The auto industry has seen its greatest evolution in the past few years. Whether it’s the rise of electrification and AV technology or the threat of broad tariffs, dealers must be more involved in the policies that affect our business. Ask yourself: How well do my elected officials understand my business? If you don’t know the answer to that question yet, it might be time to host your member of Congress at the place you know best—your dealership.
The good news is that you don’t have to be on the steps of Capitol Hill to meet with your Senator or Congressman. You can meet with your elected representatives while they are still home for the summer congressional recess which extends through Friday, September 6—another week after the upcoming Labor Day weekend. In my experience, that one 30-minute face-to-face meeting with your elected official can make a huge impact to our collective future.
It’s a critical time in our industry and our representatives need to understand the significance of our business and how their policies will impact our employees, customers and communities at large. Take this final week to invite a legislator to your dealership or meet with them at their local office. Now is the time to talk about how overly broad recall bills could harm your business, cripple the used-car market and create a trade-in tax that would instantly devalue a customer’s trade-in. Most importantly, it’s a chance to show them how dealers like you contribute to your own community and the nation’s economy. Walk them around each department, demonstrate the latest and safest technologies, give them the opportunity to meet and speak with your employees. Build a line of communication with the people who create the legislation that, like it or not, dictates our day-to-day operations.
Visits with legislators take about an hour and can be arranged around your busy schedule. And if you can’t meet with your legislators in this final week of the recess, you can still reach out to them when they’re back in Washington. Never underestimate the power of the dealer voice. Our advocacy work runs 365 days a year. We must take every opportunity to educate our elected officials on NADA’s key policy issues. If you’d like to meet with your member of Congress at their local office or at your dealership, NADA can help arrange an appointment: contact Patrick Calpin, director of grassroots advocacy, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make the most of this upcoming Labor Day weekend. Our actions now will determine our future later!
Charlie Gilchrist, 2019 NADA chairman, is president of Gilchrist Automotive in greater Dallas-Ft. Worth.