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Government Advocacy Town Hall celebrates “yes” vote on Right to Repair

Nov. 6, 2020
With the recent grassroots advocacy success in Massachusetts, panelists encouraged audience members to reach out to legislators and invite them to their places of business.

The Government Advocacy Town Hall on November 4 celebrated the overwhelming “yes” vote on Massachusetts Right to Repair that will preserve the right of vehicle owners to have access to and control of their vehicle’s mechanical data necessary for service and repair at the shops of their choice.

Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association, reported from Beacon Hill in Boston, Massachusetts, as he welcomed the virtual Town Hall audience and credited the hard fought win, in large part, to an extensive grassroots effort of 1,600 independent repair shops.

“My thanks to the entire industry, and to the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE), O’Reilly Auto Parts, AutoZone, NAPA and Advance Auto Parts, as well as LKQ, Dorman, the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA), and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA),” said Hanvey.

Town Hall panelists celebrating the victory included: Aaron Lowe, senior vice president, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Auto Care Association; Ray Pohlman, president, Coalition for Auto Repair Equality; Michael Borr, president, Allied Auto Parts; Tommy Hickey, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee; and Rich Benoit, owner, Electrified Garage, Salem, Massachusetts.

“We won by 75 percent to 25 percent, which is an incredible accomplishment,” said Lowe who has spearheaded the campaign for many years. “Now vehicle manufacturers can come to the table to work with us on how to implement it, as it needs to be done by model year 2022. We want this to be a national effort and take what we did in Massachusetts to benefit the entire nation.”

Paul McCarthy, president of AASA, which partners with the Auto Care Association on Right to Repair, added his congratulations to the industry. “Consumers have spoken and they know they should have a choice,” said McCarthy. “Our industry fights for the future of the aftermarket and for our customers.”

The Town Hall also included a second roundtable discussion to anticipate “What the Election Results Mean to Our Business.” Panelists included Ann Wilson, senior vice president, Government Affairs, MEMA/AASA; David McKinney, vice president, Government and Community Relations, AutoZone; Ian P. Musselman, senior vice president, Government Affairs, LKQ; and Auto Care’s Lowe.

Panelists discussed headwinds going into the rest of this year, including tariffs, trade issues, and workforce training and development, as well as key pieces of legislation pertaining to infrastructure and transportation.

With the recent success of the grassroots advocacy in Massachusetts, panelists encouraged audience members to get involved and make their voices heard by reaching out to legislators and inviting them to their places of business.

“When talking to legislators, no one knows your business better than you,” McKinney said. “Tell your story, be brutally honest that you add more jobs, create more value, and enhance your neighborhood.”

Panelists emphasized importance of building on the momentum of the Massachusetts win through a national approach and announced that Auto Care, AASA, and other coalitions have developed legislative language that protects competition and consumers’ right to choose. Plans are to introduce a new bill to Congress early in 2021. More details will be announced as the bill progresses.

To watch the full Government Advocacy Town Hall discussion, visit the AAPEX website.

AAPEX 2021 will return to the Sands Expo and Caesars Forum Conference Center in Las Vegas, Tuesday, November 2 through Thursday, November 4.