government affairs blog

Reaching Our Grassroots Potential

Posted by David Pinkham on July 21, 2014

Having lived in and around major cities my entire life, I was never able to fully grasp the scope and true impact of our industry. Even after I started working at the Auto Care Association, it wasn’t until I began to visit members and travel on my own time to the rural areas and small towns where our members operate, that I came to the realization that our industry’s shops, stores, factories and warehouses could be found in nearly every town, county and district, no matter how isolated. Plus, in many cases, the auto care industry offered some of the best jobs in town and those working these jobs tended to be very much in tune with the happenings of their small communities.


Sure, the national industry stats — the 4.2 million jobs, $318 billion in sales, 2.2 percent of U.S. GDP, etc. — effectively illustrate our industry’s immense size and huge positive impact on the U.S. economy. However, one of our real strengths, from a political influence perspective, is that you’d be hard-pressed to find a federal or state legislative district that does not have an auto care business within its borders. Locating and fully harnessing these potential grassroots resources has always been our most difficult task, but one that is critical to the future success of the association’s government affairs agenda.


As you might have guessed, political advocacy in this country, similar to merchandising and distribution, has reached a point where data drives everything. It separates the most effective association government affairs programs from the least effective. Last summer, we began talking to a small segment of our most active members to get a sense of whether they could provide value to our grassroots program beyond what they had already offered. We attempted to gauge to what extent they were (1) politically active and (2) had relationships with federal or state elected officials. What we found was that even the members we worked with on a regular basis were more politically active in their communities than we previously thought or had relationships with key legislators that we had no idea existed. Our goal from there was to try to expand our efforts to survey a larger segment of our membership and provide an easy, quick medium for anyone to share this valuable information with us.


Therefore, this week, we will be deploying a new survey, which will serve to provide us with more information on our members than ever before. The survey, which will be sent out to the entire Auto Care Association membership, will ask very straightforward, non-intrusive questions including:


  • Which issue do you think is currently the most important facing the auto care industry?
  • How active have you been in federal, state or local politics?
  • List any officials with whom you have a relationship, either directly or through their staff.


Our goal is to ask these important questions so that when an issue arises and we find that we need to get in touch with a particular elected official, we are immediately aware of an individual from our industry who either knows that official personally or who is simply a passionate, well-connected constituent who wants to help. Please remember that all information provided through the survey will not be used in any way other than to assist in the Auto Care Association’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and in the states. We will not leverage your relationship with a particular legislator beyond a simple reference without first contacting you.


The survey is 18 questions and is comprised of mostly simple multiple choice questions. Please contact us at govaffairs@autocare.org or 240-333-1028 if you have any questions, or if you prefer to provide us with this information over email or phone.


Thank you in advance for your participation.

Keywords: Grassroots, Lobbying

A New Report, a New Name, an Old Story

Posted by Aaron Lowe on May 05, 2014

Welcome to the new edition of the Capital Report, now the Auto Care Association Capital Report. While the look of the report has changed (we hope for the better), we aim to continue to bring you all of the news relevant to the auto care industry from both Washington, D.C. and state capitals around the country. Let us know if you like our new format, or if you have any suggestions on we can improve this publication.


As I said a few months ago when the new name change was announced, the government affairs department is excited about the new rebranding effort, which we hope will better define our industry for lawmakers and regulators. In fact, the newly-named Auto Care Association was the subject of full page ads in Roll Call newspaper, one of the most read periodicals on Capitol Hill. The ads seek to show how our industry is important to consumers by ensuring their mobility.


Highlighting for legislators the connection between the auto care industry and consumers is important, because few in Washington understand how important the auto care industry is to the ability of Americans attempting to get from point A to point B, whether that is home to school, home to work or home to the grocery store. In fact, each trip is made possible because hundreds of thousands of shops, employing highly trained technicians, along with many more do-it-yourselfers work to ensure that the vehicle can make the trip safety and efficiently.


