SEMA Members Take Washington By Storm

SEMA News—August 2018


By Daniel Ingber

SEMA Members Take Washington By Storm

Industry Leaders Advocate for the RPM Act at the 2018 Washington Rally

  Washington Rally
SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (left) discusses the RPM Act with Washington Rally attendees at the breakfast briefing.

More than 110 representatives from SEMA gathered in the nation’s capital to participate in SEMA’s 2018 Washington Rally. Industry leaders stormed the halls of Congress to remind lawmakers 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, 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 185 House and Senate co-sponsors, and the event served as a rallying cry that it’s time for Congress to pass the bill.

“I thank the SEMA members who took valuable time away from their businesses to fight for the issues that matter most to our industry, including the RPM Act,” said SEMA Chairman of the Board Wade Kawasaki. “This year’s turnout makes one thing certain: Our industry is committed to getting the RPM Act across the finish line in 2018. Passage of this bipartisan bill is the only way to ensure that it is legal to modify a street vehicle into a race car used exclusively at the track, now and into the future. It’s time for Congress to act. We urge members of the House and Senate to pass the RPM Act and protect motorsports for generations to come.”

Rally participants also spoke with their lawmakers about other key issues facing the specialty-equipment industry, such as reducing burdensome regulations, removing tariffs on materials and goods imported to the United States, preventing higher ethanol content in gasoline, saving the Bonneville Salt Flats, investing in roads and highways, and ensuring that autonomous vehicle legislation doesn’t adversely impact aftermarket businesses.

“SEMA members are incredibly skilled at advocating for the automotive aftermarket and letting federal lawmakers know how many jobs the industry supports in communities across the country,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Thanks to their efforts, I’m confident that 2018 will be the year we save our race cars.”

Between meetings, SEMA members took a break for lunch at the Reserve Officers Club, where they received a behind-the-scenes update on what’s happening in Congress from two of SEMA’s biggest allies in Washington: U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC).

This year’s event was one of the largest SEMA rallies to date and marked the 15th time representatives from SEMA have walked the halls on Capitol Hill. The event plays a pivotal role in the association’s advocacy efforts.

SEMA members who couldn’t make it to the Rally this year are urged to reach out to the SEMA D.C. office at and learn how they can get in touch with their lawmakers in Congress. They can also see what happened at the Rally on SEMA’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages using #SaveOurRacecars and #SEMARally2018.

John Tester
U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) addresses the D.C. Rally’s Congressional Luncheon.



  John Tester
Sen. Tester (second right) with Chris Kersting (left), SEMA Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs Stuart Gosswein (second left) and SEMA Chairman of the Board Wade Kawasaki.
Washington Rally

SEMA members from North Carolina pose for a picture after meeting with U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). From left: Jim Cozzie of Brenton Productions, Robert Simons of Edelbrock, Tyson Boyer of Dill Air Controls, SEMA Director of Congressional Affairs Eric Snyder, Sen. Burr, Joanna Agosta Shere of Steele Rubber Products, Danny Agosta of Steele Rubber Products, Braden Liberg of Edelbrock, and Tom Deery of World of Outlaws/DIRTcar Racing.


U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) gives SEMA members an insider’s perspective on the RPM Act.






Steve Campbell Family
U.S. Representative Bill Posey (R-FL) presented a flag to the family of Steve McDonald and SEMA staff. McDonald was SEMA’s vice president of government affairs. He passed away in September 2017. From left: Eric Snyder; Chris Kersting; Rep. Posey; Manya Petropaki (Steve’s fiancé); Stuart Gosswein; and John McDonald (Steve’s brother).

Wade Kawasaki
Wade Kawasaki addresses the Washington Rally’s Congressional Luncheon.





Ben Tucker (left) of Camaro Central and U.S. Representative Andy Barr (R-KY).
  Washington Rally
U.S. Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) met with SEMA members in his Capitol Building office.
Washington Rally
From left: Eric Snyder, Jim Cozzie, Rep. McHenry, Joanna Agosta Shere and Danny Agosta.
John Viscardo from The Enthusiast Network (right) discusses issues of importance to the industry with U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL).

Senator Boozeman
Tray Smith of H&H Classic Parts (left), U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Chris Kersting (right).


  Tim Martin
SEMA members relax at a Washington Rally reception after a busy day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. Pictured are SEMA Chairman-Elect Tim Martin (left) and Greg Adler of Transamerican Auto Parts.
Senator Young
From left: BJ Elmore of Ridetech/Air Ride Technologies Inc., U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN), and Nick Gramelspacher of Meyer Distributing.
  Melanie White
From left: Melanie White of Hellwig Products, Kathryn Reinhardt of MagnaFlow Exhaust Products and Kirstin Stone of Radians at the Washington Rally.
Rep Cohen
From left: Tammy Holland of COMP Performance Group, U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Kirstin Stone of Radians.
From left: Robbie Fisher of E3 Spark Plugs, John Viscardo of The Enthusiast Network (TEN), U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rob Fisher of E3 Spark Plugs.
U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA, center) poses for a picture with SEMA members from California. From left: Mark Hellwig of Hellwig Products, Kathryn Reinhardt, Melanie White, Rep. Nunes, Rory Connell of Advanced Accessory Concepts, Greg Adler and Stuart Gosswein. 
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