On January 23, I attended Chamber Day in Richmond for the first time with Scott Pedowitz, Kate Bates, and several of my fellow Chamber members. We joined with fellow business leaders and numerous Chambers of Commerce for a day of outreach to our elected officials on business issues. This day was a great opportunity both to see the policy process unfold while the legislative session is underway, and to experience first-hand the Chamber’s activities in building awareness of business issues among legislative representatives in our state capitol.
Like many in the DC region, I have a background in policymaking, but I had never seen the dynamics of a statewide policymaking body “in action.” After lunch, we attended the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee hearing on the Amazon incentive package, which provided me with an opportunity to hear from legislators from other parts of the Commonwealth, and from other constituents. This discussion broadened my understanding of the distinctive challenges that state lawmakers face as part of a deliberative decision-making body. Both during the Amazon hearing and on the panels earlier in the day, several elected officials emphasized the importance of taking the perspective of what’s best for the Commonwealth, as a frame for listening and weighing all sides of proposed legislation.
Finally, the Chamber delegation spent time visiting each Arlington representative for the balance of the afternoon. The legislators and their staff members asked about our concerns, and spoke about issues they are monitoring on a local, regional, and state level.
We concluded the day with a networking reception hosted by the Virginia Chamber and attended by more than 250 business and government leaders.
Chamber Day was an excellent experience, and I hope you’ll consider joining us for Chamber Day 2020.