Active political engagement encouraged at Board of Advisors meeting

Damon Young is the 2016 Chairman of the Wichita Metro Chamber PAC

Damon Young, the 2016 Chairman of the Wichita Metro Chamber PAC, reminded attendees that their input and involvement are critical to the political process.

Involvement is imperative for creating and maintaining a business friendly environment. Today’s meeting of the Chamber’s Board of Advisors focused on activities undertaken in the last eight months to represent business interests to elected and government officials at the local, state and federal level. A recap video was shared with participants and Jason Watkins, the Chamber’s legislative consultant, reported on the 2016 Win/Loss report from the Chamber’s 2016 Legislative Agenda.

Walter Berry, the 2016 Vice Chairman of Government Affairs, encouraged the Board to participate in one of six Government Relations Public Policy Sub-Committees. The committees meet no more than once a quarter and are chaired by volunteers who are subject matter experts.

A Chamber Political Action Committee (PAC) update was provided by Damon Young (PAC Chairman), who reminded the group that the PAC is limited to state and local races/issues. Voters will be choosing elected officials for all 165 seats in the Kansas legislature and two on the Sedgwick County Commission this year. Young said the PAC will continue to be dedicated to honest dialogue among business owners, managers and community leaders about business issues and political candidates. He said, “We’re focused on free enterprise, finding the facts, and vetting good candidates.”

Participants offered their perspectives on a range of topics, including the Chamber’s position on nine Education and Workforce Development 2016 legislative agenda items. The Chamber was successful in advocating for exemption of K–12 from budget cuts during this year’s session. This was the only budget line item that received such protection and was considered an important Chamber WIN.

The need for Medicaid expansion, the importance of the state’s transportation budget, and the impact of air service on economic development efforts were also discussed during the meeting. Chamber President & CEO Gary Plummer closed the meeting by reminding attendees that the Chamber’s PAC provides important access and influence over issues that directly affect Chamber members and their companies/organizations.

Our thanks to today’s meeting sponsor, Wichita State University’s Office of Workforce, Professional and Community Education. Contact Jaime Dupy for more information about how to join the Board of Advisors.

Government Relations Public Policy Sub-Committees
(Sub-committees are open to all Chamber members. Those interested in serving should contact Barby Jobe at 268-1152 or Toni Porter at 268-1135.)
2016 Legislative Agenda Win/Loss Report
Video recap of recent Government Relations activities

Damon Young will be the featured speaker at tomorrow’s Sunrise Scrambler, where his topic is Political Engagement – Why Being Left or Right are Both Wrong if You Don’t Engage.