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Taking of the Hill, Voicing Your Aftermarket Concerns to the Government

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Do you realize that General Motors spent more than $7.9 million on political lobbying in 2003? Most of their efforts were focused on issues like steel prices, emissions and safety issues. But, some of their time and money was used to make their stance on right-to-repair legislation known to lawmakers.

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So who voices your concerns to government as a small-business owner involved in the aftermarket? There were those shop owners and technicians who voice their concerns directly to their representation. But, it is up to the collection of aftermarket trade associations that make your views known to lawmakers.

These dedicated representatives from AAIA, MEMA, ASA and other bodies have been talking to lawmakers. They have been trying to increase “aftermarket” awareness in Washington DC. Many of theses groups have employed professional “lobbyist” who know how to knock on doors.

The 2005 Aftermarket Legislative Summit, set for March 1-2 in Washington, D.C., is this industry’s opportunity to come together with a collective voice to make an impression upon policymakers – the folks who make decisions that impact important aspects of our business. According to AAIA, the goal of the Summit is to help ensure that legislators have the information they need to make educated decisions about major issues facing the aftermarket.

In 2003, a record 200 representatives from the aftermarket participated in the Legislative Summit. They came from diverse segments of the aftermarket including executives, repair shop owners, techs, warehouse distributors and jobbers.

The Aftermarket Legislative Summit will begin with an issue briefing at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. During the issue briefing, attendees will hear first hand from a federal legislator and aftermarket industry experts about the hot issues affecting our industry. Attendees will then be bussed to Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators.

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The Summit is gaining momentum. It’s a unique opportunity for members of the various aftermarket segments to meet with their legislators to discuss the issues that directly impact our industry and their businesses.

The major issues that likely will be highlighted during the Summit include: The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act, association health plans, anti-counterfeiting and asbestos litigation reform legislation.

As you begin the new year, think about the things you need to do to improve your business. Think about the daily details of running your business, interacting with your employees, communicating with your customers, delivering quality repairs, surpassing customer expectations, and the like. Making a positive impact in these areas produces tangible results, so they usually top your list of concerns.

Getting involved in one or more of the many industry initiatives, like the Aftermarket Legislative Summit, may just be the new year’s winning ticket.

AAIA has made special arrangements for the lowest fares to Washington, D.C. for more information visit www.aftermarket.org.

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