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Message from the Public Affairs Committee Chair

Written by 2010-11 Committee Chair Doug Vang

We have been known for many years as the Regional Issues Committee. In that capacity we tried to create awareness of and interest in the various issues that impacted us as a regional center for commerce. This included both people locally in our region as well as policy makers in Bismarck, St. Paul and Washington.  This approach met our needs during this time, but now we need to re-examine our approach and its effectiveness for our membership. We have determined the time has come for a new approach. An approach that will provide more value, an approach that is more suitable for our fast paced community and an approach that will create some buzz!

The role of the Public Affairs Committee is to be proactive in identifying, creating public awareness and advocating positions on matters that are meaningful to our members in moving our great community forward into the future.  In sum, take a public stand on issues that are important to us to better the ultimate outcome of those issues.

Our plan is to utilize a sub-committee structure to conquer our challenge of more work in a shorter time horizon. Each of these committees will have volunteer leadership structure integrated with the Public Affairs Committee as a whole and our Chamber Board. They will have focused agendas and time lines within which to develop their work.

We need your talents. That includes those of you who are interested in direct involvement with the Public Affairs Committee and/or the subcommittees. That includes your ideas, perspectives and opinions on what we should be addressing as well as the positions we should take (or not take) on the many issues that we will have in front of us.

We need you to invite us in to your groups to gain greater clarity and understanding of what we are doing as well as to gather the perspective of those groups. We need your patience and counsel on how to be more effective in advocating for our membership in the coming months and years. We need to discover and work with our limits as to how far the Chamber should or can go in public advocacy before the effort really becomes the domain of a specific trade or industry association or an individual business. We need to determine what our resource needs are and how to deploy them effectively.

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