Advocacy in Action

One of the most valuable and often overlooked functions of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber is its role as the region’s most powerful champion for the business community. The Chamber is uniquely positioned at the crossroads that connect businesses of all sizes and industries, non-profits, and local and state government to tackle the tough issues and get things done. Whether it is setting legislative goals, updating members, engaging elected officials or keeping people informed through its events, the Chamber is on the front lines, focused on promoting what is best for local businesses and that will help the region prosper.

A delegation of Chamber staff and members meet at the State House with Senator Harriett Chandler’s General Counsel to discuss a legislative issue.

“We speak loudest when we speak with one voice. We do this through the strong network of business and community leaders that come together through the Chamber to advocate for their businesses and the advancement of the region,” said Stephen Mullaney, President of SJ Mullaney Engineering and a Past Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “As the largest and most effective business organization in North Central Massachusetts, the Chamber is a powerful influence for positive change. No other organization has the ability to pull together influential leaders and community stakeholders like the Chamber.”

The Chamber has built strong relationships with elected officials throughout the region to effectively represent members and their interests. “Our only agenda is to effectively serve our members and to advance North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of Chamber. “I am proud that we are able to work closely with our elected officials – regardless of their party affiliation or office – to advocate for the region and a positive business climate.”

“Without a doubt, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber is the most influential and effective business organization in the region,” said Bruce Platzman, CEO of AIS, Inc. in Leominster. “If there is a critical issue that affects local businesses, the Chamber is there working to convene key decision makers to ensure that their voice is heard and that their concerns are addressed.”

One of the Chamber’s most notable successes this past year was improving the commercial and industrial tax burden in Fitchburg and Clinton. Both communities have struggled in the past with an excessive tax rate for businesses that has hampered economic growth.

As part of its advocacy efforts, the Chamber also provides numerous opportunities throughout the year for members to come together at

Christopher McDermott, the Chamber’s Public Affairs Manager testifies at the State House on education reform.

various events, forums and meetings. The goal with these programs is to make sure that members are informed and that they have a voice in decisions that impact the communities of North Central Massachusetts. Even if members can’t find the time to participate in these programs, they can take comfort in knowing the Chamber is working diligently on behalf of their business. It is one of the few Chambers in the state with a registered lobbyist- Christopher McDermott- on its professional staff. On occasion, the Chamber will also hire outside experts or partner with other trade associations to get more done for members. The Chamber also maintains a member-led Government Affairs Committee, which plays an important role in guiding its advocacy efforts. This non-partisan committee is comprised of members from diverse industries and is responsible for reviewing pending issues for their impact, developing positions and advising the staff on programs that inform and encourage member involvement in its government affairs initiatives.

“As a member of the Chamber’s government affairs committee, I have seen first-hand how this Chamber is an influential voice for North Central Massachusetts,” said Lea Ann Scales, Vice President of Enrollment and Public Affairs at Mount Wachusett Community College. “They provide genuine leadership to influence the issues that impact our region.”

Congresswoman Lori Trahan meets with members of the Chamber’s Leadership Council to discuss federal priorities.

This fall, the Chamber’s events calendar will put the Chamber’s proactive advocacy efforts on full display. September’s Legislative andCandidates Reception will bring the region’s elected officials, business leaders, and office seekers together in one place to connect over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. One of the region’s most anticipated events, the reception attracts over 150 business and community leaders. In October, the Chamber’s Congressional Luncheon, featuring the newly appointed Chair of the House Rules Committee – Congressman Jim McGovern – and the newly elected U.S. Representative for the state’s Third CongressionalDistrict – Congresswoman Lori Trahan. These annual events will be complimented by theChamber’s Good Morning North Central breakfast series. Our September breakfast featured House Speaker Robert DeLeo followed in November by Governor Charlie Baker. These events all represent a unique opportunity to directly engage with policy leaders who impact businesses on a daily basis.

As a member, you have all of the Chamber’s resources and connections at your fingertips, and we encourage you to take advantage of that benefit and stay connected. If you have an issue or policy concern that you believe the Chamber should be aware of, please reach out to Christopher McDermott at 978.353.7600 ext. 224 or email him at ◊

This story is from the latest Chamber Report