Focusing on Public Policy So You Can Focus on Business
The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce has been representing the interests of local businesses for over 135 years. We have played a vitally important role in the development of our community. The Chamber represents a diverse mix of businesses ranging from small family-owned enterprises to large multi-national corporations. Our membership accounts for the overwhelming majority of the employment and economic activity in the Walla Walla Valley.
In 2008, we embarked on an ambitious mission to develop a public policy constituency that could have a substantial influence on decisions that are likely to have a significant long-term impact on our region's business climate and economic activity in the Walla Walla Valley.
Through our advocacy efforts, the Chamber has ensured that the voice of business is heard and considered when important policy decisions are made. Additionally, we strive to have legislative priorities remain focused on ways to enable and encourage the private sector to grow and thrive. Our advocacy efforts on issues that are vitally important to the entire business community include things such as: business regulation, taxation, unemployment insurance, education and infrastructure needs and requirements. By consistently advocating for smart, well planned and fiscally responsible policies, we have developed the expertise and contacts to make a real difference for our community and for your business.
As business leaders, we recognize and understand that it is not always possible for business owners to set aside the ever present demands of running a business in order to lend their voices to public policy discussions, and that is why we believe that our advocacy work is vitally important. We fill the gap and make sure that business interests are heard and considered.
In short, we focus on public policy so you can focus on business.
Advocating for the Business Community
Every year there are numerous public policy issues that arise at the local, state and federal levels that have the potential to have a significant impact on our business climate and on your bottom line. Here are just a few examples of the advocacy work that we do on your behalf:
- Aggressively lobbied against a proposal to close the main institution at the Washington State Penitentiary, which would have resulted in the loss of over 300 local jobs. Working with other local leaders, we avoided this devastating scenario and obtained almost $50 million dollars in capital funds for the design and construction of new units that will ensure that WSP remains an integral part of our local economy well into the future.
- Helped lead the establishment of a Transportation Benefit District to provide funding for the maintenance and repair of Walla Walla's streets. This was the first successful effort to address our city's decaying transportation infrastructure in over two decades.
- Advocated for the reinstatement of a tax credit to provide incentives to attract motion picture and commercial productions to the State of Washington.
- Collaborated with community leaders to form the Commercial Air Coalition, which has been working to preserve commercial air service in the Walla Walla Valley. Recently met with the President/CEO and other top executives at Alaska Air Group to address some of the challenges they face in our market. The Coalition has built a good relationship with Alaska Air and was successful in its efforts to obtain a $250,000 federal grant to support our efforts to grow our market.
- Supported congressional efforts to establish a free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea, which reduced or eliminated duties on agricultural products including cherries, asparagus, wine and apples.
- Opposed efforts in the Washington State Legislature to impose burdensome regulations on employers in areas ranging from sick leave to bullying in the workplace.
- Held Legislative 411 conference call sessions to provide Chamber members with direct access to their elected officials.