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Opinion

Let Freedom Ring … or, Text?

Time to tell your congressional reps, “Text me.”

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Amy Antenora has been reporting on the automotive aftermarket since 2002.

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Spring has sprung. Finally! Living in Northeast Ohio at this time of year – to me at least – signifies freedom, reopening, renewal. It feels especially so this year, as mass vaccination clinics pave the way for the reopening of businesses, schools, cultural and sporting events – life in general.

For those of us in Northern states, the weather is improving too (and I’m very, very happy to get my many pairs of sandals and flip-flops out of storage!). With the weather getting warmer and the economy starting to reopen, I expect we will see more Americans hitting the road as well, after more than a year of being cooped up, for the most part.

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Getting to drive with the windows rolled down (and the radio cranked up) as the weather gets warmer feels like a glorious luxury. Hitting the road, whether for your daily commute or a longer road trip, is a quintessential freedom. And it is one we should not take for granted.

Not only should we take care of our cars and take the rules of the road seriously, for the sake of our safety and others, but as those of us steeped in the automotive aftermarket know, there’s another aspect of being a vehicle owner that we need to pay close attention to. 

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We need to take the right to repair our vehicles where we choose, and the right to have access to our vehicular data, very seriously. This is a freedom that can easily slip through our fingers if we are not careful and if we do not speak up.

Fortunately, we have some excellent resources here in the aftermarket to turn to, such as the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association and Auto Care Association. These two associations strive to make it as easy as possible to stay informed and engaged.

In March, at its annual Vision Conference, AASA launched a very cool new asset in its advocacy platform for members: texting. Members simply text the word REPAIR to 52886 and immediately receive access to information on making direct contact with elected officials, such as inviting policymakers to your facility, telling legislators how policy changes impact your business and more.

A screenshot from the AASA Vision Conference showing the location of members who signed up for the new text feature.

So far (at the time that I write this), AASA says the new text feature has netted more than 100 industry advocates, who have reached out to roughly 75 congressional offices in 22 states, using various methods of communication, including email, text and social media. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Time to tell your congressional reps, “Text me.”

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