“Just because you don’t take interest in politics doesn’t mean that politics won’t take an interest in you.” This observation, sometimes attributed to the Greek statesman Pericles, rings true: Whether we’re paying attention or not, government has a say in many of our business and non-business affairs.
One way to exercise some control is at the ballot box, and there are some important elections on the horizon. I know what you’re thinking: “But I feel like we just got through a big election!” I definitely sympathize. But April is fast approaching, and it brings with it races for both the Grand Junction City Council and the school board. These may not be high-profile national elections, but they’re just as important when it comes to the quality of life and economic development issues that matter to us in the Grand Valley.
The Chamber has always taken its role as the “voice of business” seriously, and that includes speaking up in elections and on public policy issues. For more than a decade, the Chamber has interviewed candidates and endorsed those individuals who we feel are best positioned to move economic development forward. These aren’t always easy decisions (and they’re sometimes controversial), but they’re important. You can see this spring’s endorsements and candidate questionnaires—along with our issues endorsements—in the enclosed voter guide. The Chamber is also hosting its 2017 Candidate Forum on March 20th, 12:00 PM at the Mesa County Workforce Center. Mark your calendar and plan to attend. I encourage all of our members to read the guide, attend our candidate forum, consider the Chamber’s endorsements, and vote for those candidates you feel will best represent our community.
The Chamber has also just completed its annual Legislative Trip to the Capitol in Denver. Our delegation of 45 Western Colorado business leaders had the opportunity to meet with and pose questions to the state’s top decision makers: Governor John Hickenlooper, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Bob Randall, Department of Local Affairs Executive Director Irv Halter, CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt, and Tom Lipetzky with the Colorado Department of Agriculture. We also hosted numerous Front Range and Western Colorado legislators for dinner, reconnecting with many lawmakers and meeting new ones. A special thanks to our local legislative delegation—Representatives Dan Thurlow and Yeulin Willet, and Senator Ray Scott—for their assistance in organizing the trip and hosting us.
And speaking of laws that affect us whether we’re familiar with them or not, health care is front and center with the change in presidential administrations and a Republican-controlled Congress. Wondering what to expect in the coming months and years? Call the Chamber and register for our 2017 Health Care Summit on March 8th, 8:00 AM at the DoubleTree Hotel. Title sponsors are Colorado Canyons Hospital & Medical Center, Primary Care Partners, Community Hospital, Monument Health, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Alphagraphics, Crossroads Fitness and Trailhead Clinics. We have a prominent slate of health care policy experts presenting and answering your questions, including Keynote Speaker Jeff Lungren, Chief Health Care Lobbyist For the US Chamber of Commerce.
We know that busy businesspeople don’t always have the time to stay on top of elections and laws that affect them. And that’s one of the reasons we at the Chamber have spoken out—and will continue to speak out—on issues impacting both our business community and our overall quality of life.
Jeffrey Hurd, 2017 Chairman of the Board
Click here to download full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce March 2017 Newsletter.