brand has been synonymous with high-performance ignition parts. The company designs, develops, tests and manufactures its entire line of ignition boxes, distributors, EFI systems, coils, sparkplug wires, crank triggers and other performance parts. While known for producing engine timing accessories for auto enthusiasts and the racing circuit, MSD also has a strong commitment to its hometown of El Paso, Texas. Since 1970, MSD’s presence in the community has grown to five buildings covering 150,000 sq. ft. and more than 500 employees.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk

Steve Matusek (left) welcomed Rep. Yoder to Aeromotive’s headquarters. Aeromotive Hosts Kansas Representative Kevin Yoder

Like many other leaders in the automotive specialty-equipment industry, Steve Matusek started small. He formed Aeromotive Inc. in 1994 in Lenexa, Kansas, with dreams of applying aerospace techniques and processes to high-performance automotive fuel systems. The company blossomed by relying on three generations of engineering and racing experience. It is now a leading designer and manufacturer of fuel-delivery systems for racing, street and marine applications.

SEMA PAC Firing on all Cylinders in Election year

Become an Industry Champion by Joining the “Winner’s Circle”

For many, “politics” is a four-letter word. People are fed up with Washington’s antics. Truth is, whether it’s banning the sale of E-15 gasoline, reforming the tax code, spurring job creation or addressing many other critical issues, there’s a lot that’s not happening in Washington, D.C., which affects your bottom line. So we simply can’t afford to sit in neutral while others determine the future of the industry.

Carolina Homecoming

Congressional District Site Visit Program Reconnects Rep. Patrick McHenry With Old Friends at Steele Rubber Products

Hosting elected officials at your business is an opportunity to establish long-term working relationships. In 2005, U.S. Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) visited Steele Rubber Products in Denver, North Carolina. Since that time, company officials have met with him on various occasions in his home district and Washington office during the SEMA Washington Rally. Recently, Rep. McHenry made a return visit to the manufacturing facility to catch up with some old friends.

Founded in 1958, Steele Rubber Products manufactures weatherstripping for windshields, doors, windows, hoods and trunks. The company also makes rubber parts that are hard to find, including...

West Coast Visits Produce Two New Motorsports Caucus Members

California Connections

Following the 2012 elections, SEMA identified several newly elected lawmakers who had an interest in the automotive specialty-equipment industry or a strong member presence in their districts. Among this group were California Congressmen David Valadao (R-CA) and Mark Takano (D-CA). Two SEMA-member companies were eager to host their new congressmen—Valadao at KW Automotive North America in Sanger and Takano at K&N Engineering in Riverside. As a result of the visits, both Valadao and Takano joined the SEMA-supported Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Washington that recognizes the significant impact of the automotive industry on the American economy.

Hoosier State Happenings

Rep. Jackie Walorski inspected a new Truck Accessories Group product during her tour of the company’s fabrication facility in Elkhart, Indiana.  More than 90 newly elected officials came to Washington last year to serve in the United States Congress. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) arrived with a keen understanding of how important the automotive specialty-equipment industry is to her home state of Indiana. Before her election, SEMA met several times with Walorski to reinforce the connection between Indiana’s racing heritage and SEMA’s legislative priorities. Having represented a region known for its automotive and recreational vehicle manufacturing in the Indiana state legislature for five years, she was already a strong advocate for SEMA-member companies and knowledgeable about the issues facing the specialty aftermarket industry.

A New York State of Mind

SEMA Member JR Products Hosts Empire State Congressman

Members of Congress stand for re-election every two years, which often leads to quick turnover among the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In upstate New York near Buffalo, voters recently elected a new legislator with a career in small-business growth and development. Given this background, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) was thrilled to visit JR Products and showed interest in learning how SEMA-member companies contribute to the local economy.

Rep. Collins was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012 to represent New York’s 27th Congressional District. From 2008–2012, Rep. Collins served as Erie County Executive, having spent the previous 34 years as a business owner and entrepreneur. A mechanical engineer by training, Collins began his professional career with Westinghouse Electric. He was subsequently the president and CEO of Nuttall Gear Corp. in Niagara Falls, New York, a company that specializes in power transmissions for heavy-duty machinery.

We’ve Come a Long Way Together

SEMA Government Affairs Successes Are Driven by Member Participation

We have expressed disappointment through this column over the years with the continued political gridlock in Washington. Partisan stalemate has created an adversarial climate on Capitol Hill for nearly every major legislative issue, from health care to entitlement reforms and everything in between. Both parties share the blame for a situation that renders it difficult for politicians to collaborate.

However, there have been a few recent signs of bipartisan cooperation in Congress. The House Ways and Means Committee, responsible for all tax legislation in Congress, has convened bipartisan working groups to begin reviewing the tax code. The groups have gathered input from lawmakers, companies, trade associations and other stakeholders to offer recommendations...

SEMA PAC Launches 10th-Anniversary Celebration

Year-Long Celebration to Focus on Increased Member Involvement

This year marks the 10th anniversary of SEMA’s Political Action Committee (SEMA PAC). To commemorate 10 years of protecting the industry in Washington, D.C., SEMA PAC will be unveiling exciting new initiatives. To take full advantage of what SEMA PAC has planned, you must first become “SEMA PAC Approved.” To get started, simply complete the form on the next page. It takes less than a minute to fill out and allows the PAC to share information on how SEMA is working for you in the nation’s capital. You can easily become “PAC Approved” online. Remember, completing the form does not obligate you to contribute to SEMA PAC.

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