Category Archives: Government Affairs

Chamber’s Albany-Dougherty Day 2024 celebrates community, leadership, partnerships

 

A delegation of community leaders along with Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp celebrated Albany-Dougherty Day at the Capitol on January 29-30. Albany-Dougherty Day is the Albany Area Chamber’s signature state legislative event.

 

January 29-30, 2024

Albany-Dougherty Day 2024: Celebrating Community Leadership, Unity, and Legislative Engagement

Atlanta — Albany-Dougherty Day 2024, hosted in Atlanta Monday and Tuesday by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, culminated as a resounding success, showcasing the collective strength and unity of the Albany community. This signature state legislative event drew a local delegation of nearly 50 private, public and elected partners for a  two-day event program that includes a legislative reception and meetings with legislators at the Georgia State Capitol.

“The success of Albany-Dougherty Day 2024 is a testament to the collaborative spirit and dedication of our community, and to our persistence in ensuring we are seen and heard at the Georgia State Capitol,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. “This annual event highlights the importance of engaging with our elected officials, reinforces the strength of our local and state partnerships and reflects Albany’s position as a key economic hub supporting Georgia’s unmatched competitiveness.”

The public-private collaboration was underscored by participation from Albany Mayor Bo Dorough, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Lorenzo Heard, Albany Area Chamber Chair Jeretha Peters and members of their respective bodies. Sen. Freddie Powell Sims and Reps. Gerald Geene, Bill Yearta, Mike Cheokas – members of the Albany Area state legislative delegation – participated in the programs, as did leadership from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

The program commenced Monday with the Albany-Dougherty Day Legislative Reception at the Nathan Deal Judicial Center, home of the Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals. The center’s second-floor terrace, which overlooks Georgia’s Gold Dome, played host to a sunset reception during which local participants mingled with esteemed guests including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp; Lt. Gov. Burt Jones; Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr; Commissioner John King of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and Fire Safety; Commissioner Tyler Harper of the Georgia Department of Agriculture; Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger; and Judge Ken Hodges of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

The attendance of the state’s highest-ranking elected officials and additional leadership from the House of Representatives, Georgia Senate, state agencies and the judiciary emphasized Albany’s role as a key fixture in the state’s political and economic landscape.

“Ensuring our state officials are aware of the policy positions of the Albany Area Chamber and how they impact our member organizations and the region’s economic competitiveness is a core function of the Chamber’s advocacy program,” said Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adams Exterminators and chair of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Division. “Equally important is building and strengthening our relationships with state leadership. Albany-Dougherty Day is a conduit for that.”

Tuesday’s legislative program in the Capitol was marked by a series of engaging discussions with agency leadership and elected officials, providing valuable insights into what’s ahead during the 2024 legislative session. The sessions laid the groundwork for participants to engage in a unique experience with Georgia decision makers playing roles in the issues that matter most to the Chamber and the delegation, including smart fiscal policy, education and talent, defense and military, economic development and health care.

Participants had the opportunity to hear from House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration; Sen. Chuck Payne, chairman of the Senate’s committee on veterans, military and homeland security; Chairman Matt Bonner from the House’s committee on defense and veterans; Commissioner Greg Dozier of the Technical College System of Georgia; and Kristi Birgman, deputy commissioner for global commerce with the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

The mid-morning session included a commendation presentation with Kemp and a floor visit to the Georgia Senate, from whose well Holmes brought remarks on behalf of the community and addressed the senatorial body.

The scheduled events of the day came to a close with a “State of Health Policy” panel composed of Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Russel Carlson, Deputy Commissioner Grant Thomas and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dean Burke; Chairman Butch Parrish of the House Special Committee on Healthcare; Chairman Ben Watson of the Senate Health Committee; Caylee Noggle, CEO of the Georgia Hospital Association (GH.A); Phoebe Putney Health System CEO Scott Steiner, chair-elect of GHA.

Amidst the various sessions, Albany-Dougherty leaders actively advocated for legislative priorities crucial to the region’s growth. Notably, discussions emphasized the need for increased state funding to support local initiatives including the establishment of a VECTR (Veterans Education Career Transition Resource) center at Albany Technical College. The proposed $17.4 million center aims to enhance veteran employment opportunities in the area, aligning with broader local and state efforts to support and empower active military, veterans and military families. VECTR Albany is a key priority of Albany Technical College and the Albany Area Chamber.

The Chamber’s government affairs program is sponsored by AB&T, Phoebe Putney Health System, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, the City of Albany, Dougherty County, Dougherty County School System, Albany Area Primary Healthcare, Albany State University, Albany Technical College, Mclendon Acres, OmniTRAX Industrial Development, AT&T, Horizon Community Solutions, LRA Constructors, Molson Coors, Adams Exterminators and Georgia CEO.  Representatives from sponsoring organizations participated in the program.

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About the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce

The Albany Area Chamber, founded in 1910, is leading a multi-year strategic effort to advance business success and economic opportunities in Albany and the Albany Area. Learn more at www.albanyga.com.

Albany Area Chamber-led delegation advocates in DC on funding, policy, defense

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 15, 2023

 

Contact:

Barbara Rivera Holmes

(229) 434-8700

bholmes@albanyga.com

 

Albany Area Chamber-led delegation advocates in DC on funding, policy, defense

Albany – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce last week led a delegation of local leaders to Washington, D.C., for its annual “DC Fly In,” the organization’s long-standing annual federal advocacy event. The delegation, representing the public and private sectors, met with defense officials and federal lawmakers on the issues most vital to Albany and Southwest Georgia.

The two-day, policy-intensive event included meetings with the Albany Area Congressional Delegation — U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock — and the Pentagon-based leadership of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (MCLB Albany) and Marine Corps Logistics Command, including Meredith Berger, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, and Lt. Gen. Edward Banta, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Installations & Logistics. Col. Michael Fitzgerald, commanding officer of MCLB Albany, participated in the Pentagon discussions.

During meetings the delegation provided updates on a variety of fronts including Albany as a military community of excellence and MCLB Albany as a defense leader in energy security and logistics innovation; economic development and Albany as a premier industry location; health care delivery and expansion of services to meet regional needs; education and employer-led initiatives aimed at developing the talent pipeline in high-demand fields; and infrastructure investment as a component of community and economic development.

“Albany-Dougherty County has, through vision, action and results positioned itself as a leader in innovative partnerships that have local, state and national impact, and this distinction is well recognized among federal leadership,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business organization, and its 501c3 affiliate, the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. “Through the Albany Area Chamber’s DC Fly In our community demonstrates a united front in our nation’s capital, shares views on federal issues that impact businesses and the community, builds allies with national leaders and advocates for funding and policies that advance and bolster our talent, development and defense initiatives.”

The advocacy event is aimed at informing leaders on local priorities and initiatives, and requesting support for critical components of the community’s overall framework for development. