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Get Engaged, Get Informed & Make Your Vote Count
April 2014

Hello. And welcome to At the Center.

In 1872, a group of businesspeople founded The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce on the premise that their individual businesses could benefit most by fully leveraging the clout of their collective businesses. Today, 142 years later, the principle remains the same and stands as the backbone for your chamber of commerce.

But while the principle remains the same, our methods of leveraging the business voice have definitely evolved over time, so I would like to bring you all up-to-date on ways you can take advantage of being part of the collective voice of business.

Let me start with the obvious. If the business community wants to make an impact, they have to be engaged. We need to hear from you about the issues that impact your business because it is through your real-world examples that we can best make our case.

You can also choose to get engaged by participating in our upcoming Civic Engagement Academy on Saturday, May 3. There you will learn the ins and outs of the local political process and hear about opportunities to get involved. From our viewpoint, we all win when more business people lend their time and attention to the government service. So, point Number One…get engaged.

Point Number Two is to have your voice heard. We are absolutely committed to providing you with the tools and opportunities to air your concerns. Whether it be through involvement on our Advocacy Committee or other, more issue specific, Advisory Groups; attendance at our Wake Up to the Issues sessions; or participation in an Issues Briefing, we want to provide you with access to both information and your elected officials through our events and programs.

Additionally, you can connect directly to your state and federal officials and offer background information on issues of importance through our VoterVoice on-line tool. Last year, more than 700 emails were sent by you expressing your opinions on the state transportation bill. Rest assured, your voice was heard by our local delegation who voted unanimously in support of the proposal.

We also make sure your voice is heard through our attendance at political fundraisers. Although The Chamber does not endorse candidates, we do have a political action committee, BizPAC, that does provide us access to elected officials or candidates who support our issues. Your donations to BizPAC allow us to continue with our presence at these events.
Let me end with point Number Three….be an informed voter, and then vote.

You know, next month is a primary election. And, if history is any example, only 7.7% of eligible Lancaster County voters will vote in the primary – as was the case in the 2013 primary. And it’s likely that even fewer of them will have taken the time to familiarize themselves with the candidates’ positions on issues.

The Chamber is committed to offering candidate debates in contested races to make sure business issues get the attention they deserve during the campaign. Additionally, candidates are requested to complete a questionnaire detailing his or her position on business issues. Those profiles can be found on our website prior to any given election. Please review them. And please vote.

Rest assured, The Lancaster Chamber is committed to continuing the tradition of leveraging the local business voice. Your engagement, your voice and your vote make it better for everyone.

Until next time. Stay informed, stay engaged and stay with us…At the Center.

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