In reality, while our name has changed, the industry has not. Shops, using affordable quality parts, continue to provide repair and maintenance to car owners, often able to have the car back on the road the same day. Americans have come to expect this type of service from independents, but likely never think about how this happens or appreciate the effort that is required to help make it happen. Our hope is that the new name and the messages behind it will raise their awareness and therefore ensure that they will take it to heart as they consider legislation that could either help or hurt the auto care industry.


So as you view the new Capital Report and see our new logo, we hope you will join us in promoting the new name and the story behind it, both to your customers and hopefully to elected officials and regulators as well. There is no doubt it is going to take a village to make this happen. Let us know if we can provide any help along the way.

Keywords: Congress, Lobbying

A Holiday Message to Congress: Do Something!

Posted by Aaron Lowe on December 16, 2013

This is the final blog for 2013, and what a year it has been in the nation’s capital. The federal government was shut down for a couple of weeks, the government came close to defaulting on its debt payments, and the rollout of one of the most important government programs in decades was a total failure, as millions failed to be able to access government websites to purchase health insurance. And that was just during the fall of this year! What lies ahead for 2014?


A glimmer of hope this December was the passage last week by the House, despite strong opposition from some tea party legislators, of a modest two-year budget deal that was the bi-partisan work product of Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. The Senate vote is still not a sure thing, but as of this morning Senate leaders were optimistic that it will get done. No, this deal is not going to cure our nation’s bulging deficits, but hopefully it will keep the government funding issue out of crisis mode for a little while anyway.


My optimist side hopes that legislators will take the cooperation on the budget and decide to work together to attempt to take on some of the nation’s top issues such as entitlement reform, a long-term transportation infrastructure funding bill, and tax reform that levels the playing field for all businesses. The realist side of me knows that passage of most of these goals is not likely with a congressional election coming down the road. What is more likely is a more limited agenda where legislators seek to avoid negative publicity of a government shutdown, but avoid taking on issues or supporting compromises that might anger their political base. Thus we “kick the can down the road,” hoping that a future Congress will take on the difficult problems.


Unfortunately, in our current political system, “compromise” has become a dirty word as legislators up for election are fearful that supporting anything that does not stand up for conservative or liberal values will mean a primary challenge from someone further to the left or right. While standing up for your values is always an enviable trait, without practical compromises, no legislation ever moves forward. It seems that the only way that this trend will be broken is if voters and the business community support candidates that reflect the political tendencies of their constituents, but that also want to come to Washington to get things done. Unfortunately, with all of the hand wringing in Washington about the do-nothing Congress, it is hard to know whether the voters have had enough or whether we will see the parties further cement themselves in their positions over the next several years.


So my holiday wish is that legislators come back from their holiday break anxious to take on some of the big issues facing U.S. businesses and citizens by working with each other to find agreements that might not be perfect, but that moves the ball forward. Short of that, I guess I will just settle for peace on Earth… not sure which one may be more achievable.


Happy holidays to all AAIA members and their families from your government affairs staff. Here’s to a happy and healthy and productive New Year!

Keywords: Congress, Lobbying

As Massachusetts Right to Repair Battle Nears Finish Line: Now What?

Posted by Aaron Lowe on November 25, 2013

This was a big week in Massachusetts for the motor vehicle aftermarket. After months of wrangling, the state legislature finally passed a measure that will reconcile the two Right to Repair laws that were on the books in the state. Some may be asking, “Didn’t we already settle this issue back in 2012?” The answer is that while the people did vote overwhelmingly, 86-14 percent, to approve a Right to Repair law, that vote actually came after the legislature had already acted on Right to Repair legislation in July of that year. That bill was the result of an agreement reached at the last minute between the Massachusetts Right to Repair coalition, the vehicle manufacturers, and the new car dealers on Right to Repair. The result was two laws and the need to correct the issue, so that the people’s will for a competitive repair industry could be accomplished.


