LEGACY OF LEADERSHIP
With More Than 700 members, State Legislative Caucus Continues to Thrive
In its daily efforts to promote and protect the auto hobby, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) continues to partner with state lawmakers from across the country through the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles.
Supported by SEMA’s Government Affairs office in Washington, D.C., the Caucus has been instrumental in raising the motor vehicle hobby’s profile in the state legislatures and in the eyes of the public. Working in state capitals, these legislators are frequently called upon to oppose overly restrictive legislation that seeks to prohibit vehicle modification and proactively protect the hobby by improving existing motor vehicle statutes and creating new programs to safeguard and expand it.
Legislative Front Lines
SEMA SAN Strike Force
Each July, Bob Stearns celebrates Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD) at the Auburn Cruise Nite. He is pictured here (third from right) with event staff holding a copy of the U.S. Senate Resolution recognizing CCAD. The Friday cruise happens monthly and is located in downtown Auburn, California. This year’s attractions included a dragster display in addition to several hundred collector vehicles.
Bob Stearns of Newcastle, California, has been a car enthusiast since high school. He graduated in 1962, having already studied auto mechanics at a local trade school in Denver, Colorado. Around that time, Bob built a 324 c.i. Olds engine for a 1949 Chevy. "While I was in U.S. Navy boot camp, my dad sold the car and engine for a $100," Stearns lamented. "Needless to say, I wasn't too happy." After four years of active duty, he met and married his wife Carol. They have been involved with the car hobby in the years since. In fact, they both raced stock cars for nine years in Colorado. Their vehicle collection includes the following: 1919 Model T Depot Hack, 1928 Chevy Sedan, 1928 Ford Roadster, 1948 Chevy Coupe, 1951 Chevy Sedan Delivery, 1956 Nash Metropolitan, 1955 Chevy Sedan Delivery, 1956 Chevy Bel Air, 1962 Chevy Nova Convertible, 1970 Chevelle SS and a customized Hybrid Hemi-powered 2005 Dodge Magnum. Bob says his favorite cars are the 1948 Chevy Coupe, complete with a Corvette TPI engine, and the 1962 Chevy Convertible, which he's owned for 22 years.
Stearns has been involved with legislative issues affecting the collector car hobby since joining the Association of California Car Clubs, Inc. (ACCC) in 1996. He has served as the group's legislative analyst, vice president and president. The many long hours spent at the state capitol testifying on behalf of the ACCC and car enthusiasts throughout California has been educational. "There have been many pro-hobby California legislators and regulators, including lawmakers counted among the SEMA-supported State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus," states Bob. "I have great appreciation for their support." The long-time SEMA Action Network (SAN) member says the nationwide force has been instrumental in helping keeping car enthusiasts on the road in California and all the other states. In fact, he regularly discusses his passion as co-host of the Cruisin Garage radio program on KAHI 950 AM, based in Auburn, California.
Your continuing dedication to hobbyists in the Golden State is applauded, Bob. Stay on the throttle!