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The chamber as legislative leader

If you watch City Council meetings on TV, you know the chamber has a presence at City Hall. This year we lobbied for tourism and small-business interests surrounding Ride Glenwood, are involved in decisions regarding projects for tax increment financing downtown and reminded our members of community meetings about everything from the Re-1 School District high school location discussions to the PEIS meetings on I-70 gridlock.This is only the tip of the legislative iceberg. Did you know the chamber helped facilitate city-Hot Springs Pool discussions on the location of the proposed whitewater park and that we are facilitating discussions on potential school-community partnerships on a performing arts center? We also helped facilitate the recent Trails Summit, produced economic data on the positive impacts of trails, and we have seats on the New Century Transportation Foundation, Sustainable Community and City Traffic-Calming committees.It is no surprise that the traffic congestion management tax, up for renewal in November, is the thrust of the chamber’s program of work. This tax funds ordinary street maintenance, so without it, we all suffer. But we are also working with city leadership on creative solutions other than simple maintenance. Traffic-calming measures on Grand Avenue, the Eighth Street and South Bridge connections and another look at Highway 82 relocation are under consideration.But our political involvement doesn’t stop there. Since January we have opposed a state bill prohibiting cities’ abilities to initiate and supply broadband services; supported the state eliminating no-fax laws for association and those with business-client relationships; and opposed state bills threatening work comp reforms. Our voice is even heard in Washington, D.C., where we registered opposition to the federal cut of Amtrak services; and supported association plan health insurance, health savings accounts and tax breaks for small businesses supplying health benefits. In addition to weekly legislative updates about such state, national and local issues, the Chamber produces legislative alerts that allow our members to immediately contact their legislators or attend important public meetings. Our initiatives and involvement in influencing political outcomes saves our members thousands of dollars per year. To be put on our electronic mailing list for legislative updates, call me at the chamber. If there is an issue that deserves our attention, call me as well. In fact, if you are doing business in Glenwood Springs, consider the chamber your personal business lobbyist. Marianne Virgili is the president and CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.


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