Like the ballot question, the bill enacted by the legislature ensures full access for the independent repair industry to all information, tools and software used by dealers to repair vehicles. The major differences include providing additional time for the manufacturers to comply with requirements that they make all of their diagnostic software available from a cloud using a standardized vehicle interface; different enforcement methodology; and the unfortunate exclusion of motorcycles and heavy duty vehicles from the bill (an action that the legislature took during consideration of the bill).


The final reconciliation bill that recently passed the legislature looks much like the bill that already passed the legislature, with the exception to the fact that heavy duty vehicles were added back into the bill due to the strong lobbying by the heavy duty aftermarket. The bill now goes to the governor, who has 10 days to sign it.


So with this battle nearing completion, what is next for Right to Repair? Working with the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE), AAIA has been meeting with the manufacturers in an attempt to develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would implement the Massachusetts model around the country. Car companies have been reluctant to sign the document until work on the reconciliation measure was complete in the commonwealth. With that action nearly complete, AAIA and CARE would like an MOU approved as soon as possible so that car owners around the nation can benefit from the action in Massachusetts. Should that action not occur, AAIA is committed to moving state by state, to make sure all consumers have access to a competitive vehicle repair market. However, if we can achieve nationwide implementation of the Massachusetts bill without the cost and time of going through a state by state effort, this seems like the best course.


For now, we are focusing on encouraging the governor to sign the bill. After that, the ball will be in the car companies’ court as to whether we move forward together on implementing Right to Repair or the battles goes on the road to state capitals around the country. Let’s hope they choose the former.

All Politics is Local: Two New Resources to Help the Aftermarket Catch Up in the Advocacy Game

Posted by David Pinkham on July 15, 2013

While news from Capitol Hill continues to dominate the headlines, legislators are, more than ever, focused primarily on what’s happening in their local districts and states. When it comes to being reelected, it’s no longer how a legislator is polling nationally nor how voters view Congress as a whole, but rather how an individual is viewed in the eyes of his or her own constituents. Thus, what holds true for legislators must hold true for the aftermarket’s advocacy efforts. In order for us to more effectively reach out and inspire action on the part of legislators, we must approach them in such a manner that highlights the impact on where 99 percent of their focus is: their home districts.


In meeting this important advocacy goal, we have added two new features to our political advocacy website,www.aaiagovernmentaffairs.org. The first of which serves to strengthen our messaging through district-specific economic data on our industry while the other addresses our industry’s organizational efforts by encouraging collaboration with state-specific aftermarket organizations.


Economic Impact by District: Our first new addition to the site features an interactive map and drop-down menu that display analytical reports on aftermarket economic data by congressional district. These reports, which display up-to-date employment numbers, facility counts and key talking points, all in an effectively advocacy-focused manner, can serve as useful tools in correspondence with legislators. Ever wondered how many jobs the aftermarket employs in your district? This new feature not only highlights those numbers, but it delivers them in such a way that a legislator can truly appreciate the impact of your business and others in the supply chain. This sort of information, when compartmentalized in this fashion, is one of the most useful instruments in a company’s advocacy arsenal since much of politics is not only local, but also numbers-driven.


Click here to access the “Aftermarket Economic Data by District” page. It can also be found under the “Information for Legislators” tab on the left.


State Advocacy Groups: The second resource we now offer is a comprehensive list of every state aftermarket association that AAIA has partnered with over the years to address issues at the state and local levels. Given that most of the hot-button issues on our radar continue to initially appear at the state level, our first line of defense remains the state aftermarket groups, who constantly have their ear to the ground in their respective regions. These groups are both well-connected with state legislators and well-positioned within the industry to advocate on behalf of the aftermarket in most state capitals. Our hope is to use this page to not only help you connect with your state aftermarket group, but also to promote state-centered legislative events and alerts critical to our advocacy efforts.


Click here to access the “State Associations” page. It can also be found under the “Additional Resources” tab on the left.


