2012 Washington Rally Brings Industry Concerns to Capitol Hill

SEMA News—August 2012

LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS

2012 Washington Rally Brings Industry Concerns to Capitol Hill

 

Representative John Campbell (center) arrived at the Rally dinner in his classic Ford Thunderbird and was greeted by SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (left) and SEMA Board Chairman Scooter Brothers (right).
Representative John Campbell (center) arrived at the Rally dinner in his classic Ford Thunderbird and was greeted by SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (left) and SEMA Board Chairman Scooter Brothers (right).

   
 

Representative John Campbell (center) arrived at the Rally dinner in his classic Ford Thunderbird and was greeted by SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (left) and SEMA Board Chairman Scooter Brothers (right).
Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) delivered a rousing keynote address at the Washington Rally dinner.

   

More than 70 SEMA members met with their U.S. representatives and senators as part of the 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 for the off-road community.

A product expo held in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building was a new addition this year. A diverse group of SEMA-member companies displayed a variety of niche-specific products throughout the day. The expo featured Courtney Hansen, host of Spike TV’s “Powerblock” and Velocity Television Network’s “Vinsetta Garage.” Members of Congress and their staffs saw firsthand the impact of the automotive specialty-equipment industry on the American economy.

Five members of Congress spoke at a SEMA-sponsored luncheon held in the Capitol Visitor’s Center. Representative Sam Graves (R-MO), Representative Bill Posey (R-FL), Representative Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) discussed the upcoming elections and the need to address pressing issues impacting the economy.

All of the lawmakers were members of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus, an informal, nonpartisan group that pays tribute to America’s ever-growing love affair with cars 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 communities 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, 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, Representative John Campbell (R-CA), arrived in his powder-blue ’57 Ford Thunderbird and was greeted by SEMA President Chris Kersting and SEMA Board of Directors Chairman Scooter Brothers. Campbell met with Rally attendees and later delivered keynote remarks. As the original sponsor of H.R. 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 dans@SEMA.org.

 

 

Courtney Hansen
Automotive media personality Courtney Hansen greeted lawmakers and guests at the SEMA member company product exposition.

 

Richard Burr
North Carolina residents Matt Agosta of Steele Rubber (left), John Iannotte of NA Williams Co. (second from right) and Debbie Lail of Steele Rubber (right) with U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) during the Rally luncheon.

 

Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL)
SEMA PAC Chairman Doug Evans of Source Interlink Media (right) presented Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) with a token of appreciation for his remarks during the Washington Rally luncheon in the U.S. Capitol Visitors’ Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nate Shelton (right) with Representative Mary Bono Mack (R-CA).
SEMA Board of Directors Chairman-Elect Nate Shelton (right) with Representative Mary Bono Mack (R-CA). The Congresswoman is chair of the House Energy & Commerce’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

 

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)
Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) presented a copy of the Senate resolution designating July 13, 2012 as Collector Car Appreciation Day to SEMA Board of Directors Secretary/Treasurer Dan Gresham (left).

 

Missourian U.S. House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO)
SEMA Board of Directors member Bob Moore (right) of J&B Service thanked fellow Missourian U.S. House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) for his remarks at the Rally luncheon.

 

Inside the Washington Rally

Brian Reese-Comp Performance GroupFor most Americans, visiting our nation’s capitol is limited to a single occurrence, most commonly an optional school class trip experienced during one’s youth. Class trips are age-appropriately organized as sightseeing adventures with limited actual interaction with elected officials. The opportunity to meet and personally engage our congressional lawmakers, while a privileged experience, is available to every American citizen. The SEMA Washington Rally provides a conveniently structured opportunity to give member-company representatives a biannual opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., and meet with our representatives.

In May, I attended the Rally for the second time. The experience again was richly enjoyable, especially the interactions with legislators and staff and the accompanying Rally activities, including the PAC President’s Club networking reception and luncheon. Besides the more obvious reasons for attending, I had one more motive. The best time to make friends is before you need them. I am making friends in Washington now, before I need them.

My scheduled meetings included visits with Congressman Steve Cohen’s aides, Senator Bob Corker’s aides and Senator Lamar Alexander personally with his aides. The meetings had a singular theme: jobs and more jobs. We found there was an unquestioned agreement among congressmen and senators of both parties that the full recovery of our economy will rely on job creation, job retention and total number of jobs.

SEMA estimates the industry’s revenue at $30 billion. To industry outsiders, $30 billion could be interpreted as representing as few as 450 or as many as 300,000-plus jobs. The metric of “jobs per revenue” is commonly reported, though not yet standardized. Research indicates that some companies post very high revenue per employee (60-plus million per employee). In our industry, revenue is most likely in the 100,000–500,000 range per employee. Accordingly, we are an industry representing several hundred thousand jobs.

This industry measure is extremely strong and meaningful. When it comes time to consider legislation that affects our industry, Washington will listen to our voice because we matter, and it is crucial that we continue to represent the best interests of our industry.

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