2020 ALL STAR | PUBLIC POLICY
Colorado Automobile Dealers Association
In February, Tim Jackson mobilized franchised dealers in Colorado to lobby lawmakers against a bill that would have allowed automakers that build electric vehicles to sell them directly to consumers.
If the bill was adopted as written, they argued, it would allow brands that have franchised dealerships to compete directly with dealers’ stores.
Dealers showed up to testify at a legislative hearing and followed that with a letter-writing campaign that one state senator said resulted in “a whole stack of FedEx packages” from retailers across the state.
It ultimately led to a compromise that allows an automaker to own, operate or control one or more dealerships if it “manufactures only electric vehicles and has no franchised dealers of the same line-make in this state.”
Jackson, CEO of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, called the effort his group launched around the EV bill “a fire drill.” Most of the time, he said, its approach is more grassroots.
The association and some of its member dealers regularly meet over meals with policymakers to build relationships — an average of 60 times a year, Jackson said. The conversations are meant to be an introduction to the franchised dealership model.
Since September, Jackson’s association has been working to hold 100 such meetings, in person or virtual, in 100 days — an effort, he said, to continue in its advocacy role during the pandemic.
Building relationships with lawmakers is critical before a bill that would affect dealerships is on the table, he said.
Of the EV bill, Jackson, 63, said: “It really, I think, demonstrated the activism that the dealer community can bring together when there’s a threat facing them.”