Connect with elected officials

In most communities, the Chamber of Commerce is the first stop by many wanting access to the business community. New professionals doing business in our community look to see which area businesses are members of the local Chamber – it speaks to a commitment made in the growth of the general economy and community wellbeing. New businesses starting in our community join the Chamber to network and for access to other business leaders and key contacts.

The Chamber is also the first stop by our government contacts wanting to meet with the business community. We are in a position to facilitate those relationships, in both directions. In short order we are often able to aggregate Chamber members to meet with our government representatives when they want an audience with the business community to share updated information about projects, funding and special concerns.

Over the past few weeks our area has had visits by Senator Joe Manchin and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito. Both wanted to get direct feedback from employers impacted by the Affordable Care Act. Our local Chamber helps to communicate and facilitate those types of connections.

On the flip side our members also desire for the Chamber to facilitate meetings and communication with our local elected officials. Members appreciate the opportunity to thank our elected officials for their efforts on behalf of the business community and to share areas of concern.

On Monday, Feb. 10, we are having MOV Chamber Day at the Capital to meet this goal for our members. From 11 a.m.-1 p.m., we will host a drop-in lunch for our delegates and senators at the Capital in Charleston. Any member of the Chamber who would like to travel to Charleston for the event is invited to do so. Chamber members are encouraged to bring handouts and be prepared to highlight concerns and successes in relation to recent legislative actions. Our legislators appreciate this support and feedback as they work diligently on behalf of their constituents.

By having face-to-face meetings, our legislators get to know the key leaders at various businesses and organizations in our community. When reviewing key legislation, our legislators often contact these business leaders for input; in doing so business owners provide guidance on how legislation might impact their operations.

Having a good working relationship with your elected officials truly benefits both parties.

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Jill Parsons is the president/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce fthe Mid-Ohio Valley.