The Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce works on behalf of members to advance responsible public policy that ensures that the business community has the resources, infrastructure, and opportunities to keep our region's economy strong and growing.
Government Affairs Committee
The mission of the Government Affairs Committee of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce is to review pending legislation and regulations for their impact on business and develop positions that will enhance economic growth. The committee also develops programs that inform and encourage members to participate in the Chamber's government affairs initiatives.
Meetings take place monthly with thoughtful dialogue on contemporary issues. If you would like to become involved with the Chamber's Government Affairs Committee please contact:
Calendar of Events
Click here for Events you should be part of!
Click here to view parts of the Roanoke Rapids City Council Meetings
The Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce represents over 650 businesses throughout the Roanoke Valley. The following are the legislative priorities for 2009 for local, state and federal governments.
Events and functions such as the Take It To Raleigh Trip, the Elected Officials Reception, The Washington Trip, the State of Our Community Luncheon lend the opportunity to build relationships with elected leaders and hear the latest information first hand. Please share our legislative agenda with all of the elected officials.
Items of Importance requiring Local attention:
- Local Business Park and Airport: Support the infrastructure development of 700 acres of land to recruit new business and industry projects to Halifax County and the development of the Halifax-Northampton County Airport
- Economic Development Incentives Program: Support a fair and reasonable approach to incentives for the recruitment of companies to the Roanoke Valley
- Workforce Development Support: Chamber supports strategies to establish and maintain a flexible system of schools that are accountable to parents, students, and the community for meeting standards of achievement. Local governments should work to ensure needs are met including the recruitment of quality teachers, lowering the classroom size, providing necessary resources and facilities to create the optimum workforce for this region including much needed school construction. Support the Early College and the ability for local students to further enhance their education upon graduation through the University of North Carolina system at no charge.
Items of Importance requiring State attention:
- US Highway 158 Multi-laning: Continue support for multi-laning Highway 158 between Interstate 85 and Interstate 95 and the TIP Project R-3822 in Roanoke Rapids (corridor between US 158 and NC 125)
- Interstate 95 Multi-laning: Support the idea of beginning the process for adding a third lane to I-95
- North Carolina Center for Automotive Research Support funding for beginning operations and successful completion of all Phase1 facilities.
- Toll Roads: Continue to oppose the tolling of Interstate 95
- Technology Funding for Schools: Support additional funding for technology needs in the local school systems.
- Funding for Community Colleges: Support $26,093,685 in funding for capital needs improvements including New Academic and Student Services Center and Technology upgrades for 64 classrooms, Expansion of Automotive Shop and Cosmetology Buildings, New Public Safety Technology Center and New Classroom Building Support additional funding for Community Colleges including staff salaries and fully funding enrollment growth. The National average for Community College faculty is $53,000, NC Community College faculty average is $41,000.
- Water/Wastewater Funding: Support funding for water and wastewater project needs at low interest rates and continue improvements in the NC Clean Water Loans Bond Program and NC Clean Water Revolving Loan and Grant Fund.
- Roanoke River Infrastructure: Support state funding to establish additional boat ramps in Weldon and the potential of using herring as bait during Rockfish season to accommodate recreational needs which generate more tourism. Opposed to the transfer of water to other regions of North Carolina from the Roanoke River basin.
Items of Importance requiring Federal attention:
- Halifax-Northampton Regional Airport: Continue to support FAA and State funding for the completion of this project including the Instrument Landing System.Energy Resources: Support building of infrastructure including all types of power resources such as nuclear, hydropower, coal, natural gas to ensure energy needs of the future will be met with reasonable cost. Support the reasonable and speedy development of resource exploration of the coast of North Carolina.
- Transportation: Support infrastructure dollars for the maintenance and construction of roads, bridges, dams, etc. Support increasing North Carolina's rate of return for highway funding from 90.5 cents to 92 cents.Employee Free Choice Act: Opposed to the card check election. Secret ballot elections have long been recognized as the preferred method for determining representation questions. The Employee Free Choice Act would amend the NLRA by giving unions the right to achieve recognition solely through the "card check" process; thereby, permitting labor unions to avoid secret ballot elections.
Contact your legislators
Let's face it, government affects your life every day and government actions can have a detrimental affect on your business. Talking to your elected officials about issues important to you and your business is vital to your continued ability to prosper and it is easier than you think. Your elected officials are anxious to hear from you, their business constituent. They often vote on legislation based on constituent input. Here are some practical tips on how to become a more active advocate for your business and the Roanoke Valley region.
Senator Angela Bryant
Senator Erica Smith-Ingram
Representative Michal Wray
How to Contact Officials:
It is impossible for lawmakers to know how every piece of legislation they vote on will affect your business. A well-written letter or a detailed phone call will often help them understand the implications of pending legislation. Lawmakers may be reached by U.S. Mail, e-mail or by fax. To reach them by e-mail, follow the links indicated by their names in the Legislative Roster and access their web page. Here are some tips on writing a persuasive letter or calling:
When writing legislators, use this format:
The Honorable (Name) Position (U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, State Senator, or State Representative) State House, Room ____________ Raleigh, NC
Dear Representative (or Senator) (Name)__________:
If possible, write your letter on your company's letterhead. Try to keep it to one page - anything longer may be ignored.
When you write or speak to officials, be persuasive and concise. Get right to the point. Let them know if you favor or oppose the legislation and why. Let them know what you would like them to do - oppose the legislation, vote in support of it, or propose an amendment and ask for a reply that clearly states what action the member plans to take. You've taken the time to contact your elected official and you're entitled to know where he/she stands. Remind them that you are following the issue closely.
Be specific in your letter or phone call. Identify the specific bill you are writing or calling about, using the official bill numbers (Example: House Bill 1000 or HB 1000). Thousands of bills are filed in the state legislature and in Congress each year. The bill number will help the legislator know which bill you mean. As a rule, never write about more than one issue per letter. Write a second letter if necessary if you want to include more.
Be friendly and polite but businesslike. Make sure you are organized and know all your facts. You should cover your position, the opposing arguments, and the reason your position is better for your business and their legislative district. Do not ramble.
Explain who you are, what business you represent, and what you and your business do. If you are a constituent and voter in their district then make sure to mention it. Talk about your business's role in the community and how many people you employ - remember your employees are voters! Emphasize what you and your business provide to the local community - private investment, contributions and support to local community groups, number of local employees... etc.
Use facts to bolster your position, provide specific examples of how a piece of legislation or a regulation impacts your business, your employees, and the region. The more local you make the argument, the more persuasive it will be.
Mention your membership in the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce. This connection will reinforce the message that the Chamber staff will be delivering in future meetings.
Your Elected Officials
NC House of Representatives
Governor Pat McCrory, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest
United States Government
The Executive Branch