As we’ve said before, for a $300 billion industry that supports four million American jobs, the aftermarket’s messaging influence and political organization do not come close to matching its economic robustness. We hope that by using these tools, the industry can both effectively deliver its message and organize swiftly at a more local level. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback at govaffairs@aftermarket.org

Keywords: Grassroots, Lobbying

AAIA to Develop Database of Member-Legislator Relationships

Posted by David Pinkham on June 07, 2013

Do you live down the street from a state senator? Do you regularly meet with your U.S. senator in his or her local state office? Or perhaps you regularly attempt relive your old college days with a current U.S. Congressman who happened to be your freshman year roommate?


These types of relationships are ideal examples of the information AAIA is striving to gather as we expand our grassroots database to include such valuable data from our membership. In Washington, relationships are key, and this kind of information can help make your association’s government affairs efforts significantly more effective.


AAIA is in the process of distributing a survey to determine which of our members have a strong relationship, personal or professional, with one or more elected state or federal officials. Our objective is to thoroughly survey the AAIA membership for relationships with elected officials who then would help the association further its government affairs goals.


Since all relationships are different, the survey strives to not only find out which legislators our members know, but also the nature of those relationships. Therefore, the survey asks for the names of elected officials that you know and then provides options to choose from in defining the relationship such as “friend,” “neighbor” or “hosted a fundraiser.” Next, there is an opportunity to elaborate in order to help the government affairs staff better understand that relationship. Providing as much detail as possible will help our staff to analyze the nature of each relationship so we best optimize our approach in dealing with each legislative office.


This survey, along with other initiatives recently undertaken AAIA’s government affairs department, is part of a concerted effort to reach out to a wider array of elected officials in order to better educate them on our industry and our issues. For a $300 billion industry that provides over four million jobs to the American economy, the aftermarket’s political organization efforts do not come close matching its economic robustness. However, continuing to develop a grassroots network which includes a database of legislator relationships can greatly strengthen our presence on Capitol Hill and during negotiations over important aftermarket and business-related issues.


Important information to keep in mind:


  • The survey allows you to complete your responses for one legislator at a time. If you have a relationship with more than one legislator, you can access the survey multiple times to complete your responses for each additional legislator.
  • We encourage you to share all relationships, since all contacts are important, but we especially want to hear about close relationships that might be useful in building support for our industry government affairs agenda.
  • All information provided through the survey will not be used in any way other than to assist in AAIA’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. AAIA will not leverage your relationship with a particular legislator beyond a simple reference without first contacting you.
  • If you prefer, you are welcome to provide us with any information over the phone at 301-654-6664 or simply by email at govaffairs@aftermarket.org


Thanks to all members in advance for their help in making this survey a success! To access the survey please click here or copy the following URL into your web browser: http://research.zarca.com/k/RQsSXWTsQYRsPsPsP

Keywords: Grassroots, Lobbying

Yes, Lobbying Often is a Team Sport

Posted by Aaron Lowe on April 05, 2013

There are thousands of trade associations in the U.S., just like AAIA, that represent the legislative and regulatory interests of their industry in Washington and in the states. Each industry has a specific point of view on a government initiative. And just like the AAIA government affairs department, the trade association lobbyists bring that point of view to the attention of the regulators and legislators in hopes that they can enact, defeat or shape a piece of legislation or regulation.


Notwithstanding these different points of view on many issues, there are instances where the business community is on the same side on a piece of legislation. Issues such as taxes, healthcare reform and labor laws often impact a broad segment of the general business community that are not defined by a single industry group. In these cases, trade groups pool their resources and act as coalitions, providing a stronger voice to legislators and regulators on key issues impacting the business community. Sometimes these coalitions are coordinated by broader business associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) or the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). Other times, the coalitions are coordinated by one association or a group of associations that have the resources and interest in an issue to spearhead an effort.


