Congratulations, Graduates! Former State Lawmakers Take Residency in Nation’s Capital

The start of a new a Congress brings the promise of new opportunities. The slate is wiped clean and all legislation must start from scratch. As a result of the November 2016 elections, many new faces have arrived in Washington, D.C. A total of 52 first-timers were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and seven in the Senate, including a couple of lawmakers with a history of supporting the automotive community.

Newly elected U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (Indiana) and Rep. Ruben Kihuen (Nevada) have brought their four-wheeled ties with them from state legislatures. Each were members of the SAN-supported State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus.

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Don Fillman’s 1955 Chevy B-210 Coupe is shown here at its first cruise night. Not long after this shot was taken, Don was forced to drill two holes in the front bumper in order to comply with the state’s front plate requirement.

Sandich, Massachusetts resident Don Fillman recently wrote his state lawmakers in support of a license plate bill which would allow vehicle owners to choose whether or not to display a front license plate. The legislation also gives the option to display a decorative plate to the front of a vehicle. As the owner of a 1955 Chevy B-210 Coupe, Don has firsthand experience with how such a law would benefit car collectors. “I had to drill two holes in my original front bumper to comply with current state law,” he told his legislators. “When vehicles like mine were produced, they did not have front plate provisions. I feel that vehicles not designed for a front plate should not be required to display one.” He is hopeful that the bill will soon receive committee consideration and begin moving through the legislature.

Don has a time-tested passion for the auto hobby. Even as a child he always loved older cars, such as his father’s 1955 Ford Crown Victoria. Fillman was fully hooked once he saw the film American Graffiti as a youth. In fact, he once came across a 1958 Chevy that was parked in a yard and made the owner an offer. Despite worn primer gray paint and deteriorated chrome bumpers, the offer was declined. Undeterred, Don vowed to one day have his own ‘50s cruiser. Prior to the B-210 Coupe, he owned a string of pickup trucks outfitted for fishing the beaches along the East Coast. Campers and other modifications were made on each. “No matter the kind of vehicle, I always make it my own,” Fillman confesses. “Someday, I’d like to claim a 1932-34 Ford coupe—just love their lines.”

We’ll keep a watchful eye on the single plate bill together, Don. Many thanks for weighing in on the issue with your elected officials. 



Stay Up-to-Date on the RPM Act: Get the latest information on the motorsports bill at sema.org/epa-news.


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SEMA SAN Driving Force, Spring 2017