Got Work?

Mick Fleming on Friday, December 30, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

From my frequent conversations with your friends and peers since Labor Day, it has seemed that most of you have been hard at work for months to ensure 2012 success.  Whether through the ‘creative writing’ of modern budgeting, or through thoughtful (ruthless!) chamber program evaluation, I think all of you are well into the New Year already.

We’ve got a lot of work to do in 2012.  The economy may or may not continue to recover.  The election may or may not produce dramatic policy changes.  Greece and the Euro may hinder your work, or not.  The weather?  New energy discoveries?  Rival organizations?  Consumer attitudes?  Helpful(?) mayors and editors?  Seismic disturbances?  Supreme Court decisions?  Whatever comes at you or your members, you’ll deal with it.  Chambers always have and always will.

I am enormously grateful that you will be there for ACCE, your members and the regions of North America in the important year to come.  And, I hope you’ll call on us for help when you need ideas, connections and opportunities.  Onward in 2012!


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Iowa Compact

Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

On Tuesday, Dec. 13 The Greater Des Moines Partnership helped launch the Iowa Compact focusing on uniting a diverse group of statewide partners to call for smart immigration reform. Utah, Indiana, and Maine have launched similar initiatives. Chambers in all 4 states have been key leaders in these efforts. The event has garnered significant national attention.

The Iowa Compact follows a pre-made cookie cutter format that can easily be replicated in the 46 states that have yet to create a compact.

New Poll: Iowa Republican Likely Caucus-Goers Support Immigration Reform

About the Iowa Compact

Press Coverage:

How the First Caucus State is Offering a Sensible—and Popular—Solution on Immigration Reform

The Gazette (Editorial): Find middle ground on immigration
December 14, 2011

Des Moines Register: ‘Enforcement-only’ immigrant efforts could hurt Iowa economy, especially farming, say leaders
By Donnelle Eller
December 13, 2011

Salt Lake City Tribune: Iowa launches immigration compact similar to Utah’s
By David Montero
December 13, 2011
Modeled after The Utah Compact, which was signed a little more than a year ago by key business, religious and political leaders, The Iowa Compact features similar language and goals. Lori Chesser, chair of the Iowa Immigration Education Coalition, ...

Quad City Times: Iowa group release initiative for stronger immigration policy
By Michael Wiser
December 13, 2011
She also serves as a chairwoman of the Iowa Immigration Education Coalition, a group that conducts research and provides briefs on immigration issues. “A lot of the detailed discussion still has to take place … we want to corral that debate. ...

Radio Iowa: Group calls on federal lawmakers to handle immigration reform
By Dar Danielson
December 13, 2011
A bipartisan group of business, law enforcement and religious leaders have formed what they call the “Iowa Compact” in a push for immigration reform. Members of the group spoke today on a conference call about the five key principles of the compact. ...

Public News Service: Local Leaders Sign "Iowa Compact" for Immigration Reform
December 14, 2011

Des Moines Register: New bi-partisan Iowa group calling for “smart” immigration reform
By Jason Clayworth
December 12, 2011

Des Moines Register: Group: See immigration as positive for economy
By Donnelle Eller and Jason Clayworth
December 12, 2011

Tags: Immigration, Iowa Compact, Utah Compact

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Best Wishes to Dick Fleming

Ian Scott on Friday, December 16, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

At the end of this month, one of the most accomplished figures in the profession and our association is stepping down. When Dick Fleming came to St. Louis in 1994, the chamber had an annual budget of $3 million, no cash reserves and a meager economic development program. Now the Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA) has a $10 million annual budget, healthy reserves, a robust multi-year ED funding campaign, a seasoned professional staff and a full range of regional economic development and national marketing activities. 

Here are just some of the awards, accolades and accomplishments for RCGA under Dick’s tenure:

· Twice named by Site Selection Magazine as one of the Top Ten Economic Development Organizations in North America.
· Chamber-led center city revitalization effort helped stimulate nearly $5 billion in new downtown area investment.
· “Perfectly Centered, Remarkably Connected” regional brand won the Public Relations Society of America’s top national award for non-profit branding.
·  Development of the region’s transportation infrastructure including metro light rail and a new Mississippi River bridge.
·  Multiple ACCE Communications Excellence Awards for St. Louis Commerce magazine and other RCGA publications

One could also mention their bi-state regional public policy coalition Forward Metro St. Louis, the new downtown sculpture garden, mixed use development around  Busch Stadium, the cluster supporting Coalition for Plant and Life Sciences and it's incubator/lab space CORTEX, establishing St. Louis as a hub for China Eastern Air Cargo, and on and on...

