Kathy Van Kleeck has worked at the Motorcycle Industry Council for 30 years. She and her staff are the MICs main voice in Washington, DC. Before this position, Van Kleeck held several jobs in the MICs government relations office. As vice president, she is responsible for providing overall direction for the MICs government relations programs including developing and implementing legislative information programs for the MIC, MSF and SVIA member companies. She also reviews proposed state and federal legislative and regulatory actions and advocates the associations positions to legislators and regulators.
In your position with the MIC, what is your biggest challenge?
Prioritizing where to concentrate our efforts and instantly addressing whatever issues may emerge. In many cases, we dont set the agenda. Our day-to-day agenda is many times set on an hourly basis by which bills are introduced each day, which of them need the most immediate attention and which have the greatest potential to affect the industry for good or ill. Legislatures dont halt their proceedings to wait for MIC input and state legislation can move through the process very quickly, so if were not constantly monitoring the thousands of new bill introductions and immediately preparing our comments, the opportunity to influence the outcome is lost.
One of the greatest challenges facing our industry is maintaining and expanding off-highway vehicle riding opportunities. Not only does this obviously affect the ATV and off-highway motorcycle side of the business, but is of significant value to the entire industry, both OE and aftermarket, since off-road riding is a primary pathway to the on-highway side. It attracts kids to motorcycling and is a key way to bring more women into the sport.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment professionally?Setting up a system of discovery, analysis and corresponding action plan to address our members government relations needs so that they can feel confident that their interests are being protected and promoted and they can focus their attention on running their businesses. Additionally, providing a wide range of information services for our member companies, including legislative and regulatory reporting and compilation of comprehensive reference materials.
What one thing should the motorcycling public know about your job or the side of the industry in which you work?
The majority of government relations isnt the lobbying#8221;that the public thinks of. Its not back room deals and fundraisers (at least not for MIC). Its a lot of grunt work – investigating, reading, maintaining contact with staff and lots of research to be able to provide accurate and reliable information to both sides – our member companies and state and federal governments that would seek to regulate them.