Moving the needle on legislation and partnership

By Reece Milner

(February 9, 2018 – ANNAPOLIS, Md). – The basic goal of all chambers of commerce—local, state, and national—has always been to provide and maintain a healthy economic climate. The Maryland Chamber Executive Advisory Council works together to ensure a nuanced understanding of each county’s business environment.

“The Maryland Chamber of Commerce has relationships in Annapolis and on, but at the same time, the varying chambers within our respected community may have deeper relationships,” said Howard County Chamber President & CEO Leonardo McClarty. “Our goal is to have all on one accord, and work in communication as it relates to key policy issues that would be affecting the Maryland businesses.”

In addition to MCEAC’s involvement with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, the county chamber executives also work with municipal chambers in a collective effort to include their legislative committees in the Maryland Chamber’s grassroots advocacy network.

“We enable each other to share ideas with other chambers as it relates to different activities and problems that we are working to solve – whether that be policy-related or even ideas on how we handle situations within our respective communities,” said McClarty. “Working together in a collective effort, we are able to stop bad business legislation, or advocate for pro-business legislation – if there is a win, that is what it looks like when we are successful.”

For MCEAC, partnership is imperative in ensuring a lively economic climate and relationships with other chambers. To them, partnership is founded upon the principle of working together towards a common cause for Maryland.

The groups come together on common causes and help each other work toward common goals.

“Partnership means three things: communication, cooperation, and collaboration,” said McClarty. “On some of these issues, it is not an issue that can be solved or addressed by one group. It has to be a collective effort on issues that require heavy lifting. As a result, we have to work together to try to solve challenging problems.”

The advisory council holds periodic “eggs & issues” sessions with their legislators and legislative staff to keep legislators aware of their focus on Maryland businesses and the improvement of grassroots communications.

“This is a platform to stay informed and then relay that information back to their local jurisdictions. It also empowers the chambers to take action themselves and have their voices heard,” added Ocean City Chamber Executive Director Melanie Pursel.

Along with their legislative efforts, the council also works with the Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, which McClarty leads, to aid in training volunteer chamber leaders for public policy leadership. All of the work adds up to something meaningful for the entire business community.

“As we discover new chambers and their executives, we work with [Maryland Chamber President & CEO] Christine [Ross] to reach out and communicate with them on the issues surfacing in their regions,” McClarty said. “I encourage local businesses to support their local chambers, as we are only as strong as the companies that we can say are members.”

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by Larry Richardson

About your Business to Government, B2G, source: Larry Richardson is the vice president of government affairs at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. He is a former attorney who brings over 25 years of lobbying experience to the Chamber where he advocates on behalf of the Maryland business community to grow jobs and reduce regulations.