Dick raised the bar for the St. Louis region, but also for ACCE. Few individuals have done more for the association in its 100-year history, and nobody has done more over the past decade. Dick stepped in to chair the organization in 2005 after leading the Metro Council. He also took on the lion's share of our fundraising efforts in 2002. He continued his role in resource development throughout his association involvement. He was a champion of ACCE's expansion into economic development concerns, and helped the association link up with new allies including the Climate Prosperity Project and Partners for Livable Communities. As chairman of our affiliate, the Alliance for Regional Stewardship, Dick helped establish the John Parr Award for Business-Civic Commitment to Regional Leadership.

From his time as CEO of the Metro Denver Chamber to his time as a HUD official in Washington, D.C., to his start in economic development in Atlanta, Dick has been a leader in business/community advancement. We wish him all the best in the next phase of his career. But he won’t get away just yet. We’ve asked Dick to remain in his role as chair of the Alliance for Regional Stewardship through August. If we're fortunate, he'll continue to advise us for years to come.

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Shaun Lumachi Memorial

Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

On Dec. 3 the chamber and government relations profession lost a great friend, Shaun Lumachi, who was fatally injured in a car crash in Florida.

ACCE News: Chamber Community Mourns the Death of Shaun Lumachi

Shaun was a frequent contributor to ACCE, most recently as a workshop speaker at the convention in Los Angeles and a webinar presenter in October. Here is a round-up of his memorable posts and articles from his history as an ACCE contributor.

Advocacy Advice from Shaun Lumachi
Stop Hugging Elected Officials, Start Holding them Accountable
What’s So Tough About the Times?
Make Your Newsletter Matter

On the Advocacy Field, Success Starts with Structure

A public celebration of Shaun’s life has been set for Dec. 17.

Tags: Advocacy, Government Relations, Lumachi, Shaun Lumachi

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Chamber CEO Donates Kidney

Brad Holt on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

Brad Dean, 43 and the father of two children, is in perfect health. Yesterday morning at Duke University Medical Center, in a set of operations called a kidney paired donation, he gave one of his kidneys to a 67-year-old former Navy nurse who has suffered from genetic kidney disease for decades. The nurse’s 39-year-old daughter, a Duke pharmacist, had offered one of her kidneys to her mother, but she was the wrong blood type. So the daughter’s kidney will go to a 42-year-old former construction worker. Details and an update from the Myrtle Beach Sun News.

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What it Means When a Municipality Files Chapter 9 Bankruptcy

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

In the wake of Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg, and Alabama’s largest county, Jefferson County, declaring bankruptcy, other communities may be looking to Chapter 9 bankruptcy to restructure debt.

Chapter 9 is the portion of the federal bankruptcy code that allows municipalities to seek court protection in the event of fiscal crisis. It is meant to ensure that basic government functions continue while policy makers restructure their debt. Only municipalities, not states, can file for Chapter 9. Municipal bankruptcies are very rare. Only about 620 municipalities have filed for bankruptcy since 1937 when Chapter 9 was added to the federal bankruptcy code. For more information on what happens after Chapter 9 is filed, how long Chapter 9 cases take and what changes a Chapter 9 filing brings to day-to-day life, visit’s article Municipal bankruptcy explained: What it means to file for Chapter 9.

Chambers Getting Involved

Eleven Pennsylvania chambers have joined together with other stakeholders to form Metro Chambers for Sustainable Cities. These chambers include Greater Reading, Harrisburg Regional, Lancaster, Greater Lehigh Valley, Greater Pittsburgh, Greater Wilkes-Barre, Monroeville Area, Williamsbport/Lycoming, York County, Allegheny Valley and Mon Valley Progress Council. The chambers are looking to make a difference in the future sustainability of their cities and to promote the success of their cities in Pennsylvania. The chambers decided to get involved because the business community regularly thinks regionally and long term, and chambers are skilled at advocacy on behalf of business. They believe: A Prosperous City = A Prosperous Economy = A Successful Business Climate

Other Sources:
Largest municipal bankruptcy ever prompts muted reaction elsewhere
Harrisburg bankruptcy sets up fight with state
Alabama’s Jefferson County enters biggest muni bankruptcy as crisis victim

Tags: Bankruptcy, Chamber Coalitions, Municipal Issues

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