FROM THE HILL
Members of Congress Visit the SEMA Show
Owner of Factor Five Racing Dave Smith (left) and U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) discussed the importance of implementing a 2015 law to allow replica vehicle production at the 2019 SEMA Show.
The SEMA Show is four action-packed days of conducting business, making connections and seeing the industry’s newest products. It is also a great opportunity for SEMA to provide elected officials with a firsthand look at the automotive specialty aftermarket and the role the industry plays in the communities they represent. Each year, SEMA hosts members of Congress and state lawmakers, providing Show tours that feature visits to home-state exhibitors. The 2019 SEMA Show hosted U.S. Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Dina Titus (D-NV), along with 18 state lawmakers.
The 2019 SEMA Show was the second time that Reps. LaMalfa and Titus attended in the past few years. Rep. Kelly—a car dealer by trade—was excited to make his first pilgrimage to the Show, which was a long-time bucket list item. Below are profiles of the distinguished SEMA Show Congressional attendees.
Rep. Mike Kelly
After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, which he attended on an academic and football scholarship, Rep. Kelly moved back to Butler, Pennsylvania (30 mi. north of Pittsburgh), and took a job at his father’s Chevrolet-Cadillac dealership. After working in the business for more than 20 years, he bought the dealership in the mid-’90s and expanded its operations to include Hyundai and Kia franchises. Rep. Kelly went on to serve as chairman of the Hyundai Eastern Region Dealer Council and vice chairman of the Hyundai National Dealer Council. He also sat on the boards of the Chevrolet Dealers Advertising Association of Pittsburgh and the Cadillac Consultants of Western Pennsylvania.
After years of charitable work with the Butler County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities, the Boy Scouts of America and public service on the Butler City Council, Rep. Kelly was elected to Congress in 2010. During his five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Kelly has distinguished himself as a leader on the Ways and Means Committee, which maintains jurisdiction over tax policy and entitlement-program spending. Rep. Kelly also serves as co-chair of the House Automotive Caucus and has been a strong SEMA ally, serving as an early supporter of the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 and the RPM Act.
“It was a pleasure to join several western Pennsylvania constituents at the 2019 SEMA Show, which showcases small businesses on the automotive frontier,” Rep. Kelly said. “The auto industry is vital to the economy, and I thank SEMA for highlighting the value these men and women bring to communities throughout America by creating jobs and taking auto technology to the next level.”
U.S. Representative Dina Titus (center, D-NV) poses with Gloss-It LLC CEO Rich Light (right) and Dianna Light.
Rep. Dina Titus
Rep. Titus spent her formative years in Tifton, Georgia (a small town in the south central part of the state), before attending the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Titus went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Georgia and a doctorate at Florida State University before pursuing a career in academia and public service. Rep. Titus was a professor of American and Nevada government at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, from 1979–2011 and was elected to the Nevada State Senate in 1988. Titus distinguished herself in Carson City, Nevada, serving as the democratic minority leader from 1993–2008. During that time, she championed education and renewable energy development, and she was a strong advocate on behalf of Nevada’s children, seniors and persons with disabilities.
In 2008, Titus was elected to represent the First Congressional District of Nevada, which spans from McCarran International Airport to downtown Las Vegas. Rep. Titus is the most senior member of the Nevada House delegation and serves on the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security.
“The 2019 SEMA Show provided a firsthand glimpse at the exciting future of the automobile industry and its impact on small businesses across the country,” Rep. Titus said. “I look forward to welcoming SEMA back to Las Vegas next year. It’s hard to even imagine the cutting-edge technology that will be on display.”
U.S. Representative Doug LaMalfa (left, R-CA) and his son Kyle LaMalfa stopped for a picture after a full day at the SEMA Show.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa
Congressman Doug LaMalfa grew up working on his family’s rice farm, which is located outside Sacramento, California. When he wasn’t working or studying, LaMalfa could be found tinkering with vehicles. Rep. LaMalfa went on to study agriculture and business at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, graduating with a bachelor’s degree. He put his education to work, managing the family farm, which he and his family still call home.
Rep. LaMalfa ran for public office for the first time in 2002, winning a seat in the California State Assembly. He served in the Assembly until 2008 and was elected to the California State Senate in 2010. During his time in Sacramento, LaMalfa was a frequent collaborator with SEMA on issues of importance to automotive enthusiasts, as he is passionate about restoring and personalizing vehicles. His fleet includes Ford trucks from ’34 and ’51; Mustangs from model-years ’65, ’68, ’03 and ’13; a ’69 Torino Talladega; a ’72 Pantera; and ’55 and ’56 Thunderbirds that he maintains for his parents.
LaMalfa was elected to the U.S. House in 2012, where he is a member of the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure as well as Agriculture. Rep. LaMalfa is a leading voice on Capitol Hill for the automotive aftermarket and has been a staunch supporter of the RPM Act.
From left: Maureen Braun, U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting at the PRI Trade Show.
U.S. Senator Mike Braun Visits the PRI Trade Show
The Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show was a homecoming for U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), who served as Meyer Distributing president and CEO prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018. Braun started working for Meyer Body Co. in 1981 and transitioned its business from manufacturing to distribution, forming Meyer Distributing. Over the following decades, Braun grew the business into a national distribution and logistics company with 65 locations in 38 states. During his first year in the U.S. Senate, Braun championed issues of importance to the automotive specialty aftermarket, serving as an original sponsor of the RPM Act. Sen. Braun had a chance to meet with more than half a dozen Indiana-based exhibitors at the PRI Trade Show.