ARA members from over two dozen states gathered in the nation's Capitol to discuss the state of the professional automotive recycling industry and to represent the interests of ARA member businesses.
Michael Wilson, CEO of ARA, said, "Those ARA members who take time away from their businesses to participate in these important annual Association events came for a variety of reasons: for the greater good of the profession, to be part of the Association's presence on the Hill, to represent the industry as a whole, as well as to communicate issues important to their own businesses."
Wilson continued, "The events are an important opportunity during the year to meet face-to-face to share information and resources, such as legislative language, past experiences and issue strategies. The group’s ultimate goal is to make the voice of the professional automotive recycling industry heard on Capitol Hill and to enhance ARA’s grassroots advocacy structure."
The 9th Annual State Legislative Summit on April 18 began with an overview of active legislation impacting automotive recyclers on the state level. During round table discussions and comprehensive legislative updates, representatives from ARA's affiliate chapters discussed their specific legislative successes and challenges, as well as active legislation and state association goals. The day concluded with an in-depth briefing for the following day's Congressional appointments, and that evening, ARA members enjoyed a Welcome Reception at the W Hotel in downtown DC.
ARA's Annual Hill Day on April 19 was a success as association members visited lawmakers and engaged in more than 60 meetings with Members of Congress and other lawmakers. On Capitol Hill, ARA representatives built on last year's legislative successes regarding a provision signed into law as part of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The first Federal law to provide long-term funding certainty for surface transportation in over a decade, the FAST Act also requires automotive manufacturers to provide OEM parts data for recalled parts.
According to Wilson, “Access to OEM parts data has never been more important than today. Now that Congress has passed a law requiring automakers to make this information available for recalled parts, the professional automotive recycling industry and others in the parts supply chain need the ability to receive parts data for all vehicles."
While ARA was in DC, the association also presented its Congressional Champion Awards. In the House, the award went to Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) who last year introduced the provision requiring auto manufacturers to provide OEM part information for recalled parts and worked to get it adopted in the Highway bill and accepted by the Senate. These awards were presented at a luncheon on April 19 in a committee hearing room and the Congressman received a standing ovation when he arrived. In the Senate, ARA member Shannon Nordstrom of Nordstrom's Automotive in South Dakota, along with ARA CEO Michael Wilson and Director of Policy Delanne Bernier, presented Senator John Thune (R-SD) with the first ever ARA Senate Congressional Champion Award. Senator Thune is Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. ARA President Mike Swift commissioned the fabrication of that award which was made out of a piston.
ARA is now preparing for its 73rd Annual Convention and Expo which will be held October 26-29 in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, attracting automotive recycling professionals from around the world. Registration is now open at www.araexpo.org