AAIA is a member of numerous coalitions addressing issues related to healthcare reform, repeal of the estate tax, reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the efforts by labor unions to strengthen their ability to unionize workplaces. By working with these coalitions, we are able to fortify our lobbying work in these areas, while maximizing association resources to work on issues that have a unique impact on the independent aftermarket. AAIA is also a member of the Chamber, NAM, NFIB and the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors, which provide us with additional resources and political capital.


In short, when companies decide to join AAIA, they receive not only the work of five lobbying professionals that work directly for AAIA, but also a broad network of hundreds of lobbyists and other government affairs professionals that work in tandem with AAIA on business-related issues that could potentially have a significant impact on our members’ bottom line. These coalitions have helped defeat legislative initiatives such as card check which would have made significantly easier for a labor union to unionize virtually any business, helped effectively rollback the estate tax such that most AAIA members are not impacted and prevented passage of ineffective and outdated TSCA reform bills that might have saddled aftermarket companies with significant and unnecessary compliance costs.


Now that is getting more bang for the buck.

Keywords: Congress, Lobbying

It’s Spring – Do You Know Where Your Congressman Is?

Posted by Aaron Lowe on March 22, 2013

While schools around the country are in the midst of spring break, Congress will be taking its version of spring break, leaving the nation’s capital for a two-week recess. No doubt, the press will call this a vacation and the usual accusations that Congress is taking too much time off will be moving through the air waves, newspapers and of course social media. Clearly, Congress does appear to take a lot of time off. The House takes a minimum of one week off every month to spend in their districts. Legislators also leave Washington for a week during major holidays like Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day and July 4th -- and let’s not forget the month-long break in August.


Is it a vacation? Many legislators will spend at least some of the next two weeks on vacations with their families. Others will go on “fact finding” trips that are intended to help them do their job better. Some of these trips often are to war zones like Afghanistan where they can obtain first-hand knowledge of how the war is progressing. You also will find some legislators in the district, meeting with constituents, holding town hall events or meeting with local officials on issues close to home. Many, if not all, legislators, also will focus on their re-election campaign, whether it’s planning the next campaign or raising money. Legislators, especially Congressmen, are under such incredible pressure to raise money that they are almost always in campaign mode.


There is definitely a debate in Washington and around the country as to whether legislators should be spending more or less time in the Capitol attempting to resolve some the nation’s major budget issues rather than back home. However, I think the real debate is not how much time they are spending in Washington, but really how are they spending that time. I’m not going to delve into that debate.


The reality is that legislators are home and, like it or not, this fact does present some opportunities for people employed in the aftermarket to get some “face time” with their elected official. Elected officials are often more accessible and are less hassled when they are home, out of the constant time crunch they face in the Capitol. There is no need for an agenda in these face- to-face meetings, just a chance to let them know that you either live or work in their district and that you cared enough to let them know it. If you are holding a Car Care Event as part of April’s National Car Care Month, invite them to attend. They may not come, but at least they will be aware of it.


Getting face time with your legislator can have a big pay-off should something come up in Congress and you need their vote. Also, legislators can help constituents navigate tricky federal regulatory issues that might arise and that might have a negative impact on your company. It’s not to say that they would get you out of trouble if you don’t pay your taxes, but they can provide assistance and can get the attention of federal agencies when you need it. Another great way to get involved is to attend one of their in-district fundraisers where you will definitely get spend some quality time with your Congressman.


So you can complain about all of the time Congress spends on vacation, or you can use it to your advantage. That is your choice. Oh, and before I forget, please let us know that you have been contacted with your legislator. That information can be invaluable to us if we need to contact your elected official regarding an issue impacting the industry.


Thanks and I hope everyone has a great National Car Care Month!

Who Are the Real Heroes When it Comes to Lobbying?

Posted by Aaron Lowe on February 22, 2013

No matter what you may hear in the news about how technology is replacing people, the fact is that in the end, the success of any industry is dependent not on the technology, but the people who work in it. People develop the strategy for how a product is to be produced and marketed and it is people that will need to effectively implement the strategy.


