• December 2018
  • A PUBLICATION OF THE SIOUX FALLS AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
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Policy statements guide Chamber advocacy

Each fall, Chamber volunteer leaders and staff work together to develop a state legislative platform to guide advocacy efforts for the upcoming legislative session. One of the first pieces in the process, since 1993, is to review and edit the Chamber policy statements. Updated in the fall, the policy statements serve as the foundation for all the Chamber's advocacy efforts and guide activity throughout the year.

A counterpart to the policy statements is the Chamber's legislative platform. While the platform undergoes significant changes each year in response to the issues being brought forward, the policy statements represent a set of core beliefs rather than specific actions or initiatives. The Chamber's policy statements can be found on the Chamber's website under the advocacy tab at siouxfallschamber.com/policy-statements.cfm.

While policy statements do not undergo significant rewrites on an annual basis, they are reviewed each year. Statements are edited for context and, in some instances, outdated sections are removed. Occasionally new sections are added to reflect emerging issues or topics that will likely live beyond one annual cycle. Again, policy statements are an attempt to describe what the Chamber believes; not specific actions planned in the advocacy realm.

As they stand today, the Chamber's policy statements include the following section titles: Quality of Life; Taxation; Development Incentives; Business Climate; Education; Infrastructure; Environment; Government; Visitor Industry; Accessible Housing; Workforce; Diversity and Inclusivity; Business Development; Agriculture; and Health Care.

Diversity and Inclusivity reflect our efforts to welcome new people to Sioux Falls who come here legally and want to work together to build a better community as they pursue their dreams. It also addresses concerns about discrimination that would negatively impact our economic viability for business recruitment, sporting events and tourism. It reads as follows:

Diversity and Inclusivity

The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes the growing diversity of our population in Sioux Falls and South Dakota. We embrace the opportunities that this diversity provides for a culturally and talent-rich community. We will work with citizens, our partners, community and state agencies and elected officials to develop efforts to engage and include all populations into our city and state. We will also resist initiatives which inappropriately sanction or discriminate against individuals or groups.

The two most recent additions focus on agriculture and health care. Some people may have the misconception that chambers of commerce are only interested in taxation or regulation types of issues, but that could not be further from the truth. The Chamber has an extensive advocacy portfolio built on the premise that it supports business, human and community development across a broad spectrum of issues. The new sections read as follows:

Agriculture

The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes the current and historic importance of agriculture in South Dakota and its valuable economic contribution to our economy. The Chamber supports efforts to enhance the regional, national and international competitiveness of the local agricultural industry, including bio-based renewable fuels, products and biotechnology.

Government regulation of the agricultural industry, whether, local, state or federal, should be based on clearly stated objectives supported by sound economic, scientific data that demonstrates a clear connection between the regulation and the objective. Every reasonable effort should be undertaken to enhance the competitive marketplace for local agricultural interests while maintaining reasonable and responsible environmental protections and practices.

Health Care

The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes that overall health and wellness is crucial for our community and workforce. The Chamber endorses a health care agenda that supports health care providers, educators and organizations that comprise a large and important part of the greater Sioux Falls area's economy. The Chamber further recognizes the ever-increasing cost of health care for businesses and supports efforts to reduce the overall cost while maintaining strong and vibrant health care systems and providers that meet the needs of employees and consumers.

At the heart of the Chamber's advocacy efforts is a belief in fostering a robust and growing economy where businesses have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. There is no attempt to advance one business model over another–the competitive market is where this needs to play out. The Chamber seeks to develop Sioux Falls as a great place to live, work and play and believes that the foundation of a great community is excellent educational offerings to support children, young adults, adult and lifelong learners. It is important to encourage analysis and debate of issues that impact the entire community. The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce partners in these efforts with government entities, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the Sioux Falls Sports Authority and individual businesses to achieve mutually beneficial goals.

The Chamber's purposefully developed advocacy efforts begin with policy statements. Members are encouraged to review them, as they serve as the foundation of much of the Chamber's activity.

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