The Alliance was established on the premise that many legislative issues impact northern Michigan in similar ways. These issues should be addressed regionally to maximize the political influence of this 13-county chamber alliance and it’s over 6,000 members. The alliance consists of The Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce, The Benzie County Chamber of Commerce, The Cadillac Area Chamber of Commerce, The Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake Superior Community Partnership (Marquette), The Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce, and The Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. Theses organizations have identified legislative areas that should be monitored and advocated to elected officials on the local, state, and federal levels.
In 2011 the Alliance Executives and staff met with local decision makers as well as state and federal legislators. Your Chamber Alliance used these contacts to promote business opportunities, protect tourism funding and agriculture across our region. The participating members of the chamber alliance use local government committees, advocacy groups and board members for your voice to be heard at the local, state and federal level. The creation of these groups forms the grassroots voice for business interests across our region. They promote job creation, construction projects, transportation needs and planning and zoning issues. These committees also followed and tracked candidates through the election process.
Here are some of the items that your Chamber Alliance was the voice for in northern Michigan in 2011.
- Supported and advocated and testified for Pure Michigan Funding ($25 million budgeted March 2011)
- Impact report on MBT and MBT Surcharge – Advocated for removal of MBT (Done June 2011)
- Attended meetings on road budgets and talked with legislators on community funding issues.
- Hosted a Legislative lunch with Lt. Governor Brian Calley
- Hosted a Transportation and Infrastructure Summit in northern Michigan.
- Supported keeping access roads open in National Forests for recreational and business use.
- Submitted a report from members on impacts of rules and regulations at the state level.
- Met with DEQ officials and Office of Regulatory Reform on streamlining regulations and permitting process.
- Held Quarterly meetings in Lansing with elected officials on regional issues and opportunities.
- Met with federal officials on environmental regulations and the impacts they will have on our businesses.
- Supported efforts for the creation of regional economic development teams from the MEDC.
- Supported Governor’s plan to Reform, Re-Invent and Re-Invest in Michigan.
- Advocated for Equitable Funding for northern Michigan Schools.
The Northern Michigan Regional Chamber Alliance is preparing for 2012. In an early December meeting the alliance set an agenda and focus on continuing to build relationships with the legislators that represent our region. The group also had discussions focused on the barriers to business growth and opportunities for business development across our region. From those discussions the following 2012 Guiding Principles continue to be the focus of our strategic plan of action for the coming year.
• Make it easier for businesses in Northern Michigan to be profitable, including manufacturing and Agriculture.
• Help strong business sectors remain strong in our region.
• Promote transportations and infrastructure investment.
• Make sure we have a workforce prepared for the future needs of Northern Michigan Businesses.
The time spent preparing this 2012 plan allows us to learn about the issues facing business in our region.
We will use that knowledge to create a strategic document for 2012 and will be asking for you to get involved and assist,
by advocating for business growth and opportunities across our region.