Message from President & CEO Bryan K. Stephens
One of the primary roles of your Chamber of Commerce is to be your advocate with elected officials. We take the role seriously and are proud of our results. This year’s General Assembly session was a very interesting one. I liken it to a marathon, with preparation and a clear strategic plan central to being able to hit that finishing line. Brute strength only goes so far.
The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce’s legislative strategy for the 2014 Virginia General Assembly Session actually began months ahead of the January opening. We lobby for pro-business legislation, working to ensure that starting a business, and successfully running it, is an achievable goal. For this year’s Assembly, there were 1,946 bills introduced – our municipal staff read each and every one of the business-related bills, assessing the potential impact to the Hampton Roads business community.
Our team set out to represent you, communicating, engaging and collaborating with our elected representatives, serving as the voice of business for our region. Our staff lobbyist attended the Assembly, working with other business entities throughout the Commonwealth to advance your agenda. We hope you kept abreast of our progress with the weekly “News and Notes” newsletter we published each week.
As I write this, we’re waiting to see what action Governor McAuliffe will take on the budget recently passed by the General Assembly. Medicaid expansion, something the Chamber supported because of the impact insurances costs have on business owners, now seems to be off the table.
And while there is much still to accomplish, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with our General Assembly Outcomes for your review. In it, you’ll see not only the final ruling on a sampling of the legislation we championed, but what it means to you and why your Chamber took action. We are extremely happy with the results and feel our influence was impactful.
The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce is gratified by the many pro-business votes from our region’s delegation to the General Assembly this year and we have our eyes on 2015. As your advocate, we’re gearing up for the next marathon and ensuring our membership body remains the most powerful voice of business in the region.