As D.C. Flirts with Another Shut Down, Dealers Stay Focused

Chairman's Blog: Mike’s Message 09/13/23

Small business owners don’t always see eye-to-eye with big government. We have different goals, different values, and a different work ethic. Never are those distinctions more on display than when Congress starts its now semi-regular dance of ‘will we or won’t we’ shut down.

It's no longer a surprise when Democrats and Republicans engage in a down-to-the-wire debate over budgets, switching arguments with each other as easily as they slip in and out of the Congressional majority. One side suddenly cares deeply about spending. The other side suddenly cares passionately about the military and crucial government services. They are so principled that they cannot possibly compromise and are forced to shut down the government entirely. Meanwhile, most Americans only notice any of this is happening when the trash cans stop being emptied in national parks.

It’s tiresome, it’s juvenile, and it’s not worthy of this great country.

As the chairman of AIADA, I find this conduct from Congress especially annoying as it reinforces the impression a lot of dealers already have about our lawmakers: That they are not serious people. That it’s better to avoid them than to engage with them. I understand where those dealers are coming from, and why they’d prefer to spend their energy at their stores rather than as advocates in D.C., but I take a different view.

When our country is as deeply divided as it is today, and when the political norms of debate and compromise are forgotten, it is vital that we step up to protect our businesses, our customers, and our employees. We can no longer count on Congress or the White House to be sensible and make coherent policies that benefit most Americans. In Washington, special interests have the microphone, and we need to ensure that the concerns of our stores and customers aren’t being drowned out. Without our voices, consistently and clearly speaking up for our industry, our stores are in real danger.

Recently, I was on Capitol Hill for an event with our sister association, NADA. Being on the Hill, and meeting with both legislators and advocates for our industry, I was reminded that our system of government, while imperfect, is still the best the world has to offer today. Our lawmakers may not always get it right, but on the individual level most of them are striving to represent their constituents fairly and vigorously. I am grateful to have these opportunities to see our democracy in action, and it’s something I wish more dealers could see for themselves.

Being an advocate for your stores doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t even mean you have to come within 50 miles of Washington, D.C. You can start today by setting up a visit with your representative at your dealership. It’s by far the simplest and most effective way to let a lawmaker see the reality of our businesses, meet with your employees, and gain a better understanding of what dealers need from Congress. Get started at

Now is the perfect time - it looks like lawmakers might have an unscheduled vacation coming up.

Mike DeSilva
AIADA Chairman

Chairman's Blog: Mike’s Message

AIADA Chairman Mike DeSilva offers up a dealer's perspective on the 2023 auto retail industry.