Wyoming’s federal delegation discussed much-needed changes in policy and legislation with Cheyenne Business Leaders on a successful trip to Washington DC last week. Your Cheyenne Chamber represented you and your businesses by addressing the challenges facing businesses, including water rights, Sentinel Missile upgrades, housing, immigration, education and the workforce.
WY We Care: This annual trip facilitates our business community to discuss the important issues facing our community as we continue to build Wyoming’s future and help maintain the integrated relationship between community leaders, elected officials and your Cheyenne Chamber.
Too rich or too poor
Military funding took a front seat in discussions with US Senator Barrasso (WY). As budget discussions meander through the winding halls of Congress, business leaders expressed the need to ensure we maintain the dedicated funds necessary to complete ongoing Sentinel Missile upgrades and acquire new Cheyenne-based Air National Guard aircraft.
Your Cheyenne Chamber spends $200,000 annually to support and advocate for the Cheyenne and Wyoming military. This work remains a core part of the Chamber’s mission each year when the annual plan is published.
Non-compete is non-negotiable
The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) attempts to interfere with non-compete agreements have the potential to affect numerous state laws, regulations and change your company’s legal obligations. This question was a central topic of discussion with the US Chamber of Commerce’s top national economists and business advocates. The FTC’s short-sighted rules are just another example of the extreme polarization of government in recent years.
“When it comes to Washington, American business is fed up. The polarization, gridlock, overreach, and failure to act smartly and strategically for our future is making it harder for all of us to do our jobs, fulfill our roles, and move this country forward ,” said Suzanne Cork, executive director of the US Chamber.
Get off my lawn!
Stopping conflicting property purchases was also a primary topic during discussions with Congresswoman Harriet Hageman (WY). Your Cheyenne Chamber works with nationwide partners to protect our nation’s military bases from outside surveillance. National defense projects at FE Warren Air Force Base must maintain the highest level of security as we pursue the Sentinel Missile program, Wyoming’s largest economic development project to date.
“The DC Fly-In is vital to our community and allows us to represent local business face-to-face with elected officials. While other organizations may have similar DC Fly-In programs, the Cheyenne Chamber’s program allows us to keep Cheyenne and Laramie County at the forefront of their minds,” said Paula Poythress, current Chair of the Cheyenne Chamber Board of Directors.
Raise the roof
“Only one potential employee is available for every two job openings in our nation,” according to reports presented by Jack Howard, Senior VP of Strategic Advocacy at the US Chamber.
Among the hardest hit industries in Cheyenne are construction companies that desperately need skilled labor. Without improved immigration that enables our businesses to grow their workforce, Cheyenne and the surrounding region will not be able to meet increasing housing needs.
Polar politics vs moderate voters
Dramatic increases in political polarity have left voters jaded and disillusioned. The US Chamber estimates that there are only 24 true moderates left in the House of Representatives, while everyone else is rapidly polarizing and showing an inability to compromise. In contrast, research shows that 48 percent of voters identify as independents. This large-scale migration away from party politics shows how the average American has been disenfranchised by the government that represents us.
Partnering with our congressional delegation holds our legislators accountable as they represent the interests and needs of Cheyenne and Wyoming. Your Cheyenne Chamber prioritizes this mission every day as we build our region’s future.
The Colorado River belongs to Wyoming
Your drinking water is a carefully legislated right and was last negotiated in 1922. U.S. Senator Lummis (WY) represents our great state on the Colorado River Caucus in the Senate, and tensions are rising between upper basin states like Colorado and Wyoming and lower basin states like California.
Ballooning populations in lower basin states have drastically increased demand for water from the Colorado River. However, the solution is not to steal water from upper basin states that responsibly consume this integral resource. Alternative solutions must be sought to meet the needs of growing populations in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and other southwestern cities.
The big picture
The lessons and action points our community leaders took home from DC will better inform decision-making processes as Cheyenne charts its future.
“As we talk to our elected officials, we take it for granted that they know all the details of what we need in Laramie County and southeast Wyoming, but sometimes there are details they don’t know or aren’t aware of. If we don’t speak up for our companies, who will?” said Tanya Keller, community non-profit leader and vice chair of Cheyenne Chamber Advocacy. “Day in and day out, our chamber serves you, the business community, by advocating for what our community needs and wants.”