by Lisa Greiner
Chamber Board President
There is a saying in the Chamber industry that “if you’ve seen one chamber, you’ve seen one chamber.” However, since the first Chamber of Commerce was formed in France in 1599 there is one thing they all have in common – advocacy.
This week’s Chamber Chatter comes from me as the Board President letting you know that the Chamber Board is proud to have recently approved our 2022 Collaborative Advocacy Engagement Strategy. This strategy puts a structure in place that provides local governments, businesses, and the community with clear focus areas where they can expect to see the Chamber’s engagement.
The Chamber has established the five priority focus areas to determine how and when we engage in public policy and candidate races:
- Workforce Development
One of the biggest challenges facing local businesses as we emerge from the pandemic is workforce development and securing a pipeline for the next generation of employees. Many of our industries are faced with an aging workforce, limited access to students entering the workforce, and a reduction of opportunities for the future workforce to become aware of the opportunities in our community.
- Regulation & Taxation
The Chamber supports a fair and equitable tax system that stimulates growth, innovation and job creation while minimizing compliance costs and administrative burdens on businesses. The Chamber also supports sound regulatory systems that allow for businesses to operate free of undo hardships. Land use regulations should support economic development and regional vitality. Good stewardship of public funds is essential to our local economy operating efficiently.
Tillamook County is facing a severe shortage of affordable housing units. Our community’s housing shortage is multifaceted and has been exacerbated by the number of people moving to Oregon, higher construction costs, inadequate infrastructure, and land-use regulations restricting the creation of housing units. The Chamber is committed to working with local government and community partners to create missing middle workforce housing in our community.
The Chamber supports investment in an efficient, sustainable, and well-maintained transportation system, which is vital to the health of our region’s economy and environment. We will monitor and advocate for transportation services that enhance community livability and support regional economic development including, efficient public transit, multi-modal transportation, and responsible transportation system planning.
- Economic Development
The Chamber supports state and local government investments into programs and projects that spur on economic development within the region. This includes the protection of funding sources such as lodging taxes, lottery dollars, and urban renewals being applied to economic development within Tillamook County.
It does not escape me that you may still be asking “why is our local Chamber involved in politics?” The answer is simple – our membership. The Chamber membership is made up of diverse local businesses, non-profits, and agencies. In several years’ worth of membership surveys, advocacy shows as high importance to them. On the most recent Chamber membership survey, the following percentage rated these areas as high importance:
84% – The Chamber INFORMING AND EDUCATING members about issues, opportunities, and problems affecting the business community
75% – The Chamber REPRESENTING the interests of businesses with the government on issues that affect the business community.
78% – The Chamber being a champion for business friendly, or opposing negatively impacting, PUBLIC POLICIES.
54% – The Chamber supporting business friendly CANDIDATES for public office (recruit, endorse, etc.).
In the same survey, we received positive feedback when asked “How does the Chamber do in these areas?” We know we cannot represent the interest of each and every member of the Chamber, however through this Board-approved strategy, the Chamber is making an intentional effort to provide a transparent and clear focus on why we make the decisions we do regarding public policy and candidate engagement. If you are interested in our full strategy, you can find it at tillamookchamber.org/collaborative-advocacy