Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s Day at the Capitol

Last week, some thirty Chamber members spent the day at the state capitol learning about Arizona’s legislative process, exploring the importance of civic duty to the business community and engaging with state legislators.

If you have any questions about how to get involved at the capitol or would like more information about getting involved in the Chamber’s Public Affairs process please email publicaffairs[at]phoenixchamber[dot]com.

Legislative Leadership

The day began with welcome remarks from our Vice President of Public Affairs and Economic Development Chad Heinrich and our Public Affairs Committee Chair, Susan Anable, Vice President of Public Affairs, Southwest Region, at Cox Communications. Senate President Biggs, Speaker of the House Tobin, Senate Minority Leader Tovar and Assistant House Minority Leader Gallego addressed our members discussing legislative issues, the budget process and the importance of business and constituent engagement.

Mock Committee

Chamber members were then given the opportunity to participate in a mock committee hearing arguing for and against a bill from last year’s legislative session. Our mock committee panelists included Susan Anable, Cox Communications; Spencer Kamps, House Builders Association; Gretchen Kitchel, Salt River Project; Bas Aja, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association; Senator Farley, Representative Gallego, Senator Hobbs and Representative Shope. After a bill presentation by Chamber staff, members were split into groups, coached by our mock committee panelists and then selected a representative to testify to their assigned position on the bill to the mock committee.  With riveting and well-stated arguments on both sides, and plenty of inquisition from committee panelists, the committee voted. The decision: four ayes and four nays.

Additionally, committee panelists were able to provide suggestions and feedback about how best to advocate for an issue at the state capitol.

Importance of Business Engagement

During lunch, participants heard from fellow business owners, Chamber Board Members Russell Johnson, President & Chief Executive Officer of Merchants Information Solutions, and Kevin Sandler, CEO and Founder of ExhibitOne Corporation. Our Board members discussed their own involvement in government relations through the Chamber and described the importance of business engagement in the law making process. Specifically, they discussed how business owners can make a difference by providing needed expertise on certain issues so laws are created with the right knowledge and input from those within the regulated industry.

Read a column Russell Johnson contributed to after traveling to Washington D.C. with Chamber staff to discuss the importance of Immigration Reform to the business community.

Education Panel

The final portion of the day featured an Education panel moderated by Dr. Marc Osborn that included Representative Carter, Representative Meyer, Senator McComish and Senator Tovar. Panelists highlighted the need to support higher standards for Arizona students and schools, while also discussing school finance reform and the state’s university system.

Read more about the Chamber’s support of higher standards in Arizona.

Do you support a quality education system in Arizona? Learn about higher standards for Arizona’s students at http://www.expectmorearizona.org/arizona-aims-higher/. To join other businesses in supporting education, visit http://www.graduatepreparedaz.org/.

We’d like to thank our members and legislators who took the time out of their day to participate as panelists or to speak to Chamber members who attended our Day at the Capitol. It was a great day filled with information and fun activities. Finally, we would like to thank our sponsors for the day: Arizona Public Service, BidSource, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Salt River Project and SSC Boring.  

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