TRAA’s 2020 Legislative Action Workshop

It was a beautiful day in Washington, D.C. when I landed March 10, 2020. I was excited about the week to come and curious about what I would experience. TRAA had some of the top towing elite arrive in town to attend on Wednesday. The week began with a “Legislative Action” workshop featuring Congressman Jim McGovern and the Tremont Strategies group, Chet Atkins and staff.

Tremont Strategies, overseen by Chet Atkins, came on just over a year ago to work as the lobbyist for TRAA. Chet Atkins was the youngest ever to be elected to the House of Representatives in 1970. In 1972, Chet was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate and has chaired the Ways and Means Committee. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the table to ensure that all towers nationwide are having their voice heard!

Chet Atkins’ staff briefed us all on the importance of having a unified mission when meeting with legislators. He said a good strategy would be to know our talking points, educate when needed, remember to thank them for their work, and most importantly ask them for their support, so our voices may be heard! The staff worked diligently to ensure that all the Thursday meetings with legislators set for TRAA and owners were kept.

We were then greeted by Congressman Jim McGovern. Jim was elected to the House of Representatives in 1996 and in 2001 took a seat on the House Rules Committee. Jim had attended last year’s meeting and had a great understanding for our industry.  He is a man that not only listened, but acted, and I can say he has a heart for our industry and towers. Over the next few days, Jim McGovern, while working on passing and funding the coronavirus bill, made many trips back and forth from the Capitol for us. He would just come and sit down and have dinner to make sure our needs were being met and our appointments were being kept assuring our visit would be successful.

Thursday morning, the day of our meeting with legislators, became an interesting day to say the least. All of Washington began to implode with threats of the coronavirus, and people started filing out of the Capitol and leaving D.C. first thing that morning. Tremont Strategies staff burned up the phone and ensured that as people left Washington in droves, that our meetings, all but a few, were kept.

“On a day filled with chaos fueled by fears from the coronavirus, towers along with the key members of the TRAA board met with 24 plus legislators from 12 states to voice their needs and concerns for the towing industry.”

Topics discussed with legislators were:

  • Support for federal “Move Over” Law efforts
  • Support passage for the Drivers Safe Act
  • Hours of Service
  • Amending Regulations that limit a tower’s ability to respond effectively on the interstate system.  (The 2015 Fast Act attempted to do this; however, the language need to be clarified.)

TRAA submitted and supported the changes to 23 U.S.C. 127, so that the new language used to clarify this bill for towers would be included during the next highway bill reauthorization.

On a day filled with chaos fueled by fears from the coronavirus, towers along with the key members of the TRAA board met with 24 plus legislators from 12 states to voice their needs and concerns for the towing industry. The afternoon following meeting with legislators was topped off with a 2-hour legislative open house. Speakers that attended were: Representative Anthony Brindisi, Representative Chris Pappas, and Representative Cindy Axe. All three representatives listened to the concerns and fears offered from our towers, TRAA, and Auto Return’s Jon Borowski. They all explained that they have a better understanding of our wants and needs and pledged their support to help pass bills that will serve and protect our industry.

I also learned this week about the specifics of what it takes to turn a bill into law; it is a long extensive process that takes working back and forth with your legislators and their staff. This past week (whether you were a member of TRAA or not) the TRAA, along with key tow company owners, voiced your needs and concerns directly to your state legislators. I must say, if you are not involved with your state legislators and a member of your state association, you are backing up! It is hard to complain about what is going on in your industry when you have not registered your voice. If you are not a part of your state association, join and be active. I also recommend joining your national association and taking part in next year’s legislative workshop. The only way to make change is by stepping up and putting in the work to do so. The most rewarding part is seeing it happen; your name will be remembered as not just another worker in this industry, but a leader that strived to make changes that would positively affect this industry for years to come!








If we are going to change minds and change perspectives on our industry, we must get involved. You men and women are the professionals; who is better to have their voice heard than you? So, let’s get active on the local level and national level with our associations. Next year, I would love to see all 50 states represented by a constituent and meetings being held with all legislators. This is how you make change–by being active, so make your voice heard!