All Politics is Local
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of meetings with elected officials from all levels of government.
First, the NVCC hosted a meeting with U.S Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (okay, technically she's not an elected official.) Ms. Warren spent nearly an hour with a group of local business people sharing her reasons for entering the race and how she wanted to help small business. We hope to have Senator Scott Brown attend a future meeting with chamber members.
The following week I had an opportunity to travel to Washington DC with 25 other people representing Chambers of Commerce and business owners from throughout the Commonwealth. Our agenda was packed with informational meetings and visits with our state delegation. We met first at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce across from the White House. U.S. Chamber staff briefed our group on three major business-related issues that were in play on Capitol Hill: Transportation Policy (the Chamber-backed two-year surface transportation reauthorization was approved by Congress last week,) Health-Care Policy (a presentation on how different scenarios could play out based on the then pending Supreme Court decision) and Labor Policy (updates on the NLRB's encroachment into labor policy, particularly regarding unions.)
We then headed to the American Petroleum Institute (API), one of the largest trade associations in the country, representing companies in the oil and natural gas business. They provided an extremely informative overview of U.S. energy policy and naturally, spoke of the tremendous reserves of oil and natural gas that sit untapped beneath us. Enough to make the U.S. energy independent in about a dozen years.
Armed with all this information we then set off to meetings with Senator Kerry's office, Senator Brown, Congressman Lynch and Congressman Keating (folks from other parts of the state met with their respective Congressmen.) Our meetings with our legislators allowed us an opportunity to have face time in a small group and present our issues and concerns directly to our government leaders. (I would also like to thank NVCC Board member, Pierce Haley of Serlin Haley, LLC for sponsoring our group's dinner in Washington.)
The night after returning from DC, the NVCC hosted its second annual Legislative Reception at the Endicott Estate in Dedham. Here we hosted several state and local officials and provided business people the opportunity to make connections with them in an informal setting.
Finally last week I met with the Regional Working Group which is includes Town Managers and Town Planners from Canton, Dedham, Norwood, Walpole and Westwood. We meet quarterly to discuss common regional issues, economic development projects and share ideas and best practices in municipal government.
So how does all of this benefit you and your business? To me, it's all about relationships. The more that we, the business community, can build positive relationships with our government leaders at all levels, local, state and federal, the more effective we can be in working with them on our behalf. By participating in all of the above activities we not only get to know our officials, but we also become more knowledgeable on the issues. Additionally we can become a resource to them when they need to know what's important to business people. We all know that job creation is the number one issue for politicians today. Who better to help them understand what's needed to create jobs than the local business community? We look forward to continuing to offer you opportunities to engage with our government leaders throughout the course of the year and I encourage you take advantage of them.
Finally, the NVCC Legislative Committee is seeking you members. If you have an interest in getting involved in a meaningful way, please let me know.
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