From The Hill

Racing, Performance and Prairie State Politics

With a backdrop of state-of-the-art auto equipment, the 5th Annual Racing and Performance Expo in St. Charles, Illinois, was the perfect venue for a SEMA Town Hall meeting and the 130 SEMA members who attended. The evening’s special guest, Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL), provided insight on the current political and legislative landscape in Washington and heard from SEMA members about issues affecting business owners.

Congressional District Site Visit Program Cruises Into Northern Michigan

The 2010 Congressional elections provided a sweeping change throughout the country. More than 70 new members of Congress were elected, and control of the House of Representatives switched parties. SEMA members in northern Michigan recently had the opportunity to meet their new representative, Congressman Dan Benishek, during a SEMA-sponsored Congressional District Site Visit at Classic Instruments.

Made in Detroit

Once a year, automotive performance and restoration enthusiasts descend on the Detroit, Michigan, area to celebrate the Woodward Dream Cruise, the largest one-day collector-car event in the world. Many vehicles at the Dream Cruise are equipped with specialty equipment manufactured in the greater Detroit area. To recognize the importance of these manufacturers and SEMA members to the American economy, Congressman Gary Peters toured Dart Machinery in Troy, Michigan, only a few miles from Woodward Avenue.

Bipartisan Legislation Enabling Low-Volume Production of Specialty Vehicles Introduced in U.S. Congress

Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) has introduced a bipartisan bill, supported by SEMA, to enable low-volume car manufacturers to provide a range of specialty vehicles for customers nationwide. The legislation directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a regulatory structure to facilitate the production of these cars. Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) have joined as original co-sponsors of The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act (H.R. 3274) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Representative Don Manzullo Cruises Into Hopperstad Customs

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Each August, members of Congress spend the month in their districts meeting select businesses and organizations to learn more about how policies crafted in Washington directly affect homegrown industries. These events can help provide solutions to issues specific to local congressional districts and businesses while helping to establish long-term working relationships between SEMA members and their elected officials.

At one such event, SEMA members and enthusiasts gathered at Hopperstad Customs in Belvidere, Illinois, to tour the facility and talk about cars and the economy with their federal representative. Their special guest, Representative Don Manzullo, is a lifelong car enthusiast from Rockford in northern Illinois and now represents these local communities in the U.S. Congress.

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Industry and Enthusiasts Celebrate Second Annual Collector Car Appreciation Day

On July 8, 2011, SEMA members joined with SEMA staff and thousands of enthusiasts across the country to celebrate the second annual Collector Car Appreciation Day. More than 200 events—double last year’s total—were held in the United States and Canada to commemorate the day, which had been designated as the result of a SEMA-requested U.S. Senate Resolution (S. Res. 154) sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). The resolution recognizes “that the collection and restoration of historic and classic cars is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States.”

Our Car Guy in Congress

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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.

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U.S. Congressman Randy Hultgren Visits Auto Meter Headquarters

Auto Meter Products recently welcomed U.S. Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL) for a tour of its headquarters in Sycamore, Illinois. Auto Meter officials had already developed a working relationship with Rep. Hultgren, having hosted a previous visit and attending several other functions before last year’s election. This tour was part of SEMA’s District Site Visits Program, which connects lawmakers with SEMA members.

Major New Initiative for Small Business Owners

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One of the fundamental components of last year’s health care law is the creation of health care “exchanges.”

While the law itself remains mired in controversy and threats of repeal, the state-based programs, if and when fully implemented, should make it easier for small-business owners and individuals to compare and select health care coverage. Exchanges are intended to create a competitive marketplace and increase access to affordable health care insurance.

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