Chamber Blog

Game-Changing Advocacy in the First Half of 2019

Game-Changing Advocacy in the First Half of 2019 1

The Chamber’s Government Affairs team is working with members to continue our momentum in West Michigan with effective advocacy on the issues that matter to you most: talent, fiscal policy, regulations, health care, economic development and more.

Here are some of the key highlights from the first half of 2019:

71 Government Affairs Member Assists through June. Key wins include: helping members receive licenses/permits that allowed them to open; finding transportation and talent solutions; cutting through red tape at local, state and federal level, and more.

  • Chamber leadership met multiple times with Governor Whitmer on State Budget priorities and road funding.
  • Produced Health Care Summit addressing key topics like cost, prescription drugs, best practices and mental health.
  • Released 2019 Government Affairs Survey Result that helps guide our work on talent and local issues.
  • Hosted meeting for members with the Consul Generals of Canada and Mexico.
  • Convened Roundtable with Congressman Huizenga on trade and tariff issues.
  • Hosted Speaker Chatfield for meeting with the President’s Club.
  • New MDOT Director Paul Ajegba discussed the 45-cent gas tax proposal with members at the February Breakfast with Legislators.
  • Honored outgoing GVSU President Tom Haas at Breakfast with Legislators.
  • Participated in DC Fly-In with Great Lakes Metro Chamber Coalition to advocate on core policy issues, including water quality, immigration reform, trade, and transportation and infrastructure.
  • Co-hosted roundtable with Governor Whitmer on expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
  • Facilitated visit by US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to Lacks Enterprises.

Key Local Action:

  • Hosted City Manager Mark Washington for a discussion on the city budget as well as multiple tours of member businesses throughout the City.
  • Defeated an unnecessary and punitive per-space parking fee in Grand Rapids.
  • Engaged in discussions on the new Police Chief for Grand Rapids.

Key State Action:

  • Fought for expansion of Going Pro, formerly the Skilled Trade Training Fund (SSTF).
  • Defeated a new 6 percent income tax on businesses organized as partnerships, LLCs and S corporations.
  • Supported key criminal justice reforms that have been signed by the Governor.
  • Assisted in passing legislation to make e-cigarettes illegal for minors.
  • Hosted Doug Ross, Senior Advisor of Michigan Prosperity for a discussion on Governor Whitmer’s two talent initiatives, which the Chamber Board moved to support- Michigan Reconnect and MI Opportunity Scholarships.
  • Supporting key talent bills to address members’ needs including A-F and Michigan Merit Curriculum Flexibility
  • Testified with members to oppose legislation that will eliminate the valuable WorkKeys® assessment and National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) from Michigan high schools.
  • Defeated amendment that threatened to halt work on the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
  • Selected as the statewide lead for Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships tasked with leading a broader coalition around workforce development policies.

Key Federal Action:

  • Fighting for adoption of the USMCA, the new NAFTA agreement.
  • Weighed in on the negative impact of tariffs to West Michigan business.
  • Leading West Michigan support for the expansion of the Soo Locks.
  • Supported efforts that address comprehensive immigration reform, particularly in ending the uncertainly around the DACA program.
  • Successfully fought for funding to be restored for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
  • Advancing prescription drug reform policy positions.



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