Thank You, Representative Travis Clardy!

by Burl Richards, ABAT President

Anything can change in the blink of an eye. Last month’s primary election certainly demonstrated that when nine Republican incumbents in the Texas House of Representatives lost their races to challengers, while another eight incumbents headed to runoffs. It was a record-breaking primary – in all of Texas’ history, this is the largest number of Republican incumbents to lose their seats.

There were many upsets in the race, but the one that touched me (and ABAT) personally was what happened in the House of Representatives election in District 11. Travis Clardy lost his race to Representative Joanne Shofner, who ran as a “Conservative Republican.” 

Travis Clardy has been my representative for the past 12 years since he was first elected to the House in 2012, but our relationship goes deeper than that. Shortly after ABAT got started in 2014, we hired Travis as the association’s attorney, and at one of our first meetings, he spoke about his role as a state representative and the process of introducing legislation. Over the years, he has attended many meetings and participated in many of our trade shows to help educate repairers and also to learn more about our industry so he could better advocate for us. 

Since ABAT decided to get involved in the legislative process in 2017, Travis has always had our back, sponsoring every piece of legislation we’ve put forward and helping us promote the need for safe repairs for all Texans as well as the importance of mandating Right to Appraisal. He took the time to get to know us, our industry and our concerns. Travis never had a problem standing shoulder to shoulder with collision repairers in our fight to protect Lone Star consumers from the greedy insurance companies that want to under-indemnify and harm them. 

So, yes, Travis Clardy has been my representative for over a decade, but more importantly, he has become my friend and a friend to our industry. I’m truly sorry to see him leave this position, and I’m going to miss his support greatly. I cannot thank him enough for everything he has done to support ABAT, the Texas collision repair industry and our legislative efforts over the years. 

I don’t know our future District 11 representative yet, but I reckon I’ll be getting to know them soon, and I hope that they’ll be as supportive of their constituents as Representative Clardy has been.

As I already mentioned, Travis was not the only incumbent to lose his race; lots of districts experienced this type of huge shakeup, so as ABAT starts gearing up for the next legislative session, we need to be prepared for all the new faces we’re going to encounter at the Capitol. We will need to invest more time and energy into educating these new legislators on our industry and the things that affect our businesses. We must forge new relationships. 

Doing all of that requires us to truly understand not only ABAT’s legislative initiatives but also the Texas laws currently impacting our shops, and we want to help educate YOU so you can educate your legislators when the time comes. Make sure you’re paying attention to what the association has scheduled because we regularly hold webinars and meetings where we’ll discuss these important matters. And you definitely want to head to Irving on July 12-13 for ABAT’s Texas Auto Body Trade Show where I’ll be presenting a class focused specifically on Texas repair laws (take a look at the full training schedule on page 16). 

You do NOT want to miss the 2024 iteration of the original auto body trade show in Texas; it just gets bigger and better every year as your association finds new ways to better support YOU and your business! I look forward to seeing y’all there!

Want more? Check out the April 2024 issue of Texas Automotive!