In a recent article on the value of chambers, Principal of the lobbying firm and our advocacy partner Acuitas, Sarah Hubbard, shared that, “No other organization represents the business community like a chamber of commerce.” In follow-up to the article, an episode of Spotlight Podcasts continued the discussion on the value of chambers, including the role of government relations. The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance knows this to be true and has been hard at work – 16 chambers and economic development organizations and over 7,000 member businesses strong – advocating for rural northern Michigan businesses.
We’ve been here all along – and now more than ever. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we have worked to ensure we best represent you and serve as the voice of business. We’ve done that by calling you, talking with your employees, and collecting your feedback through surveys, like the Regional Reopening Plan. We’ve utilized your feedback to focus our engagement during the crisis on a set of solutions so we can drive the economic recovery of our region.
The Alliance has been working to ensure that businesses have access to resources, and we’ve been advocating for additional resources, like PPP loan funds. We’ve been monitoring important issues to ensure that the northern Michigan perspective is included, like submitting feedback to and meeting with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission on behalf of our bars and restaurants. We’ve helped prep businesses for reopening through industry forums on manufacturing, construction, retail, and more. We know that as a business owner, your time is precious – which is why we’ve worked to connect you with experts – like the unemployment webinar with individuals from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.
In order for us to advocate for you and your business, the Alliance also knows it’s important for us to stay up-to-date on the newest information and be knowledgeable on policies that affect rural northern Michigan. We’ve hosted discussions for our Alliance members so we can better serve you – like a budget boot camp to prep members on the state budget process or a housing discussion on how to address issues amplified by COVID-19.
After weeks of advocacy, the Alliance joined the Governor in announcing the reopening of certain businesses in rural northern Michigan. And while it was certainly an accomplishment to be recognized for our advocacy efforts, we know the hard work is not over; in fact, it’s just begun. We will be relentless until all of our businesses have the opportunity to open safely and our communities may begin the recovery process. Thank you to our business community for your resiliency. It is our honor to support your work and our communities.