Back to Driving Force, Summer 2018


Golden State Warrior

California Senator Ted Gaines Fights the Good Fight


  California state Senator Ted Gaines (center) recently visited SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California. He is pictured with SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (right) and Mike Spagnola, SEMA Vice President of OEM and Product Development.

California state Senator Ted Gaines is a lawmaker who understands the pure passion of the automotive hobby. He’s a member of the SEMA-supported State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus, a regular attendee at the SEMA Show, and a committed off-road enthusiast.

Before becoming a Senator, Gaines served in the State Assembly from 2006–2011. He began his public service in local government as a member of the city of Roseville’s Planning Commission and was then elected to the Placer County Board of Supervisors.

As a small-business owner who has operated a successful family insurance business for more than 30 years, Gaines knows firsthand the effects of overbearing government regulation. That’s why he has worked to simplify government and has been a tireless advocate for California’s businesses and families.

He also has quickly become a reliable ally for the automotive hobbyist community. As recently as the 2016 legislative session, Gaines introduced legislation to exempt all motor vehicles prior to the ’81 model year from the smog-check requirement. Current law requires the lifetime testing of all ’76-and-newer model-year vehicles. He recognized the minimal impact of older vehicles on air quality and acknowledged that these cars constitute a tiny portion of the vehicle population, are overwhelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven. Unfortunately, after passage in two committees, the bill failed to gain final approval by the full Senate.

Gaines sees the SEMA Show as a great opportunity to meet and collaborate with other legislators and industry leaders. Through these connections, he’s been able to gather information and then fashion solutions that will benefit his constituents and the state of California.