Last week, the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce held its 3rd annual Klamath Day at the Capitol, an important day of advocacy for the Klamath Basin. The delegation met with over 40 Senators and Representatives as well as 4 different agencies to address opportunities and concerns of the local community.
“This helps give the Klamath business community a voice with our elected officials,” said Heather Tramp, the Chamber’s Executive Director, “I believe it’s one of the most important things we can do for our membership – represent business interest and advocate for opportunity and solutions.”
Each year, the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, together with other community leaders, prepares a list of priorities to discuss with elected officials. The list is developed to address community needs as well as respond to pending legislation at the state level.
“We schedule this while the legislature is in session and we follow closely any proposed legislation that could affect business,” said Joe Spendolini, Chair of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee.
In addition to watching these bills, the committee looks for pro-active solutions to some of Klamath County’s concerns. This year’s priorities included:
Opposition to costly and unnecessary House Bill 2020 (aka Cap and Trade) which would immediately raise fuel prices 15 cents a gallon and increase residential heating costs nearly 11%
Opposition to SB608 (rent control) as it could negatively impact Klamath’s housing shortage
Support of the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline and Jordan Cove project which would bring just over $5 million annually in tax revenue to Klamath County and its special taxing districts, create thousands of jobs during the construction phase, and stimulate a boom in economic activity
Support for HB2847 which would provide income tax credits for rural health care practitioners and potentially help the Klamath Basin recruit and attract more practitioners
Support for funding Business Oregon’s Rural Opportunity Initiative which has helped fund the Klamath IDEA as well as support for SB258, both of which provide economic development monies to rural areas to increase entrepreneurial capacity
Opposition to Senate Bill 51 which attempts to remedy water issues by giving the department statutory authority to change type of use but does not address the transfer of stored water to a different location or place of use.
In addition to these priorities, the group met with the directors of Business Oregon, DEQ, and Oregon Water Resources Department to share concerns about water quality, economic development, and more.
“This is where it starts, making our voices heard,” said Randy Shaw, Coldwell Banker, “We take that voice and go talk to the people who need to hear it. Our senators, representatives, and the agencies that affect our community.”
This year’s delegation was made up of members of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee and other community leaders including:
Heather Tramp, Executive Director - Klamath County Chamber of Commerce
Joe Spendolini, Chair - Klamath County Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee
George Ormsbee, President - Klamath County Chamber of Commerce
Donnie Boyd, Klamath County Commissioner
Col. Jeff Edwards, 173rd Fighter Wing, Kingsley Field
Capt. Rich Shuster, 173rd Fighter Wing, Kingsley Field
Betty Riley, Executive Director - South Central Oregon Economic Development District
Randy Shaw, Coldwell Banker Holman Premier Realty
Scott White, Flyway Management Services
John Longley, Klamath County Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs
Todd Andres, Pacific Power
Marissa Davidson, Klamath County Chamber of Commerce
“I need to take a minute to thank these leaders who took time out from their days to travel with us and represent Klamath County in a positive light while championing for solutions and opportunity,” said Heather Tramp. Tramp stressed that the work is not done and the Oregon Legislature is in session for two more months. The Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee will continue to watch legislation closely and will continue to provide a voice when necessary.
“Overall, our trip was productive. We’ve already seen progress on a few of the issues and I’m hoping we can provide a positive update in the near future on a few items,” said Tramp. To learn more about the Chamber and its Government Affairs Committee, visit www.klamath.org.
Press release and photography provided from the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce.