SEMA Members Take Washington By Storm

SEMA News—August 2017


By Eric Snyder

SEMA Members Take Washington By Storm

Industry Leaders Advocate for the RPM Act at 2017 Washington Rally

SEMA leadership and North Carolina members meet with U.S. Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC). From left: Brian Moyer of Steele Rubber Products, SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting, SEMA Chairman Wade Kawasaki, Rep. McHenry, SEMA Immediate-Past Chairman Doug Evans, Joanna Shere of Steele Rubber Products, SEMA Vice President/Editorial Director John Stewart, Jim Cozzie of Brenton Productions and SEMA Congressional Affairs Manager Eric Snyder.

More than 115 SEMA members and staff gathered in the nation’s capital to participate in SEMA’s 2017 Washington Rally. Attendees joined in more than 80 meetings, where they reminded members of Congress of the cultural and economic importance of motorsports and the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

A top focus during the rally was the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill that would protect Americans’ right to modify street vehicles into dedicated race cars and the industry’s right to sell the parts that enable racers to compete. The RPM Act now has more than 165 House and Senate co-sponsors, and the number continues to grow.

Rally participants also talked to their lawmakers about other issues facing the specialty-equipment industry, including reducing burdensome regulations, preventing higher ethanol content in gasoline and fighting counterfeit products.

“I thank the SEMA members who traveled to Washington, D.C., to talk to lawmakers about the issues that are most important to our industry, including the RPM Act,” said SEMA Immediate-Past Chairman of the Board Doug Evans. “The record-setting turnout underscores our industry’s passion and commitment to getting the RPM Act across the finish line. Passage of this bipartisan bill is the only way to make it clear that it is legal to modify a street vehicle into a race car used exclusively at the track, now and into the future. We urge members of Congress to pass this critical bill and protect motorsports for generations to come.”

Between meetings, SEMA members took a break for lunch at Charlie Palmer Steak, a venerable haunt for Washington power players, where they received a behind-the-scenes perspective on the RPM Act from Chris Carter, chief of staff to U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC). Rep. Hudson is the RPM Act’s top Congressional champion on the Energy & Commerce Committee.

The rally events were capped by a roof-top reception with SEMA’s allies in Congress and a Monuments by Moonlight trolley tour of Washington’s famous sites and monuments. The reception featured Congressional Automotive Performance & Motorsports Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL), in addition to Representatives Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Austin Scott (R-GA), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Ted Budd (R-NC), and David Valadao (R-CA).

This year’s event was the largest SEMA Rally to date and marked the 14th time SEMA representatives have held a rally on Capitol Hill. The rally has raised SEMA’s profile in the halls of Congress and plays a pivotal role in the association’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry.

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SEMA Chairman-Elect Tim Martin and his wife Kristen stop for a picture after meeting with the office of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). Brian Lounsberry of Motovicity (left) and Stuart Gosswein of SEMA (right) present a plaque to U.S. Representative Sander Levin (D-MI) for his longtime service as co-chairman of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus.
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From left: Rob Fisher of E3 Spark Plugs, Susan Carpenter of JR Products, Amy Fitzgerald of Cool Hand Customs and Chris Douglas of COMP Performance Group show their support for the RPM Act at the Washington Rally rooftop reception. Doug Evans (left) and Chris Kersting (right) present plaques to U.S. Representative Bill Posey (R-FL, second left) and U.S. Senator John Tester (D-MT) to thank them for their service as co-chairs of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus.
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U.S. Representative David Valadao (R-CA) addresses the reception attendees. U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) discusses his love for the hobby at the reception.
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Becca Butler of SEMA (left), U.S. Representative Austin Scott (R-GA, center) and U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) share a laugh during the reception. From left: Chris Douglas of COMP Performance Group, U.S. Representative Trent Kelly (R-MS) and Peter Treydte of SEMA.
From left: Chris Kersting, Doug Evans, Wade Kawasaki and Eric Snyder stop for a picture in the Capitol Rotunda. U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Wade Kawasaki (right) chat at the congressional reception.
U.S. Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) catches up with Kyle Fickler (right) of Aeromotive Inc. U.S. Representative Ted Budd (R-NC) addresses the reception.


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