Keeping abreast with national and state laws and issues is a much easier task than tracking many of the smaller items that go through local city councils, but these items can affect businesses just as much as the larger issues.
To help Jefferson …
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To help Jefferson County businesses know which local governments are considering legislation that could affect them, the West Chamber recently created a local governments affairs committee.
“The (LGAC) committee was established to help our members keep an eye out for things that are being proposed in cities that could affect them,” said Joni Inman, chair of the Chamber’s board of directors. “It can be difficult for small businesses to know when something is coming up since they’re so busy.”
Bert Waisanen, the chair of the committee, has a background in public policy and when he heard that the chamber was starting the group, he volunteered to put his skills to use.
“We want to encourage a positive business environment, and create something that isn’t necessarily industry-specific,” he said. “We want to be able to have a broad perspective, identify important issues and study them.”
Both Inman and Waisanen said that while the committee will not be political or take any standing on any of the issues it studies, it can make recommendations to the West Chamber board about a possible stance the board may want to take.
According to Inman, the way the committee will work is it will take a look at city council agendas and if there is anything of interest, it will investigate and decide the best way to share the information.
“The primary purposes here is information,” she said. “It is not the role of the committee to step in with issues between businesses and local governments.”
The committee is still in the early stages, but Wiasanen said there will be around nine people on the board. He also said the committee will use the West Chamber website, email and meetings to share the information it has gathered about the issues being studied.
“We want to provide our businesses a forum to come together and inform them on how these issues are developing,” Waisanen said. “It builds a better policy and creates better collaboration and communication.”
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