The Naperville Chamber’s recently rebranded Business Works: Policy, Advocacy & Legislation Commitee (formerly known as the Legislative Committee) is working with enthusiasm and vigor to watch pending legislation at all levels and weigh in on those that have relevance to the Naperville business community.
“We are working to become more dynamic in our approach and to stay relevant to our members,” said Reba Osborne, director of government affairs and business development.
“Chamber members expect us to be their watchdog,” she added. “Our focus is to protect our businesses from unnecessary taxing and support initiatives to improve local transportation infrastructure. Additionally, we will promote local educational initiatives that give employers access to a high-quality workforce.
“Naperville is a vibrant community that has the second-highest sales tax revenues in the state and it needs sales tax money to continue to operate at a high service level, but one of our priorities is to make sure that our businesses aren’t over-taxed,” Osborne said.
The Naperville Chamber is fortunate that Osborne is a registered lobbyist who can advocate for their members, not only at the local level, but also at the state and federal levels.
“Only a handful of Chambers in the state have a staff member dedicated to their advocacy efforts,” said Lisa Weitzel, president of the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
Ryan McIntyre, owner of Plaidypus Custom Software, took over as chairman of the Business Works Committee last spring. He has led Business Works in holding events designed to keep Chamber members abreast of issues on a quarterly, rather than a monthly, schedule. Guests at the quarterly meetings have included State Senator Laura Ellman, Representative Grant Wehrli, Congressman Sean Casten and Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger.
The Business Works Committee continues to explore other methods of keeping members abreast of issues that impact their business. Plans are in place to offer more two-minute educational videos on key topics as well as recaps of Business Works events. Some topics include the proposed graduated income tax and the business effects of marijuana legalization.
“We want Chamber members to be able to learn what is going on and how it might affect them in the future,” McIntyre said.
“We have an open-door policy. We want to hear from members who have an issue of concern and we are willing to then advocate on their behalf. It is a two-way street,” Osborne added.
If you would like to be more involved in Chamber advocacy work, please reach out to Reba Osborne at email@example.com, (630) 544-3387.