CADA returns from Washington D.C.

Dear Member Dealer:

After a whirlwind few days in Washington, D.C. the CADA Board of Directors, two Next Gen dealers, staff, VIPs and spouses are back in Colorado. CADA’s Project D.C. has become an annual ritual: we journey to Washington, D.C. for our September board meeting, conversations with Colorado’s congressional delegation members and the NADA Washington Conference. It’s an incredibly valuable (and fun) few days.

We arrived in Washington on Sunday and had dinner followed by a terrific moonlight cruise on the Potomac River that gave us great views of the Kennedy Center, Roosevelt Island, the Lincoln Memorial, Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial… the whole cityscape of Washington, D.C. It was pretty neat! Monday we had a tour of Virginia’s Civil War battlefields, including the Manassas National Battlefield Park where the First Battle of Bull Run took place. Our tour guide was great and we saw and learned a lot.

That evening we had a cocktail reception for our VIPs – our endorsed providers – at Mastro’s Steakhouse.

Our two Next Gen dealers, Whitney Medved Rink (Medved Autoplex in Castle Rock and Wheat Ridge) and Jared King (King Buick GMC, Loveland and King Buick GMC Chevrolet in Longmont), got an early start. They attended special NADA meetings designed just for Next Gen dealers. Their program on Monday and Tuesday with speakers and a briefing on the Washington, D.C. legislative scene tailored just to them, as well as information on how best to interact with their Congressional members that included mock Congressional meetings.

The Board had its September meeting on Tuesday morning. We decided to postpone discussion on legislative priorities until a meeting scheduled October 27 in Denver to review our organization’s 2017 legislative priorities.

The NADA conference began Tuesday afternoon. As usual, we had a dynamic lineup of speakers, including:

  • Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He talked about tax reform – a very important subject for all of us!

  • Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Member of the Financial Services Committee. She’s a supporter of dealers and said she’s always been treated fairly. She talked about efforts to reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and NADA’s work in this area.

  • Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator – Office of Air and Radiation. She discussed CAFE restrictions and how the EPA is working with NADA on meeting the CAFE standards going forward.

  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, the committee that oversees the CFPB and auto lending. His opinions on SB-2663, which would give us the latitude we need to continue providing the best financing option for each of our customers.

  • Charlie Cook & Amy Walter, political analysts for the Cook Political Report, who gave us their take on the current national political landscape, what we can expect with the upcoming election and what will happen next year in Congress.

Tuesday night we had an excellent turnout at our reception with the GOP Congressional Caucus. The opportunity to sit down and have drinks and dinner with our legislators in a social setting was a really great experience.

Wednesday afternoon was devoted to visits with our Colorado Congressional delegation on Capitol Hill. We broke into two teams with one group visiting Sen. Cory Gardner, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Congressmen Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman. My group visited Sen. Michael Bennet and Congressmen Scott Tipton, Ed Perlmutter and Ken Buck.

Our agenda included three issues in particular: 1) Support for reforming the CFPB; 2) opposition to what we consider overboard recall bills because all recall issues are not equal and don’t all affect the safety of the vehicles; 3) Support for repeal/changes in the LIFO tax including our hope that efforts to tax LIFO reserves, which would affect dealers’ working capital, will be squelched.

I was very pleased that we were able to meet face-to-face with Sen. Michael Bennet. It was the first time we’ve been able to do that and I thought the meeting was positive. He’d been mentioned in the NADA meeting as someone with whom it was important to emphasize our positions. A lot of what we talked about with all of the legislators was not particularly groundbreaking information. CADA does a really good, ongoing job of making sure they know where dealers stand. But talking to them in person is beneficial because when anything comes up on our issues they already know us. We have their names and numbers and can get their ear on those issues.

I wanted to recap the August 29th CADA Annual Member Golf event that wasn’t. We were all ready to go, sitting in our carts at the U.S. Air Force Academy Eisenhower Golf Club’s Blue Course, when we were called back inside because of reports of lightning and hail in the area. We tried to wait it out but the radar map indicated that the storm probably was going to hang around. So, we enjoyed lunch and had our raffle drawings and then everybody went their separate ways. The folks at the course were kind enough to offer us all passes to play a round sometime in the next year and Lucky Hegges from our title sponsor, EKS&H, volunteered to have his company return as next year’s title sponsor. So…no golf, but for the first time, CADA made a profit!

By the time you read this, the first of our “16 in 16” CADA regional meetings will already have taken place in Hesperus for members in the Durango/Cortez/Hesperus area. We made the decision to hit six additional destinations this year in the hope that there will be greater participation throughout the state. We have a very big year coming up in Colorado, and I believe our grassroots efforts are going to be more important than ever to make sure legislators in Colorado know our priorities. Please turn out for the meeting in your area. Each meeting (listed below) will include a meal.

  • Craig/Steamboat Springs – Wednesday, Sept. 28, 8 a.m., Rex’s American Bar & Grill, Steamboat Springs
  • Silverthorne – Wednesday, Sept. 28, Noon, Keystone Resort, Keystone
  • Boulder/Broomfield/Superior – Wednesday, Sept. 28, 5:30 p.m., Flagstaff House, Boulder
  • Longmont – Thursday, Sept. 29, 8 a.m., The Egg & I, Longmont
  • Loveland/Ft. Collins/Greeley/Windsor/Ft. Lupton – Thursday, Sept. 29, Noon, The Ranch (1st National Bank Bldg.), Loveland
  • Denver/Englewood/Littleton – Thursday, Sept. 29, 5:30 p.m. La Sandia, Lone Tree
  • Montrose/Delta/Gunnison – Tuesday, Oct. 4, 8 a.m., Camp Robber Café, Montrose
  • Grand Junction/Delta – Tuesday, Oct. 4, Noon, Bookcliff Country Club
  • Glenwood Springs/Rifle/Meeker – Tuesday, Oct. 4, 5:30 p.m., Hotel Colorado
  • Colorado Springs/Canon City – Wednesday, Oct. 5, Noon, Antlers Hotel
  • Pueblo/Trinidad/Alamosa/Salida – Wednesday, Oct. 5, 5:30 p.m., Pueblo Country Club
  • Denver/Thornton/Aurora – Thursday, Oct. 6, 8 a.m., The Aurora Summit Steak House
  • Denver/Golden/Lakewood – Thursday, Oct. 6, Noon, Mimi’s Café (The Lodge)
  • Yuma/Wray/Sterling/Julesburg/Limon/Burlington – Thursday, Oct. 6, 5:30 p.m. 4th & Main Downtown Grill, Wray
  • Denver – Friday, Oct. 7, 7:30 a.m., William D. Barrow Bldg. (CADA Headquarters)

Please register online at www.colorado.auto or by email at RegionalsRSVP@colorado.auto.

See you soon,

Fletcher Flower, Chairman
Colorado Automobile Dealers Association