Dear CADA Dealer Member:
I’m still pumped up from the successful 2015 CADA Project DC trip, September 27th through October 1st. Your entire Board of Directors was invited and for the third year we held our board meeting while we were on the road. We were also accompanied by one of our NextGen dealers and select endorsed providers. We attended the annual NADA Washington Conference. The trip was informative and it allowed us to have some beneficial and productive dialog with our elected federal representatives. It helped us cement important relationships among Board members and our endorsed providers. And it also was a lot of fun! In short, it was everything I hoped it would be.
This was our third annual Washington, DC trip and as in the past two years, our CADA staff planned and executed the agenda admirably. One highlight was the fantastic private dinner and discussion with GOP U.S. Senator Cory Garnder and GOP Reps. Tipton, Lamborn, Coffman (Rep. Buck was represented by his Chief of Staff), which will help us in the battles we expect to fight in the future.
There was a separate program for NextGen dealers. Ben Faricy of The Faricy Boys in Colorado Springs represented CADA. “It was a good introduction to lobbying and working with members of Congress and it was educational.” Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) spoke to them and according to Ben, “We may not be quite what Congress expected to see and hear, being younger dealers. She shared some of those characteristics and gave me a little more confidence that there is a next generation of congressional leadership that’s rooted in the same optimism as this younger generation of dealers.”
We heard some phenomenal speakers at the NADA conference. Among them were Congressmen Frank Guinta (R-NH) and David Scott (R-GA) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). We received briefings on important industry legislation including the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau reform bill, open recall bills and changes to LIFO policies.
These were issues that we were able to discuss in one-on-one meetings on Capitol Hill with Congressman Ed Perlmutter, Congressman Doug Lamborn, Congressman Jared Polis, Congressman Ken Buck and Senator Cory Gardner. All of them were attentive and receptive to our views. Rep. Perlmutter is a sponsor of the CFPB reform bill, which is awaiting a vote in the House – soon we hope. We also had meetings with the staff members for Congressman Mike Coffman, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, and Senator Michael Bennet. “We were able to share our side of the story and watch it play out at the NADA level. You could see what a force the dealers could be,” is the way Ben Faricy described it.
For fun we took in several sights in the nation’s capital, including a moonlight visit on Sunday to the Air Force and Marine Memorials and the World War II Memorial. On Monday morning we visited the Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial and Lincoln Memorial before having a private tour of the Air and Space Museum.
Back at home, we’ve wrapped up the annual CADA regional meetings, visiting12 different locations over six days throughout Colorado. These meetings gave us an opportunity to brief members on some of the information and conversations in Washington, in addition to talking about the state industry’s direction and what we’re looking forward to in the legislative session. Colorado issues include:
- Fuel-efficiency tax credits
- Sales tax issues
- Franchise relationships
- Motor Vehicle Dealer Board
- CADA services, including educational seminars and workshops
- CADA’s new association management system
- Clear the Air Foundation
At each of our stops, we also unveiled CADA’s newest program - a proactive initiaitve working with Eric Hartsough,a former Auto Industry Division investigator, who was engaged in August to field consumer calls regarding issues or disputes with CADA members. This is a service CADA has provided for over ten years—in the interest of helping ensure dealers understand compliance obligations when disputes arise and to help resolve disputes before a state complaint is filed whenever possible. The CADA Board, in its strategic planning session, recommended CADA hire someone for this task to release more resources for other association priorities.
Each of these meetings were very well attended and we were please with the outstanding dealer participation. In fact, at several of our stops we had 100 percent attendance.
I hope you’ve already made a note on your calendar to attend the 2015 CADA’s The 101 Annual Meeting and Gala at the iconic Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs on Friday, November 20th from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The DEAC (Dealers Election Action Committee) President’s Club will gather at the hotel on the evening before the annual meeting. While it takes time from your business, the annual meeting is a value-added proposition since we’ll be talking about many topics affecting our industry and our businesses while also having a chance to get to know our fellow dealers better. Plus, the staff has made an outstanding effort to get interesting and compelling speakers. Among them will be Jonathan Sandys, Winston Churchill’s great-grandson, discussing “How to Lead Like Churchill.”
I’m looking forward to seeing everybody there.
Thom Buckley, Chairman
Colorado Automobile Dealers Association