Take the Time to 'Take the Hill'
On May 12, I had the privilege of participating - along with dozens of fellow ASA members - in the ASA "Taking the Hill" Fly-In in Washington, D.C. This is an important event that gives us an opportunity to meet with the U.S. representatives and senators representing our individual states. We had 17 states represented at the Fly-In.
We discussed repealing the McCarran- Ferguson Act, vehicle inspection programs and protecting consumers in regard to aftermarket parts. These issues are important to our industry and to our individual businesses and communities.
It is beneficial to develop long-term relationships with our representatives and senators. It helps us gain knowledge of the legislative process and it helps give our legislators an insight - directly from independent shop owners - into the challenges facing our industry.
Some of the ASA members attending this year also attended last year's event. Many legislators and their aides remembered those members - as well as ASA. This was impressive, considering how many people they meet in the course of a year.
Because of activities on Capitol Hill, some representatives were not available to personally meet with us, but their aides met with us and assured us our information, concerns and requests would be relayed to their respective representative or senator.
We have a full-time representative, Bob Redding, in Washington, D.C. ASA is the only automotive trade association that offers this resource to its members. Become familiar with issues relevant to our industry and ask questions. Bob and his staffers are always willing to educate us on the issues and help us be successful in our legislative endeavors.
We work hard each day to thrive in a somewhat challenging economy. And there are always industry issues. If we don't speak up, then we have no one but ourselves to blame if the right decisions aren't made when our congressional leaders deal with these issues. It only makes sense to become familiar with your respective legislators and take advantage of the legislative process offered by our association. Make it a priority. And get involved at your state level, too.
ASA will keep you updated as to the next opportunity to attend a fly-in so you can plan to participate.
It is a valuable experience and worth the time and expense to protect and further our industry and our individual livelihoods. We must keep on "Taking the Hill."
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