As the Minnesota Legislative session starts up on March 8th, it highlights one of the important roles of the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism - advocacy. The mission of the Northfield Area Chamber is to lead in the creation, promotion, and enhancement of a healthy business environment for the Northfield area. Our vision is to be THE business community resource. One of the goals to accomplish our mission is advocacy: influence and shape public policy to reflect business priorities while enhancing the climate for our member's growth, by monitoring and educating members and the community on business related issues, utilizing the resources of the Minnesota and US Chamber, and facilitating candidate forums.
Most of our efforts are local, since the majority of our members are small, (fewer than 10 employees) locally owned businesses. We place a strong emphasis on being seen rather that heard, being selective in our expression of our comments and positions statements. While our protesting would get us immediate attention if we blocked the entrance ramp from Highway 3 to 19, or filled city hall council chamber with angry protesters shouting slogans and holding signs, we find it more productive to have professional and respectful dialogue with our council and school board members, both at a meeting session as well as one-on-one discussions. We encourage our members to get involved and become committee members, as well as attend meetings and make public comment on issues that impact their business. We pass along critical information that will have an impact on their business. In addition, we provide educational opportunities and host meetings for businesses to receive further information. Finally, we meet with leader's first hand to discuss business concerns.
We are also members of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and utilize their products and services in helping our members, since all Northfield businesses are impacted at the state level as well. We utilize their lobbying staff, take advantage and offer their educational programs to our members, and participate in their group programming. Programs such as Business Day at the Capital, Sessions Priorities Dinner, seminars, webinars and forums all add value and educate members on topics that impact business.
In addition, because this is an election year, we will be conducting candidate forums at local and state level. We feel it is important to our membership to hear their positions on issues that impact the business community. While we will encourage our members to get involved, to run for office or volunteer for a committee or advisory council, we will not endorse any candidates.
We take our role seriously in advocating for our members and the business community as a whole. Advocacy is a critical leg in the chair we provide our members in creating a healthy business environment for our business community. Join us March 29th as Doug Loon, President of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, outlines the legislative priorities of the MN Chamber and the legislative session.