Since first joining the Chamber team nine years ago, I have felt fortunate to be a part of an organization with such a strong culture of genuine, unwavering care for the well-being and success of our members. When taking the helm of the Chamber in 2014, I was determined to drive these efforts on behalf of our members even further, which is why one of my greatest ongoing goals has been to increase the Chamber’s advocacy efforts – a task that I have executed in partnership with an outstanding Board of Directors and Government Affairs & Economic Development Committee.
Why does this matter? It matters for many reasons:
- Arlington is unique in that we have what is known as a 50-50 real estate tax base. What this means is that approximately 50 percent of assessment revenue is commercial and 50 percent is residential. This is much more skewed to the commercial side than it is for our neighboring jurisdictions. That means that no matter what local resources are important to us individually – whether it be our great Arlington Public Schools system, beautiful parks and trails, libraries or our social services safety net – we need all of our local businesses to be doing well in order to put Arlington on a path to success and to fund those additional efforts to benefit our community. This is the message that I consistently deliver when speaking to community groups. It’s an important one, and we appreciate our members helping to continue to spread the word.
- Business is vital to the success of our community. This broad statement encompasses the jobs generated by a large company just as much as it includes the placemaking created by our retail shops and restaurants. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are crucial to the fabric of our community. As I described in my ARLNow column, Arlington has begun to take steps to become more business-friendly. We are proud of the great amount of progress made in the last year, but we still work to push the needle even further.
If you are a Chamber member interested in these issues, we strongly encourage you to get involved. Chamber policy positions are drafted by our Government Affairs & Economic Development Committee before being presented to our Board of Directors for adoption. All members are welcome to participate in this committee, which meets the first and third Wednesdays of each month.
Just yesterday, we had the majority of the Arlington delegation to the Virginia General Assembly join us for an interactive conversation about important policy issues that impact our community. Opportunities like this give our members direct access to key decision makers who play a key role in driving policies that affect them and their businesses. A number of members have told me how they’ve learned more about Arlington by coming to these meetings over the course of a few months, than they knew from years living in the county. We hope that you will join us and help us continue to champion our local businesses.