SEMA News - August 2010
By Dan Sadowski
Representative Bill Posey (R-FL) with SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting and SEMA Board of Directors Chairman Rick Rollins.
SEMA PAC Chairman Doug Evans presents a hot-rod book to Representative Posey.
Bringing Industry Concerns to Capitol Hill
As the political climate continues to evolve in advance of the 2010 elections, SEMA members arrived in Washington, D.C., for the biennual SEMA Washington Rally. On May 12, Rally participants met with their senators and representatives to discuss critical issues facing their businesses and the industry. SEMA staff provided member-company executives with an overview of the current contentious political environment in Washington and a briefing on specific issues of concern.
The SEMA members and staff then visited 60 House and Senate offices to discuss a wide range of topics, including skyrocketing health care premiums, expiring tax credits and land-use policies.
“Our presence on Capitol Hill provides members of Congress with a better understanding of the automotive specialty-equipment industry,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting.
Senator Jon Tester presents the Collector Car Appreciation Day Resolution to SEMA Board of Directors Chair-Elect Scooter Brothers. Passed by the U.S. Senate, the resolution declares July 9, 2010, as a day to celebrate the nation’s automotive legacy and the industry it supports.
“We are then able to convey our thoughts and industry-specific recommendations on how to tackle the tough issues facing the nation, our companies and our employees.”
The Rally included a special luncheon on Capitol Hill during which Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus members addressed the group. Of note, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) presented a special copy of Senate Resolution 513, designating July 9 as Collector Car Appreciation Day, to SEMA Board of Directors Chair-Elect Scooter Brothers. At the encouragement of SEMA and the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO), Senator Tester sponsored this important resolution along with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to celebrate America’s rich automotive technological achievements and cultural heritage. It also honors the enormous economic contributions generated through the business of car collection and restoration. Other caucus members who spoke at the luncheon included Representative Don Manzullo (R-IL) and Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA), who reaffirmed their support of pro-small-business issues and their understanding of SEMA-member companies’ role in the economy.
Later in the day, SEMA hosted a dinner that included keynote remarks from Representative Bill Posey (R-FL), an accomplished stock car racer and lawmaker. Representative Posey and his wife Katie arrived in a yellow ’30 Ford Coupe and a black ’55 Chevy courtesy of Tracy and Daryl Williams of the Bull Run Street Rods Club of northern Virginia. Before being elected to Congress in 2008, Representative Posey served 16 years in the Florida House and Senate. During that time, he was a charter member of SEMA’s State Automotive Enthusiasts Leadership Caucus and sponsored a SEMA-model bill to amend the vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles. He also introduced legislation to provide an exemption from the commercial motor carrier regulations for vehicles that occasionally transport personal property to a motorsports facility. Both bills were enacted into law.
|Representative Don Manzullo (R-IL) speaks to SEMA executives at a Rally luncheon.||Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA) engages the audience on the importance of political involvement|
“While the Rally was only a one-day event, it is a keystone for maintaining ongoing relationships with our elected representatives and laying the foundation for new connections,” said SEMA Chairman of the Board Rick Rollins. “It also supports our congressional visits program, since several attendees are now working with our Washington staff to invite lawmakers to visit facilities in their home district.”
The Rally also provides a prime venue to expand the motorsports caucus. Five lawmakers joined the caucus during the Rally, so it now includes 95 members who are car or motorcycle enthusiasts or have racing and performance manufacturers in their district.
The new members are:
- Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA),
- Representative Rodney Alexander (R-LA)
- Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
- Representative Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
- Representative Todd Platts (R-PA).