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Stop Hugging Elected Officials. Start Holding Them Accountable

ACCE Webmaster on Monday, May 19, 2008 at 12:12:00 am 

Publishing a vote record on your elected officials is one of the most important tools a chamber government affairs program can provide the business community. Your chamber's vote record is the only public link between your position on proposed laws and how your elected officials voted on those potential laws.

If you do not keep a vote record, you are not holding your elected officials accountable for their votes and how those votes impact the businesses you represent.

Most people think raising money and playing politics is an elected official's job. Not true. Elected officials have one primary responsibility: to vote. Your chamber, therefore, has a responsibility to hold elected officials accountable to your business community by comparing their votes with your positions.

Many other organizations hold the same elected officials accountable to the people they represent, maybe that is why they get more of what they want and you get less of what you want.

- Shaun Lumachi, President, Chamber Advocacy

For more information about Chamber Advocacy, click HERE.

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Chamber Government Affairs Programs that Work

ACCE Webmaster on Friday, May 2, 2008 at 5:00:00 pm 

Each year, at every level of government, policy is enacted that affects the business community. As the representative of the business community, chambers of commerce are responsible for having an active voice in the creation and implementation of such policy. Ask yourself this question: was our chamber at the table? You must answer affirmatively.

It is incumbent upon a chamber of commerce to have an active and effective government affairs program to add value to membership.  Moreover, it is imperative that a chamber of commerce drive policy, not simply watch as policy is created. 

There are four fundamentals to creating a program that will bring the necessary level of advocacy to your chamber.  They are:

  1. Local, regional, statewide, and national public policy development.  Having a well developed policy platform from which to advocate is crucial to effectively driving public policy.
  2. Actively track issues that impact you membership. Creating a system to follow every development regarding pertinent policy issues is paramount.
  3. Expand your reputation as a respected advocate.  By establishing a policy platform and actively monitoring the issues affecting your membership  your presence in the community will be heightened.  Become the “expert†on issues.
  4. Creating a membership that is aware of how the political process impacts their business.  Communication with your membership is vital to the success of your program.

An effective government affairs program should motivate your members to engage in the political process and impact issues, legislation and elections. Creating grassroots activism is the goal for any program. To educate and mobilize your grassroots base, each of the preceding fundamentals are vital.

“Government affairs,†“policy platform,†and “grassroots advocacy†may not be the sexy buzz words that typically motivate your membership.  They are, however, the key to protecting your member’s from onerous policy that could directly impact their ability to grow their business and create jobs.

- Shaun Lumachi, President, Chamber Advocacy

For more information about Chamber Advocacy click HERE.

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