The last few months have been some of the most active any on Beacon or Capitol Hill can remember, and the Chamber’s staff has worked hard to keep pace. Well before the supposed “Grand Bargain” made headlines, the Chamber had reviewed the list of initiatives likely to move forward at that time and developed a concise voter’s guide explaining how passage of each would impact the business community. As events took shape in the days and weeks that followed, the staff ensured that this community remained informed. The Chamber hosted Senate President Chandler at a breakfast forum the morning after the Bargain was announced and issued a statement urging both parties to withdraw their petitions shortly after. Now, with only one of the original five key issues remaining, the Chamber continues to advocate on behalf of local healthcare providers and against arbitrary, government imposed staffing requirements in our hospitals.
As important as voicing our members’ concerns in Boston may be, the Chamber has kept a close watch on events in Washington as well. Recognizing the region’s dire need for skilled labor, the Chamber’s President and CEO, Roy Nascimento, joined business leaders from across the nation in signing a letter urging the US Senate to pass the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. This Act represents the largest block of funding for high school education in the federal budget and would reinstate a Reagan era program that supported skills related training until it lapsed in 2016.
Like many industry groups, the Chamber is also deeply concerned by the current rhetoric surrounding trade and tariffs. With the Trump Administration levying taxes on imports from the Commonwealth’s three largest trading partners- Canada, Mexico, and China- and those nations responding in kind, the need to identify a coherent policy with which to move ahead is clear. The Staff has begun conducting research into this topic and plans to bring a platform forward with the new Public Affairs Agenda in September. In the meantime, the Chamber will continue to monitor developments at the local, state, and federal levels, ensuring that the needs and concerns of North Central Massachusetts’ businesses are accounted for in the discourse.