While there are more than a few automotive enthusiasts in Congress, the zeal of U.S. Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) for the hobby and collection of classic vehicles puts him in a class by himself. LaMalfa started wrenching on cars during his formative years, and his passion for buying and personalizing vehicles continued to grow during the following decades.
From The Hill
At the 2018 SEMA Show, West Virginia State Senator Mark Maynard was introduced as the first-ever winner of the Stephen B. McDonald Legislator of the Year award. Representing the Sixth District, Senator Maynard was recognized for his efforts in the West Virginia Senate to promote policies and legislation that support the automotive hobby.
A major milestone was achieved when the state of Utah appropriated $5 million in its fiscal year 2019–2020 budget to help save the Bonneville Salt Flats. SEMA applauds the Utah state government for allocating funding to create a 10-year “Restore Bonneville” program that will dramatically increase the amount of salt being pumped onto the flats in an effort to restore the historic racing venue.
California has long been a sought-after place to live, drawing people from all corners of the globe. Southern California is the unofficial birthplace of the automotive aftermarket and is home to more SEMA members than any other area in the country. Nils Forssman, who spent his formative years in Johannesburg, South Africa, aspired to expand his family’s business operations internationally and fell in love with San Diego. His company, Truck Covers USA, recently hosted U.S. Representative Scott Peters (D-CA) for a tour of its San Diego headquarters.
Many politicians grow up dreaming of the day they will run for office. Their young adult lives are a series of tactical steps designed to build a narrative they can use as a springboard to get elected. U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) took a different path, growing a family business while competing in action-packed pursuits ranging from rock crawling to mixed martial arts. It’s no coincidence that he’s one of the most genuine and effective members of Congress, using his platform to make government a bit friendlier to small businesses and automotive enthusiasts.
Every business depends on predictable supply costs. When it comes to that basic entrepreneurial principle, 2018 was not a good year. The Trump administration imposed a series of tariffs with little warning. Those measures were intended to address unfair trade practices and encourage foreign nations to renegotiate trade pacts to remove or equalize duty rates. Unfortunately, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. Make no mistake, SEMA supports equitable trade but questions the methods being employed to bring other countries to the bargaining table. The results to date have been modest when compared to the upheaval being caused in the marketplace.
With November’s midterm election now behind us, the American people have once again shifted the balance of power in a different direction. Although 2016 proved to be one of the most contentious U.S. elections in recent memory, the resulting legislative landscape over the past two years has generally been helpful to the automotive specialty-equipment market and the enthusiasts who support it.
The SEMA Show moved from Anaheim, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1977, long before the phrase “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” was coined. Las Vegas was the perfect location, providing room for the show to expand, world-class entertainment, and an exciting destination. Today, more than 70,000 buyers and 2,400 exhibitors from all over the world participate in the SEMA Show. While the SEMA Show happens in Las Vegas, the long-term business relationships developed there extend far beyond the city limits.
SEMA and other Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) member organizations welcomed a federal government final report documenting the significant economic impact of the outdoor recreation economy. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) found that the outdoor recreation industry contributed $412 billion to the nation’s economy in 2016 (the last available year of data), which represented 2.2% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Of note, motorized recreation and motorcycling accounted for more than $20 billion in economic activity.
On July 13, SEMA members joined with car clubs, businesses and thousands of enthusiasts to celebrate the ninth annual Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD). A wide range of events was held in the United States and Canada to commemorate the special day. The celebration was designated with SEMA-requested companion resolutions introduced in the U.S. Congress by co-chairs of the SEMA-supported Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus. U.S. Senate Resolution 574 was sponsored by Senate co-chairs Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), while House co-chairs Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-GA) sponsored U.S. House of Representatives Resolution 980.