The same holds true for lobbying. The success or failure of a lobbying effort is often dependent on the people who participate—clearly the professional lobbyists, but maybe more important, the people from the industry that become involved in the issue on behalf of their companies and the industry. An industry that has a large number of people that are willing to passionately make their case to legislators will find success in achieving their goals.


I can definitely point to the willingness of an industry member to come out and meet with legislators or their staff as a key reason why we have won battles in state legislatures and in Congress. While lobbyists can meet all day long, it is the constituents that can really drive home a message with an elected official. No one really tells the story as well as someone who is living the story, someone who is actually a part of the industry that a lobbyist represents.


The importance of people in a lobbying battle comes to mind recently with our recent victory in Oklahoma. Through the efforts of some individuals from our industry, we were able to prevent consideration of a bill that would have had an extremely negative impact on the aftermarket parts industry. While I am always hesitant to mention a name since there are often many people involved in an effort, I feel that it is appropriate to mention one in particular: Jack Vollbrecht from Remy International.


This month, Vollbrecht spent days at the capitol in Oklahoma City explaining how the aftermarket and consumers would be hurt by a bill that required repair shops doing insurance-related repairs to provide a disclosure to car owners when a non-original equipment emissions or safety related part was being used in a repair. Adding insult to injury, the bill further would require the car owner to sign a consent form that they would accept the use the non-original equipment part as if the use of a non-OE part meant getting a second rate component for a repair. Pointing to the negative implications of this requirement on non-original equipment parts, Vollbrecht explained to legislators how these parts are often as good, or better, than the OE part they replaced, and in many cases, made by the same company. It wasn’t easy, but in the end with the help of other aftermarket companies, including LKQ, NAPA and O’Reilly, Vollbrecht convinced key legislators to back off support of the bill and it is currently looking like this bill will die in the legislature.


Winning on an issue can require some good strategy and sometimes spending a lot of money. However, victory often comes down to having the right people involved in the effort—people who have the facts, willingness to work hard and, most importantly, are passionate about the cause. This appears to be the case in Oklahoma.


Of course, this is only one story and throughout the years there have been many stories of individuals who have given up their time to help defeat or pass legislation in order to protect our industry. However, today, I would like to send some appreciation to Jack Vollbrecht and his company Remy for their willingness to take on this legislative effort on behalf of the aftermarket. We couldn’t do what we do so well without companies and individuals like them. I hope they will serve as an example of how the people in our industry are one of the most important ingredients in the success of our industry’s government affairs efforts.

Keywords: Grassroots, Lobbying

The Aftermarket's Real Perception Problem

Posted by Aaron Lowe on February 01, 2013

The introduction of a bill (S. 1051) in the state of Oklahoma that would require motorists to receive a written disclosure regarding the use of an aftermarket emissions, safety or crash-related part should be a wake-up call that our industry has a real perception problem with elected officials. While the bill only specifies that the disclosure must happen if the repair is being paid for by an insurance company, it is clear that legislators have very little understanding of our industry or the quality or origin of aftermarket related parts.


Clearly, a disclosure requirement such as the one under consideration in Oklahoma will put a negative stigma in the consumer’s mind regarding the use of a part not manufactured by the car company. No matter what the repair shop does to explain the law, the consumer is going to wonder why a disclosure is required in the case of an aftermarket part and not the original equipment part.


Of course, a key reason for the perception regarding aftermarket parts is the marketing being done by the vehicle manufacturers that the only way to be sure that you have the best part on your car is to purchase from them. Yes, the marketing of their product to car owners is fair and to be expected. However, the fact that that the car companies and dealers are moving to secure their market through legislation signals that the competitive marketplace is not working for them, and that they are moving to the legislative theater where they hold more cards.


