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Craig Whitney, Published December 19 2010

Chamber, legislators collaborate

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce this month hosted a 2011 Session Priorities meeting of its Public Affairs Committee. Nearly 50 people attended, including nine state legislators from around North Dakota. The meeting was an opportunity for legislators to learn the chamber’s priorities for the coming year.

As the president of this regional chamber, which has a goal of being far more involved in legislative issues affecting our business community, I applaud these leaders for the sacrifices involved in public service. We are committed to being in constant communication with them on issues that are important to business.

In early January, the chamber will distribute its 2011 Public Affairs Agenda, which identifies five key issues as top priorities for the chamber:

I am pleased with the budget recommendations outlined by Gov. Jack Dalrymple. I’m particularly encouraged to see a commitment to infrastructure in the west. Attention to this area is key to the economic vitality of the entire state. Our chamber is very supportive of this.

Another issue the chamber is planning to champion is higher education and the value our state universities provide. Higher education and research universities highly impact the business community, and the chamber is especially aware of the contributions made by North Dakota State University and what it means to the F-M area. Property tax relief and no increased taxes in this new budget will continue to position the state of North Dakota to help fuel a robust economy.

Over the summer, the chamber worked to grow its Public Affairs Committee in both size and expertise, a process that culminated in the establishment of seven subcommittees focused on priority-issue areas. The level of engagement of our business community is nothing short of inspiring and will drive our work in the state capitals.

For a copy of the chamber’s legislative agenda or more information on how to get involved, visit FMChamber.com.

Whitney is president/CEO of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.