BY: Sara Odendahl // Bend Chamber Government Affairs
Earlier this week Chamber members made the trek over to the State Capitol in Salem for the annual Day at the Capitol event. The group included Board members, Bend YP members, Leadership Bend alumni and others interested in the legislative process. Central Oregon was well represented in the building as students from OSU-Cascades were also at the Capitol advocating for the proposed Student Success Center, a shared priority for both the Chamber and OSU.
Though it was a long 14 hour day, it was time well spent advocating for the Chamber’s legislative priorities and learning about the legislative process.
The day started off with a formal welcome, called a courtesy, on the House floor from Representatives Cheri Helt (R-Bend) and Jack Zika (R-Redmond). The Bend Chamber was recognized for their outstanding community engagement and advocacy on issues affecting Central Oregon businesses. The group also observed floor work in the House Chamber as there were several bills up for debate and discussion.
Later in the morning, Representatives Helt and Zika, along with Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) met with the group to discuss specific legislative priorities.
The top priorities for the 2020 short season include:
- Funding for the OSU-Cascades Student Success Center
- Funding for additional Deschutes County judges
- Funding for navigation centers to help homeless individuals and families access temporary housing and other wrap around services
- Support for a new outdoor product accelerator grant program
- Support for a new small business loan program focused on women and minority owned businesses
- Opposition of changes to the state’s Opportunity Zone program, an important economic development program currently used to develop Bend’s Central District corridor
- Education about key concerns with the implementation of the Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) passed in the 2019 session
Chamber members also had the opportunity to meet with the Governor’s Office, State Treasurer Tobias Read and key legislators to discuss these priorities, and build relationships with policymakers on both sides of the aisle.
Though it was a long 14 hour day, it was time well spent advocating for the Chamber’s legislative priorities and learning about the legislative process. Thanks to all who participated as your voices matter! For more information about the Chamber’s legislative priorities, please visit the Advocacy section of the Chamber website.