• September 2018

Careful process determines advocacy positions

By Debra Owen
Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce

Your Chamber is an effective influencer in the arena of advocacy for all levels of government: city, county, school, state and federal. Our team regularly attends local government meetings, along with having "boots-on-the-ground" for the legislative session. At the federal level, the Chamber is a convener of conversations between our members and our Congressional Delegation. Recent examples include the Inside Washington lunches held this summer and the Washington D.C. fly-in in the early part of September. We keep our members informed about our advocacy efforts through the weekly publication of the Chamber Advocate, which also includes our podcast.

It is a privilege to serve as the voice of business on behalf of our members. Our advocacy efforts often place the Chamber at the center of public policy issues and allow us to be a partner in shaping the future of our community.

Our advocacy is member driven. The Issues Management Council (IMC) bears the responsibility of making recommendations to the Board of Directors on a myriad of public policy issues. The IMC is comprised of more than 40 individuals representing a variety of local businesses and industries. They meet monthly and have recently been deeply engaged in the review of the Sioux Falls School Bond and the November ballot measures. Their work is challenging as they carefully analyze the impact of public policies on our business community.

In the coming months, IMC will review our policy statements and our legislative platform for the 94th Legislative Session. Our policy statements act as guiding principles for the chamber´s advocacy efforts and do not change dramatically from year-to-year. Currently, these statements include the following areas: quality of life, taxation, development incentives, business climate, education, infrastructure, environment, government, tourism, housing, workforce, diversity and business development. You can find these statements on our website at siouxfallschamber.com under the Advocacy tab.

Our legislative platform discussions typically involve more extensive modifications from year-to-year. These focus on specific issues that are time sensitive and will likely serve as an advocacy directive prior to the start of the legislative session. Though IMC evaluates and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors, it is the Board that ultimately reviews and makes the final determination of the Chamber´s position on all related policy matters. This would include the statements, the legislative platform, the school bond referendum and the November ballot measures.

As you can see, through meaningful member engagement, our advocacy efforts are thoroughly member driven. All this is necessary to ensure that our advocacy efforts support the overall mission of your Chamber and helps to prepare us for the upcoming election and legislative session.

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