By Jason Gordon, VP, Public Affairs
As the legislative season begins to wrap up, I wanted to take a moment to share some highlights from the Chamber’s legislative trips this year and how they have a direct impact on the issues we are seeking to influence. Members that participate in the Capitol trips not only find value in the networking but benefit as we strategically design our visits to address issues of importance to our members.
Here are three examples, one from each trip, that demonstrate the importance of our advocacy trips and how they continue to help us shape and advance our priorities.
During our Iowa advocacy trip, one of the issues we discussed in significant detail was the importance of ensuring that any tax reform proposal prioritize simplification and protect the incentives that have been used so successfully to grow our local economy, like historic tax credits and the High Quality Jobs program. We continue to work on this initiative that is beginning to gain momentum.
While in Springfield on our Illinois advocacy trip, we emphasized the importance of the state creating a state historic tax credit program, like the program that has been used so successfully in Iowa. The Chamber’s Economic Development team and private developers shared perspectives on how such a program would be significant in the redevelopment of the downtowns and historic districts throughout the Illinois Quad Cities. Recently, Rep. Mike Halpin held a press conference in which he announced that he and Rep. Tony McCombie would be sponsoring legislation to create such a program.
Finally, each year as we travel to Washington D.C. to advocate for our federal priorities, the Rock Island Arsenal is always at the top of that list. For years, we have scheduled meetings with key leaders at the Pentagon, and this year, we had an opportunity to meet with Mr. Lucian Niemeyer, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and the Environment. Mr. Niemeyer is one of the highest ranking officials at the Pentagon that we have had the opportunity to meet with and he will play a critical role in a future BRAC. Mr. Niemeyer not only took the time to meet with us, but he knew our specific issues related to Rock Island Arsenal, going so far as to pull another senior Pentagon leader into our meeting because he is critical to an issue Mr. Niemeyer knew we wanted to discuss. Our advocacy on behalf of the Rock Island Arsenal is reaching the highest levels of Army and Pentagon leadership.
As you can see, these advocacy trips are important and tie directly to the policy issues and initiatives we work to advance. Thanks to all of our members that have participated in these trips and for being our partners in advocacy. We will continue to keep all of our members informed and engaged as we make progress on our legislative priorities.
Interested in getting involved in advocacy efforts? Join us for the Iowa Governor’s Condition of the State Address on Tuesday, May 15. Learn more>