Georgia Congressman Takes the Wheel

SEMA News—September 2017

FROM THE HILL

Georgia Congressman Takes the Wheel

U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop Named Co-Chair of Motorsports Caucus

By Christian Robinson

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U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) was recently named co-chair of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus.
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U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), chairman emeritus of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus, addressed the SEMA Washington Rally.

Like many congressmen, U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop (D-GA) has been bestowed with many honors and titles during his lifetime. Among them are husband, father, grandfather, Eagle Scout, soldier, Mason, Shriner, cancer survivor and black belt, just to name a few. Recently, Congressman Bishop added another title to his collection: co-chair of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus.

Formed in 1996 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American automobile, the bipartisan Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus pays tribute to America’s ever-growing love affair with the car and motorsports. After serving for more than 20 years as a founding co-chair of the caucus, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) decided it was time to hand over the keys to a new leader, and Rep. Bishop was anxious to take the wheel. He will join U.S. Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Jon Tester (D-MT) as caucus co-chairs. Rep. Levin will remain as chairman emeritus.

“In Georgia, we take pride in our do-it-yourself attitude, and tuning up cars is no different,” Rep. Bishop said. “We should be encouraging tinkerers at heart to challenge themselves, and it can start in the garage, the same way as with many great innovators of our time. Like many, I enjoy driving on the open roads in middle and southwest Georgia and am proud to represent our interests in the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus.”

Rep. Bishop is no stranger to the automotive specialty-equipment industry. In 2015, he threw his support behind the Low-Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, which Congress passed and signed into law as part of a larger transportation bill. Under the law, small-volume automakers are allowed to make up to 325 turnkey vehicles per year that resemble classic cars originally produced at least 25 years ago.

Rep. Bishop was also quick to act when the future of motorsports was put in jeopardy due to a new interpretation of the Clean Air Act by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. With five racetracks in his district, Rep. Bishop wasted no time signing on as a co-sponsor of the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act in both 2016 and 2017. The legislation confirms that it’s always been legal to convert a street car into a race car for use solely at the track.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, to an educator and a librarian, Rep. Bishop graduated from Morehouse College in 1968 before earning his law degree from Emory University in 1971. In between, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and then enrolled in the Advanced Reserve Officer Training Corps. In 1977, he heard the call of public service, winning election to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served until his election to the Georgia Senate in 1990. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, where he continues to serve residents of southwestern Georgia to this day.

In Congress, Rep. Bishop prides himself on being a fiscal conservative. He is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition—a group of moderate Democrat lawmakers who work to find compromise between their more partisan colleagues. As a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, he has been a champion of tax relief for all Americans. In addition to supporting a balanced-budget amendment and repeal of the estate tax, he also supported the effort to extend tax relief in 2001 and 2003.

To learn more about the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motor-sports Caucus or how to recruit your elected representatives, contact SEMA PAC and Congressional Relations Director Christian Robinson at christianr@sema.org.

SEMA PAC President’s Club Spotlight: Tony Napoli

napoliTony Napoli is the owner of American Speed Center, which is based in York, Pennsylvania. Napoli joined the SEMA PAC President’s Club in 2010 and previously served on SEMA’s Board of Directors.

“Being a part of this industry for 44 years and a member of SEMA for nearly as long, I have seen countless attempts to regulate our industry unfairly,” Napoli said. “My involvement with SEMA—especially my time serving on the Board of Directors—made me aware of all of the ways that SEMA is involved in protecting our industry in federal and state legislatures. Joining the President’s Club was the least I could do to help support an industry that has been so good to me and my family over the years. I want to see this industry thrive so it can continue to benefit enthusiasts and business owners in the future. As such, I encourage all business owners to join the President’s Club and give back to the industry that has given us all so much.”

For more information on SEMA PAC, please contact SEMA PAC and Congressional Relations Director Christian Robinson at 202-794-8279 or at christianr@sema.org.

SEMA’s Car Guys in Congress

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr

BurrSen. Richard Burr (R-NC) holds the distinction of driving the most recognizable collector car on Capitol Hill. If you’re thinking along the lines of a ’30s Ford roadster, think again. When Sen. Burr is in Washington, his daily driver is a ’74 Volkswagen Thing. It’s adorned in his colleagues’ campaign bumper stickers, and Burr claims that the car has to be refueled only three times per year. If you want to sneak a peek at Burr’s VW, you won’t have to do much searching. It can often be found parked on the street just outside his Senate office.

Believe it, or not, many of the lawmakers in the nation’s capital are car guys, just like you. SEMA News caught up with the chairs of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus to find out what’s in their garages

U.S. Rep. Bill Posey

PoseyGrowing up near Los Angeles, Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) spent his early days attending races with his father. It was not long until he found himself behind the wheel, racing midget race cars at age five. Over the years, he’s counted between 20–30 race cars among his collection; however, he recently focused his attention on collector cars. In 2011, he participated in the first leg of the Hot Rod Power Tour behind the wheel of his ’66 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester

testerFor Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), turning wrenches is all about one thing: family. When he’s not in Washington, Sen. Tester and his son Shon can be found on their family’s Montana farm, working on one of their many collector cars. Included in their collection is a Ford Model T, Ford Model A, ’38 Chevy, ’48–’53 Willys Jeep, ’56 Buick Century, ’55 Chevy stepside pickup and ’70 Buick Electra.

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