Evan J. Smith
September 21, 2010
Contributers: Jim McFarland, Sema Action Network Photos By: Courtesy of SEMA, MM&FF

Since the very first vehicle was built, modifying, racing, and/or personalizing your vehicle has been a rite of passage. Altering your Ford to suit your own style and needs is part of Americana. Whether your plans include aftermarket wheels, tires, and window tint, or an all-out 1,000hp engine and a rollcage, the common denominator is that millions of hard-working car people spend every day thinking about the next modification to enhance their pride and joy.

Believe it or not, there are people whose goal is to prevent us from obtaining automotive bliss. And this threat is real. On a daily basis, some legislators and regulators are trying to tighten the rules that govern what we can and can't do to our cars and trucks.

Thankfully, the people at SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) work tirelessly with legislators to squash bills that may harm our way of life. SEMA staff and SEMA Action Network members press flesh with government officials to ensure enthusiasts, aftermarket manufacturers, racetrack owners, event promoters, and the like can continue enjoying cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc., without interruption from the law. This is not an easy task, as some government officials are waging war against our hobby. It they had it their way, hot rodding would be banned!

It's A Changing Political Landscape-Get Involved!
The 2010 elections are here, and at no time in recent history has Washington been so divided. Less than two years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama led a movement united by the desire for change. Voters wanted a new era of bipartisan cooperation, openness, and an abandonment of "politics as usual." The realities of backroom politics quickly eroded campaign ideals. Now we are again at an election crossroads in which many voters are seeking "change." This is an opportunity to consider how actions being taken by federal and state lawmakers impact you, the auto enthusiast. The need for the enthusiast community to stay informed and become involved is greater than ever as the government is making decisions about your current and future cars.

The future of our hobby depends on you, and the ballot box is one venue for making your views known. We urge you to work collectively with your fellow enthusiasts. How? Join the SEMA Action Network (SAN). The SAN is a partnership between enthusiasts, car clubs, and members of the specialty auto parts industry in the U.S. and Canada, who have pledged to join forces in support of legislative solutions for the auto hobby. It's free to join and the SAN keeps you informed about pending legislation and regulations-both good and bad-that will impact your state or the entire country. You can join now at www.semasan.com.

You might be surprised at the number of car guys (and gals) in Washington, D.C. working on behalf of hobbyists like yourself. These are senators and congressional representatives. who, as enthusiasts, are interested in protecting and expanding our hobby.

The Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus is now nearing 100 members, and pays tribute to America's ever-growing love affair with the car and motorsports. In Washington, SEMA works in partnership with Caucus members to amplify the message among national policy-makers that the automotive performance industry is a vital engine in today's economy, employing more than a million Americans and generating $32 billion in sales annually.

In its efforts to promote and protect the specialty equipment industry and the automotive hobby in the states, SEMA partners with state lawmakers from across the country through the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. Formed in 2005 to supplement the work of our grassroots hobbyist network (SAN), the Caucus is a bipartisan group of more than 450 state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles. Supported by SEMA's Government Affairs office in Washington, D.C., the Caucus is serving to raise the motor vehicle hobby's profile in the state legislatures and in the eyes of the public.