Member Profiles: Four Questions with Mary Graham
Mary Graham, CCE, Vice President of Public Policy at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the Government Relations Division Advisory Team at ACCE. She has moderated GR workshops at the ACCE Convention, and is also a past president (twice) of the Council on Community and Economic Research (ACCRA).
Here are four questions with Mary Graham.
ACCE: How did you get started in chamber work, and what keeps you in the industry?
Mary: I started my chamber career in economic development at the Raleigh Chamber. I was specifically focused on economic data and market research. I've only been on the public policy side of chamber work for the past 6 years.
I enjoy the work because every day is different. While some issues are constant, there are always new challenges to take on. In chambers, there is never a dull moment.
ACCE: What policy issues are currently occupying your time?
Mary: Issues associated with regional planning such as land use, growth management and infrastructure development are big for us right now. Of course the economy and the upcoming elections are a top priority for everyone.
ACCE: What are the biggest challenges your chamber/community currently face?
Mary: Obviously the economy is biggest challenge. State and local budget projections are down which means schools and other important government funded programs are at risk. Businesses are worried about credit. If you'd asked that question three weeks ago the answer would probably have been different.
ACCE: Finish this sentence. Never again will I ...
Mary: Never again will I put something in writing that I wouldn't want on the front page of the paper. That applies to e-mail too! Its an old adage, but one I learned the hard way.
Look for more GR Division Member Profiles in the Clearinghouse Update e-newsletter and the Policy Clearinghouse Blog.