This week, Rep. Roger Williams was been selected by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association as the winner of the first NIADA Legislator of the Year award.
The award will be presented annually to recognize a member of Congress for dedicated service to the automobile industry. The inaugural award was presented during a rooftop reception Tuesday evening as part of NIADA's National Policy Conference.
That Williams has long been a supporter of the used vehicle industry should come as no surprise. The Texas Republican is a dealer himself, having owned and operated a dealership in Weatherford, Texas for more than 40 years — and his father, Jack, owned it previously.
As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, Williams has led the charge for tax reform as well as reforming the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and repealing the CFPB’s rule prohibiting arbitration agreements with class-action waivers.
He is also a member of the Congressional Auto Caucus and has fought to protect the interests of the used vehicle industry and small business since winning election to Congress in 2012.
"When our industry needs a strong voice and action in Congress, he is always there,” NIADA chief executive officer Steve Jordan said. “We appreciate him. We appreciate his leadership.”
In addition to the award, Rep. Williams was presented with a contribution of $4,995 from the NIADA PAC fund.
NIADA-PAC also made contributions to Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.), Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) during Tuesday’s Friends of the Auto Industry Congressional Member Reception and Dinner at Capitol View at 400.
“My family has been in the used-car business for 79 years,” Williams said. “And this is still the greatest industry you can be in. When 9/11 happened, the first industry President Bush reached out to get the economy going again was the car dealers, new-car dealers and used-car dealers. ‘Can you do this, and can you do that to keep the economy going?’ And we did. We can all be proud of what we do.
“I’m also proud of what you’ve accomplished the past couple years in getting involved politically. Our industry is constantly under attack, and it’s got to be defended,” Williams went on to say.
PAC Cup competition raises record $94,250
In other association news connected with this week’s event, more than $90,000 was contributed to the NIADA-PAC Fund in the 2017 PAC Cup competition.
Region II — the Southeast — again claimed the prize and remains the only winner in the four-year history of the annual fundraising competition.
The PAC Cup competition pits the association's four regions in a competition to raise the most money for the NIADA Political Action Committee Fund between the NIADA Convention and Expo in June and the National Policy Conference.
Between them, the four regions contributed a record $94,250 to the PAC fund, breaking the mark set in 2016 by almost $15,000.
NIADA-PAC was created to enhance the association's mission to promote and protect the interests of the used-vehicle industry and NIADA’s dealer members nationwide. NIADA-PAC supports Congressional members and candidates who seek to protect this vital industry and keep the economic engine of small business running strong.
“Regardless of who wins the Cup, we all win because we're all in this together,” Jordan said. “These contributions are vital to giving independent vehicle dealers an important voice in shaping the policies that affect our industry and our businesses.”
Region II, which includes the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, raised $37,650 in contributions to the NIADA-PAC Fund to retain the trophy, which was awarded during a rooftop dinner Tuesday night at Capitol View at 400.
Region II's total held off a push from Region III (Midwest), which raised $24,750. Region I (Northeast) was third, followed by Region IV (West).
As always, the competition came down the final minute, with dealers from all four regions making contributions during the annual PAC Cup dinner Tuesday, trying to push their region over the top. More than $74,000 was contributed during the conference, which began Monday.
“This year, I really felt we had our backs to the wall,” Region II vice president Billy Graham said. “I saw some big contributions coming in from some of the other regions. But our people from all of our states just doubled down and went to work. They all did a great job and in the end we came through.”