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Government Relations Committee

Definition

A government relations (or advocacy) committee is a group of chamber business members that advise the board on adopting public policy positions and assist with advocacy efforts.

Summary

A Government Relations Committee provides a forum for chamber members to track, research, and discuss important public policy issues. The committee should be viewed as an advisory group that develops public policy position recommendations for the board of directors to consider. The committee should draft positions that are consistent with the organizationís values, principles and policies as established by the board of directors.

Government Relations Committees vary in size with anywhere from 8 to 25 members. Committee membership may be open to all chamber members in good standing or restricted to members at a specified dues level. Members are often selected by the committee chairman and approved by the board of directors. Public sector members may be barred from serving on the Government Relations Committee.

The committee is led by a chairman who is usually a member of the chamber board and often serves on the executive committee. The chairman is the primary advisor to the board of directors on public policy issues.

Government Relations Committees may have subcommittees that focus on a specific policy area (like energy policy) or on a specific level of government (local, state or federal).

Government Relations Committees may have regularly scheduled meetings monthly, quarterly or semiannually, but they should able to assemble quickly should a particularly pressing policy issue arise. Some meetings may be open for any chamber member to attend.

Primary Functions

The primary functions of a chamber Government Relations Committee are:
  • To monitor, analyze and prioritize public policy issues which impact chamber members and the greater business community.
  • To recommend to the executive committee and/or the board of directors, policy positions regarding local, state and federal legislation and proposed regulations.
  • To prioritize issues that may require special attention by the chamber.
  • To prepare plans of action for the chamber staff and volunteers to participate in the government, community, business, media and other arenas to achieve action on the policy positions adopted by the chamber.
  • To assist the chamber in developing and maintaining positive relationships with local, state and federal officials.

Samples

Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce (S.C.) COSE Indy Chamber Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce (Ala.) Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce (S.D.)

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