Acting as the voice of Springfield business in the state Capitol
January through May is the busiest time of the year in Jefferson City, as lawmakers and state leaders debate laws and policies that will affect Missourians for years to come.
It’s also a busy time for the public affairs staff of the Chamber; they’re in the Capitol each week, advocating on behalf of members for the issues in our State Legislative Agenda to help make our region and our state an even better place to grow business and create high-paying, quality jobs.
In addition, we’ve had several opportunities so far this year to connect legislators and decision-makers with Chamber volunteers and leaders of the Springfield business community. These connections and conversations are critical in ensuring that the voice of businesses is heard as important decisions are made in the General Assembly over the coming weeks.
Some of those connections were made right here in our offices at our Legislative Luncheon in January, where lawmakers representing our area had the chance to hear from our volunteer leadership about the issues most important to the Chamber for 2020: funding for education and transportation infrastructure, continued investment in workforce development, improving the state’s legal climate, and enabling legislation to allow Springfield to ask its citizens for a hotel-motel tax increase to fund tourism capital projects in our community.
But our leadership has made several trips to the state capital as well this year:
- In late January, the Springfield Metro Partnership held its annual lobby day in conjunction with its Salute to Legislators event, advocating for the shared priorities of all 10 member organizations.
- The partnership also held its first of two breakfast events in the capital in mid-February to touch base with legislators and hear about potential progress on important legislation.
- The Executive Committee of the Chamber’s Board of Directors also made its own trip to Jefferson City in early February to reiterate the importance of many of the same issues, including education and workforce development.
Our volunteer leaders say they can see the effect their efforts are having.
“We come up to Jefferson City as one cohesive, collective voice that is consistent with the legislative agenda approved by the board,” said Brad Erwin of Paragon Architecture, who serves as treasurer on the Chamber Board for 2020 and has made several trips to the state house. “We have the recognition from policy makers as an effective group, which I’ve seen at both lobby days, and we truly get to be a show of force of what our community supports and stands behind.”
For Christina Angle of Erlen Group, who serves as the Chamber’s vice chairman of economic development, her first trip to visit legislators made an impact on her as well.
“Being in Jefferson City gave me a better appreciation of the complexity of the process,” she said. “I was grateful for the opportunity to provide lawmakers with perspectives from the business community that they may not be hearing otherwise.”
While there is a long way to go in the legislative session, rest assured that Chamber staff and volunteers continue to work hard advocating for a wide range of issues that will help our region continue to thrive for years to come!