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State Legislators Gather to Discuss Chamber Priorities

Fargo Moorhead, ND/MN (December 9, 2010) – The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce today hosted a 2011 Session Priorities meeting of its Public Affairs committee. Nearly 50 people attended, including nine state legislators from North Dakota. The meeting was an opportunity for legislators to learn the Chamber’s priorities for the coming year.

Chamber President Craig Whitney welcomed legislators and applauded them for the sacrifices involved in public service.

“The Chamber has an interest in being far more involved in public policy,” said Chamber President Craig Whitney. “Our legislators will hear from us 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:
1. Permanent Flood Protection
2. Commitment to research-level funding for the North Dakota University System
3. Health Care
4. Education alignment with high standards
5. Transportation reauthorization

The Chamber worked to grow its Public Affairs committee in both size and expertise over the summer, a process which culminated in the establishment of six sub-committees focused on priority issue areas. At today’s meeting, chairs of each committee reported on their goals for the year and received feedback from legislators on work currently being done at the states’ capitals.

“I am very pleased with the budget recommendations outlined by Governor Jack Dalrymple Wednesday in Bismarck,” said Whitney. “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,” said Whitney. “No increased taxes and property tax relief in this new budget will continue to position the state of North Dakota to help fuel a robust economy.”

North Dakota State Senator Judy Lee confirmed the value of Chamber representatives reaching out to legislators regarding business issues, and implored individual committee members to keep in touch with their district Senators.

“Citizen calls are the most influential,” said Lee. “Rent a bus and come observe the legislative committees at work. It’s fun and exciting to see how your state works.”

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce is a bi-state, regional federation of more than 1,950 private, public and nonprofit members, representing more than 89,000 employees. The Chamber advocates for a strong metropolitan community and supports the interests of its members, which are located in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Dilworth, Cass and Clay Counties and beyond.

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