There is no business that is not impacted by government on a daily basis, whether it be local, state, or federal . Being the “Voice of Business” is an important value of Chamber Membership. Few institutions influence the economic development of a municipality more overtly and forcefully than local, state and federal governments. Our “public-private partnerships” have become a model for the Southeast. However, it requires continual active engagement to ensure that we maintain and enhance the partnerships. There are proper roles for the private sectors and also for the public sectors.
The Chamber’s role is to take care of business and work with the public sectors to ensure that it happens. Whatever it takes, short of illegal, unethical or immoral means, the Chamber will always stand for the needs of its members and the business community. We will find a way to develop a “win-win solution” if at all possible.
Our Chamber is both the promise and the platform. We promise to work tirelessly to keep open the lines of communication between the business community and the government. And when industry and policy seem irreparably at odds, we are the platform when a stand needs to be taken. We are all in this together. And we need all voices to be heard. Join the Chamber and let’s start the dialog.
1. Lobbying Services, Georgia State Rep. Calvin Smyre @ Georgia General Assembly
The Chamber’s lobbying efforts on behalf of the business community could be its most under-appreciated benefit. In its role as advocate, directly influencing decisions made by legislators and officials in the government, the Chamber’s lobbying efforts help assure that the voice of the business community is heard loud and clear.
It can be a dog-eat-dog world, this business of business. Especially when the laws and regulations that govern business seem to shift like a weathervane in a breeze. If a business is to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate how to negotiate the ever-changing landscape of local legislation, they’re going to need someone in their corner doing the leg work, an advocate to act on their behalf.
Our Chamber is made up of players from all sides: business leaders, legislators, and the lobbyists who mediate between the two. With appropriate sides represented, which means when your business raises its voice, the Chamber knows the channels to ensure that it is heard and addressed. When it comes to special interests, there are none more so than yours.
2. All 4 Inc, Tony Ownes @ all4inc
In today’s regulatory climate companies must continually navigate the ever-changing environmental regulations that impact their business. The Chamber continues to be a great resource and advocate for its members by alerting them to new regulations, and in many cases, positively influencing proposed regulations. The Chamber works very diligently and deliberately to keep our Valley Area ‘environmentally attractive’ to existing and potential companies.
Sometimes when one thinks of the government, it is easy to forget who actually works for whom. There is a sometimes painful disconnect between the governing and the governed. The Columbus Chamber of Commerce has been involved in governmental affairs just about as long as we’ve had a government, so we know there needs to be an awfully big table to seat every interested party to make the big decisions and analyze public policy.
As a Chamber member, you have a seat at that table, where you will be briefed on important information regarding policy propositions and offered an opportunity to add your expertise and experience to the debate. No one truly understands how policies will affect the public more so than a well-informed public itself. And a well-informed public puts the government to work for us all.
3. Political Liaison, Fred Rowell @ Fred’s Tire Service
The Chamber played a key role in helping us get fair value for our property when TSYS constructed their downtown campus. Working on our behalf, the Chamber negotiated with the Columbus Housing Authority and helped us close the sale and transfer process in less than six months. Thanks to the Chamber, we were up and running in our new location with a minimum of hassles.
It’s been said that, “all politics is local.” That may well be the case, but that hardly makes it any easier to get face time with our elected officials. They are, after all, shouldered with the great and many expectations of the electorate and their time is limited. That makes it all the more important to provide you and your business with a direct line to our government. p>
For our region to flourish, your voice must be heard. The Columbus Chamber of Commerce is your bullhorn, the eyes, the ears and the faces in the political arena. Your chamber membership provides you with a liaison to help your company put the government to work for you.
4. Mediation Station, Carole Rutland @ RiverWay South
Linking citizens with a common cultural heritage throughout the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint watershed requires finding the major stakeholders in all 72 counties spread over 19,000 square miles. The Columbus Chamber of Commerce Mediation Station worked with RiverWay South, our non profit organization, to provide those vital connections to insure the preservation, protection, and promotion of our irreplaceable resources.”
Great expectations carry with them the possibility of great disappointment. In the business world, it is not uncommon for two parties previously believed to have been on the same page suddenly realize they are in fact reading different books. Two options then arise: either come out of pocket for a team of business lawyers and hold the next meeting in court, or call in a dispassionate, trustworthy third party to help mediate the debate.
The Columbus Chamber of Commerce can provide you with just such a service. Our Mediation Station is the ideal venue for both sides to air your concerns and grievances in a neutral and less confrontational setting. We all share the same goal: to be successful. And at the Chamber, we know that cooler heads not only prevail, they also keep your options open and your legal fees down. So, rather than ratchet up the rhetoric, join the Chamber and let us help you reconcile any soured business relationship.
5. Issue Management, Terry Smith @ AT&T Georgia
When I wanted to be sure the Georgia General Assembly heard and understood the importance of pending legislation, the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce stood with me. Their support of public policies that encourage investments and attract jobs benefits the city of Columbus and all of Georgia.
The Chamber does not support candidates but does actively support the issues. It is difficult to please every one but the Chamber has a process working with committees and task forces that determine the issues and has a process for moving the issues through the organization to ensure that it gets addressed properly. Sometimes it may be as simple as providing the information on impact or it make be a very detailed study and report that is needed to recommend the action steps that need to be developed and taken.p>
The Chamber’s batting average on issues that need to be addressed is excellent…..not perfect but its demonstrated history and impact can not be discounted.