From the Chamber: Advocacy at work
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Originally established as the Commercial Club of Steamboat Springs in 1907, the Steamboat Springs Chamber continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of our business community. Today, this means the Steamboat Springs Chamber is committed to the business and economic vitality of Steamboat Springs and Routt County. This direction has resulted in expanded programming, added membership value, and elevated advocacy efforts.
For this column, we’d like to focus on that third pillar – advocacy. Advocacy efforts at the Chamber involve working with local stakeholders to tackle issues that impact Yampa Valley communities, businesses and residents. We work toward solutions by bringing together business voices at decision-making tables to advocate for resources, policy and funding that aligns with the vision of a healthy and thriving place to work and live.
We also engage with local, regional and state-level policymakers to learn about and back policies that promote a favorable business environment here. To understand which policies we should support, we use data from surveys and studies as well as economic analysis reports to guide us. The next step is sharing this research with community leaders and stakeholders to further educate and engage community members.
Here are some concrete ways in which we are currently working to advocate for our business community:
Policy research and analysis
Our team conducts research and analysis on policies that impact businesses and the local economy. This includes monitoring legislative and regulatory developments, analyzing their potential impact on businesses, and providing expert input and recommendations to policymakers.
Public testimony and public relations
The Chamber provides public testimony at meetings to voice its support for pro-business policies. It also engages in public relations efforts to raise awareness about the importance of pro-business policies to the community and garner public support.
We collaborate with other organizations, such as industry associations, chambers of commerce from other regions, and business groups to build coalitions and amplify our advocacy efforts. Collaborating with other organizations helps us strengthen the collective voice of the business community and advocate for pro-business policies. Right now, we are part of the Mountain Chamber Alliance, the Colorado Competitive Council, ACCE and WACE.
Collaboration with government agencies
Working closely with local, regional and state government agencies to establish relationships and provide input on policies is another key to success. This includes participating in government-led task forces, committees and advisory boards, while working with government officials to develop policies that support the business community. For example, just in the past month we met with Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and District 2 Rep. Joe Neguse to discuss Routt County business-related needs.
Education and information sharing
Our team provides education and updates on current policy issues to members and the broader community through webinars, seminars and educational events. Information is also shared through newsletters, webpages, social media, and through public awareness campaigns.
Convening stakeholders on important issues
The Chamber works with diverse stakeholders, including government, local businesses, community organizations and residents, to build consensus and advocate for policies and initiatives that are beneficial to the long-term success of the community. We are currently part of or lead the following groups: housing stakeholder group, NWCDC, Routt Recreation & Conservation Roundtable, First Impressions, Climate Action Plan Group, City and County Master plan groups, Northwest Colorado Broadband, and Industry Advocacy Groups.
To stay informed on our efforts, we encourage you to look at our 2022 Annual Report and participate in our member survey and advocacy groups each year to helps us identify focus areas. You can also follow our advocacy page and news section on the membership website.
Advancing our business advocacy efforts will continue to be a key focus for the Chamber team in 2023. Convening, catalyzing and championing the business community’s needs is our top priority, and we look forward to working with many of you to deliver results.
Sarah Leonard is the CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber.
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