Whether the bill passes or not, the mere fact that a state is considering these disclosures at all should send warning flags up in our industry that we need to work together to defeat this attack on the reputation of aftermarket parts. Everyone in the industry must take responsibility to educate legislators and regulators that aftermarket parts are either as good or, in many cases, better than the original equipment part that it is replacing. In fact, the aftermarket often improves on a part since we have the fortunate opportunity to observe the part in use and can determine where there might be a problem with the OE design. Further, aftermarket parts are often built by the same company that the produced the OE part, only the label on the box is different.


The bottom line is that it is critical that everyone send letters and/or meet with legislators to defeat these bills before they have a chance to move any further.


I can guarantee you that if you don’t speak up in support of your company’s own product, and our industry overall, don’t expect legislators to see through the allegations by the car companies that only their parts are high quality. Yes, I know that parts producers in our industry compete against each other for the spending dollars of consumers. However, the threat of legislation and regulation in the aftermarket parts industry impacts all companies in our industry and demands that everyone go on the offensive together, letting legislators know that bills such as the one in Oklahoma are misguided and will only end up hurting their constituents in higher repair prices with no impact on parts quality.


Companies with facilities in the state of Oklahoma can quickly send a letter to their elected official on the aftermarket parts legislation by visiting our Legislative Action Center.

Keywords: Grassroots, Lobbying

A Walkthrough of AAIA's New Political Advocacy Website

Posted by David Pinkham on January 18, 2013

Earlier this week our government affairs team launched this new website. Our hope was to create a valuable tool to assist both us and our members in our ongoing mission to accelerate AAIA’s political advocacy efforts. With more than 23,000 members, large and small, and at every level of the supply chain, our association remains poised to make a huge impact in political engagement. However, the success of any association’s legislative and regulatory initiatives begins with you, the members of the association. Your commitment to making your voice heard by members of Congress on issues that we care about as an industry is what will help advance our collective interests here in Washington, D.C.


While you will see a lot of the same information that was available on our former site, including issue briefs, our Capital Report newsletter and links to key government agencies, hopefully you will notice the major changes to the grassroots and political action committee sections, which have been entirely revamped to make engaging in our advocacy efforts not only easier, but more rewarding.


Our new “Become an Advocate” section offers users the ability to find their state and federal legislators and contact them about a specific issue relating to your business. The heart of the new website is the newly-energized Legislative Action Center. While the center will still permit members to send letters on issues of importance to the industry, it also will be the place to go for members who want to be key advocates in advancing the industry’s legislative agenda. Key advocates will service as the go-to members that can be counted on to make contact with legislators if an issue comes up that requires immediate attention. Our hope is to encourage as many members as possible show their commitment by becoming an advocate, and then provide us with both the action and knowledge necessary to achieve a certain advocacy goal.


The Automotive Aftermarket Political Action Committee (AAPAC) has been an important facet of our legislative efforts on Capitol Hill for many years, but our competitors continue to outraise us by a wide margin, thus allowing them additional access to key legislators. We have ambitious goals for AAPAC in the coming years, but we will not achieve them without the backing of our members. The new site not only provides more information on why AAPAC is critical to our industry’s future, but will make it easier for our members to participate.


Finally, state legislative initiatives impacting our industry continue to grow. The new website provides an easy way to easy way to keep track of state legislation relevant to the aftermarket. Check out the map on the State Legislative page to see what state legislation that we are tracking and their status in their respective legislature. We will continue to develop this feature, including adding subcategories of “topic” and “priority,” to ensure that our members can conveniently benefit from it on a regular basis.


Our team has set lofty goals for our advocacy program and this website will provide us and our members the necessary jumping-off point to move forward. Of course, we took on this redesign project to make it easier for our members to get involved in our efforts so please feel free to contact any one of us with recommendations on how we can improve the site. We appreciate your support and commitment to keeping the aftermarket an active and thriving industry.

Keywords: AAPAC, Grassroots, Lobbying