Issues Facing Our Industry

It’s Our Responsibility

The Automotive Industry and the Automotive Aftermarket are constantly under pressure to evolve and meet new and more stringent requirements developed by law makers, and that’s not a bad thing. We are innovators, after all, and we never back down from a challenge to make things perform better. However, when misinformed policymakers push an agenda, someone needs to stand up for the millions of dedicated people who work in these industries who are most affected by irresponsible legislation. SEMA does an amazing job of representing the Aftermarket to legislators, and I am prepared to serve. Here are a few of the issues we face today:

Right To Repair

The right to safely build and modify our vehicles is as American as free speech. I will always fight for our right to improve the performance, capabilities, and appearance of our vehicles as creative expression. According to the latest SEMA Economic Impact study, the Automotive Aftermarket is home to over 1.3 million passionate workers who earn over $100 Billion in wages and benefits, and are responsible for over $330 Billion in output of products and services. Irresponsible legislation fueled by inadequate understanding or unrealistic expectations of idealistic outcomes threatens the livelihood of these workers, their families, our economy, and our industry. I stand with our Automotive Aftermarket family in defense of our industry and our rights as Americans.

The Future of Fuels

It’s no secret that EVs have been thrust upon the marketplace backed by overreaching legislation and a disregard for the best interests of our consumers, the industry and the power grid they rely upon. The unfortunate aspect of this is that EVs, by their nature, are an exciting and valuable part of the transportation spectrum that have a great future satisfying the needs of consumers and businesses alike. However, when the lawmakers force one technology over others, nobody wins. Our free-market society is designed to foster competition and innovation, resulting in best options for all. I support the open market and the innovators working tirelessly to bring all kinds of new fuel and power options to the marketplace. Hydrogen, synthetic gasoline, electricity, hybrids, and traditional internal combustion engines can all occupy their rightful best place in the market to achieve the most efficient results while minimizing the impact to our planet. When the government pushes a favorite, the others suffer, and so do we. I stand with the innovators and look forward to the solutions and technologies on the horizon, EV and otherwise.

Educating Our Members and Industry

The Automotive Aftermarket is a hotbed of innovation, fueled by passionate individuals who transform dreams into reality. There is no better industry in which to work and live. However, many times the creator becomes the business person, which may seem like an organic pathway to future success, but can quickly reveal the challenges of advancing in to the skill set of business management. These skills rarely come as naturally – or as passionately – as the craft of the innovator. I’ve lived this situation, growing from a small shop crafting 1 custom car at a time to a complex of 32 talented team members working in a business comprising 8 departements spanned across 6 facilities. With over 7000 companies thousands of professionals as members, SEMA has resources, mentorship, training, and networking opportunities to help passion-fueled businesses sail over the daunting learning curve of regulation, management, insurance, finance, business strategy, marketing, and every other possible hurdle a business person can encounter. I will work to connect these resources with the membership who desperately need the guidance to let their creativity and innovation flow and operate their businesses in the most successful manner for their teams, families, and the industry.

– Kelle Oeste