Representative Josh Byrnes was a political novice when he decided to run for a seat in the state legislature in 2009. “Our state was suffering due to bad budget decisions, and I made the decision to act and get involved,” he remembers. “I placed my name on the ballot and won! It has been a great experience, and I have met some wonderful people who are now lifelong friends.” Unfortunately, for the citizens in Iowa’s 51st district, he’s decided to retire from the legislature at the end of the current session. Car enthusiasts in his state will also lose a fierce advocate.
Josh grew up in Riceville, Iowa, and graduated from Luther College, earned a Master’s Degree from Winona State University, and is currently completing his doctoral work at Iowa State University. He was a high school teacher for several years and also served as a college administrator. He and his family currently reside in Mitchell County where they maintain a small cow herd, raise gourds and play ball on their diamond. Over the years, Rep. Byrnes has been involved in several efforts to support auto hobbyists. (Read more)
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Pete Kodz is a proud member of the Connecticut-based Classic Nights Car Club. In addition to popular weekly cruise nights, the group has hosted a myriad of other events that include benefit car shows, family picnics, ‘50s dances and parades.
Pete Kodz’s lifelong passion for four-wheeled machines began around age twelve. “I started by drawing cars and Ed Roth-style monster drawings, which I still do,” explains Pete. “I was also reading magazines like Car Craft, Rod & Custom, Rodding and Restyling and others.” His father was a car guy and had a 1946 Mercury 2-door sedan at the time. When it was time to trade it in for a new vehicle, he begged his dad to hold onto the car. “He said I was too young to have the Merc and there was no place to keep it.” However, in 1965, he asked his dad if he could pick out his next car and take ownership once when he was done with it. “Together we ordered a 389 c.i. Pontiac GTO and took delivery of it on St. Patrick's Day 1965. He loved driving it during the muscle car era.” The GTO was used as a daily driver by his father until the mid ‘70s, when Pete acquired it. Eventually, he will pass it down to his son.
Kodz and his wife have been members of the family-oriented Classic Nights Car Club since being asked by his best friend to join in 1984. He’s held the position of public relations director on and off over the years. He regularly photographs the Classic Nights’ weekly cruises to post on the group’s website: www.classicnights.com. “Our club has been holding the longest continuous-running cruise in Connecticut,” Pete states. “The cruise nights started in the town of Monroe at a hamburger stand called Ligouri's and eventually outgrew the location. We moved to Village Square Shopping Center where we could fit a couple hundred cars and continued to get a variety of automobiles.” These gatherings attract families from throughout the community. “The kids have an opportunity to learn about these rolling works of art by speaking to the owner, all of whom enjoy answering questions about their rides. My club members and I hope this will spark an interest to pursue the hobby and carry on our automotive history.”
Recently, Pete and his fellow club members were among those who supported legislation to require the state, upon the owner’s request, to issue titles for older vehicles not currently required to be titled under Connecticut law. “The SEMA Action Network (SAN) was instrumental in bringing the opportunity to our attention,” relays Kodz. “Prior to this bill, my state was a ‘no title state’ for automobiles older than 20 model years old.” In a victory for car enthusiasts statewide, the proposal was signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy. The new law expands the out-of-state market for older Connecticut motor vehicles and enhances their value to collectors. “We are lucky to have an institution like the SAN to keep us abreast of legislation like this that can affect owners of classic, antique and special interest automobiles.”