Chamber Creates Roundtable to Champion Issues Important to Business
One of the essential ways the Chamber delivers on its mission is by being actively involved in political/regulatory conversations that affect the ability of local businesses to be competitive and successful. In this arena, we seek first to be a source of information, both for our businesses and for those who make decisions that affect businesses.
The Chamber actively monitors proposed legislation and regulatory decisions and comments when appropriate to ensure decisions made by government or other community organizations are well informed as to the impacts they will have (for good or ill) on the ability of businesses to operate successfully. Additionally, the Chamber regularly distributes alerts on proposed legislation/regulations that will affect their operations and/or the general business environment.
As part of regular strategic planning activity, the Chamber’s board determined that the organization would benefit by having a more structured process in place to guide our work. A task force was appointed to review ways to strengthen the Chamber as an advocate for business needs. Two key recommendations were developed and presented to the board, which approved moving forward on both.
Public Policy Platform
The first recommendation is for the Chamber to develop a formal policy platform. This document, which will identify key business and economic issues and define the Chamber’s positions for each, will serve as a guide for staff and Chamber leaders when they need to speak on behalf of the organization.
“Frequently, issues arise and are acted on by public agencies outside of the normal operating timeline of the Chamber’s board,” explained board member Ron Cossa. “The Chamber staff are approached regularly to comment on legislation or proposed regulations. We need to have a set of pre-established policy positions to use as a guide for determine when to speak and what to say on behalf of our members.”
The board task force will review sample platforms from other Chambers in our region and reach out to subject matter experts on a wide range of topics to draft a document specific to the Santa Maria Valley. The goal is to complete a draft for the board to review by the end of the first quarter of 2019.
The second recommendation was to establish an ongoing forum for business leaders to interact with public/community leaders to discuss issues and potential solutions. The roundtable, which will be open to Chamber members to attend, will regularly engage with local and regional public sector leaders to get updates on the issues they are working on, and to provide feedback and recommendations about solutions that would be supported by the business community.
“We want to work with our elected and appointed leaders to create the best Santa Maria we can,” said board member Laurie Tamura. “Having a regular forum to share concerns, feedback, and solutions will help us arrive at solutions we can all support in a more efficient and collaborative way.”
The Chamber is working with key local agencies to determine the best way for the Roundtable to operate and will be inviting applications from Chamber members interested in participating after the first of the year.
“We believe that the Chamber will be most effective in advocating for our members when they are actively involved in creating our policy positions and providing feedback on new ideas/proposals,” explained Glenn Morris, president & CEO. “We encourage all chamber members who have an interest in this effort to contact the Chamber and get involved both in creating the guiding principles document and in ongoing engagement with our public sector partners.”