David's Blog

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Engaging in the Upcoming Elections

As the political season starts to heat up, we thought it was important to find out how our 1,251 members wanted us to treat the upcoming elections, particularly in regard to candidate endorsements. Our members indicated, loudly and clearly, that the Chamber's Political Action Committee (PAC) should not issue candidate endorsements. Instead, our members asked us to provide them with credible, timely and reliable information regarding the candidates and their positions on business-related issues.

In response, the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce is implementing a candidate-neutral education initiative designed to provide our members and the greater community the insight and information they need to cast business savvy, educated votes.

This year, Chamber members can expect the following: 1) member surveys regarding their support for various candidates; 2) access to the most comprehensive candidate information regarding their positions on business-related issues; and 3) the opportunity to attend Chamber hosted, disciplined and respectful candidate forums. The Chamber will endeavor to get this information into the hands of our members prior to both the primary and general elections.

Our work is underway. Now that the filing deadline for candidates has passed, we are distributing questionnaires to the candidates asking for their positions on issues related to: the business climate in Duluth; their specific ideas regarding how to move business forward in Duluth; and their detailed plans to make city government more efficient. You can count on the Chamber to ask direct questions pertaining to: retiree healthcare; core city services; public safety; and the city's review and approval process for development projects.

Additionally, we will host at least two mayor / city council candidate forums, both of which will be made available via the internet.

Finally, the Chamber's monthly newsletter, the Xpress, will include an educational insert in September (prior to the primary election) and again in November (prior to the general election). These inserts will highlight business issues, candidate responses, and hard hitting questions designed to get specific candidate information into the hands of our members and other Duluthians in a way that will aid in their decision making at the polls.

Because of our members' feedback, we are poised to help them vote for the candidates who will best serve their interests in what might be considered the most exciting election Duluth has seen in years.

Yours in service,
David Ross
President and CEO

posted by David Ross at

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