A record number of attendees participated in the 2017 MEMA Legislative Summit May 17 and 18 with 180 members of AASA, HDMA, MERA, and OESA in arriving in Washington, D.C. to carry the message of the supplier industry to Capitol Hill.
The event kicked off on May 17 with opening remarks from MEMA President and CEO Steve Handschuh.
“As you know, our mission is to advance the business interests of our members,” he said to a full room at the Watergate Hotel. “This is why we have a strong presence here in Washington, D.C., and why we convene the Legislative Summit each year. And this year, perhaps more than any other, it is critical that the voice of motor vehicle parts suppliers be heard on The Hill.
MEMA and the Summit attendees had a clear and concise message for legislators, Handschuh, said: “Support policies that allow American companies to compete globally.”
After opening remarks, attendees participated in a packed morning agenda. The keynote was delivered by Katty Kay, the anchor of BBC World News America and co-author of two New York Times bestsellers. Kay was followed by a presentation by Phil English, former Pennsylvania congressman and current senior government advisor at Arent Fox. English shared his insight in tax reform, informed by his experience on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, where he worked extensively on trade, health care, tax, and energy policies.
The morning concluded with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and U.S. Congressman Bob Latta (R-Ohio), who both addressed the audience on issues affecting the supplier industry. The program resumed after lunch with Earl W. Comstock, director of the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Later in the day, a lively panel discussion explored the potential impacts of new trade policies with former Missouri governor Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council and David Hamil, partner at Arent Fox, followed by breakout sessions specially designed for each of MEMA’s divisions. The day ended at the Rayburn Cafeteria on Capitol Hill where Summit participants were joined by congressional staff and regulators at the 2017 MEMA Technology Fair.
On May 18, Summit attendees conducted more than 120 meetings on Capitol Hill, providing dozens of legislators and their staffs with informational materials, industry statistics, and policy position papers on a wide range of issues. Meetings were focused on issues affecting the supplier industry, including:
reasonable tax reform
fair trade policies
sustained infrastructure spending
and adoption of new technologies