2017 is an opportunity for you to make your mark in Advocacy, and the Chamber will provide many ways for you to do so this year.
Many will probably remember 2016 as the year they’d like to forget in politics. No matter which side you found yourself on in the election, you’re probably happy to bid adieu to all those Presidential debates and the minute by minute election coverage. (Except for the SNL skits; can we keep those?) On December 31st, you rang in the New Year, prepared to leave all the things of 2016 in the past, determined to press into a new year with a renewed sense of purpose. One thing to add to your New Year’s resolutions this year is to purposefully get involved in Advocacy.
Now, you might find yourself wanting a break from politics. And actually, that’s not really what we’re asking you to get involved in. We’re asking you to engage in policy. There’s a difference.
Whether you’re excited with the changes coming to our Statehouse and Washington, or you’re disappointed, it’s more important than ever to take an active role in shaping policy. At the Chamber, we provide many opportunities to engage in policy and develop deeper relationships with your elected officials. Here are some ways for you to get involved in 2017:
- Sign up for our weekly updates. We send out updates every Friday on what’s going on at the Statehouse, and how legislation is shaping up that affects the business community. We try to keep these updates easy to read, jargon-free, and skimmable. We know that you’re busy running your business, and you don’t always have time keep up with what’s going on in Columbia. Our weekly updates will help keep you informed.
- Get involved in an Advocacy committee. We have 5 issue-based committees here at the Chamber that you can get involved with: 1. Business Advocacy, 2. Environmental Issues, 3. Healthcare Issues, 4. Transportation Issues, and 5. the Small Business Policy Council. Each of these committees includes updates of what’s going on in their respective areas, and is great way to get plugged in to an issue. You’re also likely to run into a member of the legislative delegation or City or County Council. If you’d like to know a little more about one of these, please email me.
- Respond to calls-to-action. Throughout the legislative session, we sometimes send out calls-to-action asking our investors to take action in making a phone call or emailing their representative about a certain issue. We do this when a piece of legislation that you told us is critically important to the business community needs help getting across the finish line. Your calls and emails are important. It takes five minutes but could save your company money, provide you a stronger workforce, or improve our community. Responding to our calls-to-action gives you a way to directly influence policy.
- Attend Upstate Chamber Coalition day at the Statehouse and other events we have throughout the year. Our third-annual UCC day at the Statehouse is a perfect opportunity for you to meet with legislators, see the legislative process up-close, and hear from our state’s leaders on policy. We also have many other events throughout the year for you to learn about public policy and meet with political leaders from around our state and country.
- Become a candidate. We always say that the best way to pass pro-business legislation is to have pro-business legislators in office. This year the chamber will host two different level candidate schools, known as The Upstate Political Leadership Institute, where you can learn the nuts and bolts of running for office. The 201 course will be offered in the spring, and the 101 course will be offered in the fall. If you’d like to know more about these classes, feel free to reach out to me.
Even though some of the above opportunities may seem small, just making a phone call to a legislator can have a much bigger impact than you may think. For more information on the Chamber’s Business Advocacy efforts and how to get involved, please visit our website.
Katie Busbee is the Director of Legislative Affairs at the Greenville Chamber.