We can't begin to thank each and every one of you for taking the time out of your busy lives and joining us in Washington, D.C. to continue to do important work for our industry and make our voices heard. It's amazing what we can do together collectively as a group.
It was a tremendous honor to spend some quality time getting to know each of you better. A big thanks to our sponsors as well! We couldn't do this event without you and for that we are extremely grateful.
All my best,
CEO | NIADA
NIADA Washington Event Sets Records for Attendance, Impact
More Independent Auto Dealers Bring Their Message to More Legislators Than Ever During 2016 National Leadership Conference and Legislative Summit
Washington D.C. (Oct. 3, 2016) -- Independent motor vehicle dealers continued to expand their already considerable presence in Washington D.C., coming in record numbers to last week's National Independent Automobile Dealers Association's National Leadership Conference and Legislative Summit.
More than 175 dealers and industry leaders came from across the country to the nation's capital – the most since the event returned to Washington in 2013 – to meet with federal legislators and regulators and make the voice of the independent dealer and small business heard.
The event concluded Wednesday with the climactic Day on the Hill, when 14 teams of NIADA dealers and industry partners swarmed Capitol Hill and met with 90 members of the Senate and House of Representatives or their legislative staff. That obliterated the previous record of 63 meetings set during last year's event.
"NIADA's footprint in Washington today is by far the largest it's ever been," NIADA senior vice president of legal and government affairs Shaun Petersen said. "In the four years since we began doing this, we've seen it grown exponentially.
"When we told people we had 180 dealers in 14 teams on the Hill, it really opened some eyes in Congressional offices. That's because of the commitment of NIADA members to be in Washington and make sure their voice is heard."
Among the teams were a record 10 representing NIADA's affiliated state associations. Teams from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida and New Mexico visited all or most of their representatives and senators.
"This was a great opportunity to actually sit down face-to-face with decision-makers and really allow them to understand – not just tell them – our point of view and the issues we're facing," said Tamaria Yarbrough of First Class Auto Sales in Pleasant Grove, Ala. "To actually be able to educate them on how those issues affect our businesses, as well as our customers, is vital."
Once again, NIADA's teams focused on the issues of automotive recalls and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Dealers urged Congress to reject calls for a complete ban on sales of vehicles with open recalls, pointing out that independent dealers by law cannot make recall repairs and grounding those vehicles would have devastating effects on small businesses and consumers.
They also expressed support for the Financial CHOICE Act, an alternative to the controversial Dodd-Frank Act that would make the CFPB more accountable. In addition, the NIADA contingent pressed senators to act on S. 2663, the companion bill to H.R. 1737, which passed the House overwhelmingly last year. It would rescind the CFPB's disputed auto financing guidance action regarding dealer discretion on interest rates issued by the CFPB in March 2013 and provide a more transparent and accountable process for dealing with the issue.
Featured speakers at National Leadership Conference events during the week included Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Roger Williams (R-Texas), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Steve Pearce (R-N.M.).
In addition to legislators, representatives of several federal regulatory agencies spoke to attendees Tuesday, providing regulatory updates and answering specific compliance questions from dealers. The speakers included John McNamara of the CFPB, Lois Greisman of the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Labor branch chief Derrick Witherspoon and Daniel Mosteller of the Department of Justice.
That afternoon, keynote speaker Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition offered an analysis of the current election season.
And, as always, the event brought together NIADA's top national leaders as well as those of NIADA's affiliated state associations to conduct association business, develop their leadership skills and get the latest updates on NIADA legislative, education and business initiatives.
"I'm excited to see this Leadership Conference grow and succeed as it becomes a critical component of NIADA's government affairs initiative," NIADA CEO Steve Jordan said. "Shaun Petersen and his team did a phenomenal job this year building on the momentum we've created since we brought this event back to D.C. in 2013
"For as much as we've succeeded, we still have much more work to do as we continue to advocate on behalf of our dealers and assist our members in telling their stories."
The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) is among the nation's largest trade associations, representing the used motor vehicle industry comprised of more than 38,000 licensed used car dealers. Since 1946, NIADA has represented the voice and interests of used car dealers at the federal level in Washington D.C. Coupled with its state association network across the country, NIADA's grass-roots framework provides a dual layer of advocacy unmatched in the used motor vehicle industry.
For 70 years, NIADA has engineered programs and leveraged technology to fulfill its mission to advance, educate and promote the independent used car dealer. NIADA members subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics of duty, honor and integrity, and believe in the advancement of small business in support of the free-market system. More information about NIADA programs and educational opportunities is available at www.niada.com, and www.niada.tv.