On April 23rd, 1910 Theodore Roosevelt gave what would become his most quoted speech. As we look toward Denver and Washington, D.C. with trepidation about what might be coming next it might be a good time to review what has been dubbed “The Man in the Arena” speech.

It reads in part, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Your Chamber is a voice for business and is often in the arena advocating for the best interests of all businesses. But we could use a little help…actually we could use a lot of help! To maximize our voice and our advocacy efforts, Chamber board and staff need the support and engagement of you, the Chamber members. By the time you read this, the General Assembly will have been in session for over three weeks and introduced hundreds of bills. That is why I’m using this month’s Chairman Column to issue a call-to-action for all members. Regardless of party affiliation or political persuasion, bills that become law often make it much harder to conduct business and be successful in our state. We need you to be engaged with us in our advocacy efforts around business issues. The early indications are that many business exemptions and tax credits are again on the chopping block and that business support will be critical in getting the Governor’s proposals to help buy down the debt in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and help cover other mandated employer costs associated with paid leave across the finish line. You and your bottom line WILL be impacted by what happens under the Golden Dome.

Here is how you can join us in the arena:

  • Stay informed by reading our legislative e-newsletters or attending Government Affairs Committee meetings.
  • When we issue a call-to-action, get engaged by contacting lawmakers and/or testifying in legislative committees. While that may sound daunting, it is very impactful when a small business owner personalizes what a bill may or may not do to help their business succeed. With the opportunity for remote testimony via zoom this year you may not even have to leave your office to testify.
  • Advocate in your community by helping your network understand the impact of over-regulation and taxation. Recent employment law changes are well-intended and sound like a good idea. But the ramifications for small and medium businesses were either not well understood or not deemed important. Small and medium businesses are major drivers of economic growth. We need strong job creators to keep our community working!

The Chamber Governmental Affairs Committee meets every other week during the session for those who would like to be more hands-on and delve deeper into the issues and impacts. Any staff member can get you signed up and your participation is welcomed! Now, more than ever, we need to be engaged at the beginning of the lawmaking process rather than complaining about a law after it is passed.

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