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RIP Steve McDonald

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Steve McDonald, Vice President of Government Affairs for SEMA, passed away September 26 at the age of 56. Over the last 20 years, Steve was instrumental in promoting and expanding SEMA’s government affairs missions at the state and federal levels.

Steve helped create the SEMA Action Network (SAN), as well as the State Automotive Enthusiasts Leadership Caucus, a nonpartisan group of over 700 lawmakers with a shared love for automobiles. He drafted model state legislation covering issues like vehicle titling/registration, exhaust noise, inoperable vehicles, altered height and nitrous oxide and played a key role in passing of the federal replica car law and industry efforts to enact the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act.  

Throughout the auto industry, he was known for being a loyal friend with a wry sense of humor and a fierce dedication to his work.

Before joining SEMA, Steve was a government affairs consultant for the Redding Firm, where he helped serve advocacy needs for a divergent client list. A former U.S. Department of State staffer, he served as a legislative assistant for a prominent Washington D.C.-based law firm, where he helped represent trade associations and business groups. He attended the Ecole Internationale de Geneve in Geneva, Switzerland and earned his degree in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland College Park.

The son of Vincent C. McDonald and the late Ann Noel McDonald, Steve is survived by his brother Vincent T. McDonald (Natalie), Kerry M. D'Ascoli (Gerry), John K. McDonald (Kristin); and Kelsey, Norah, Gerry, Noelle, Jack and Annie. He will also be remembered by his fiancée, Manya Petropaki, and devoted friend Marley.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Living Beyond Breast Cancer (, 40 Monument Rd., Suite 104, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004.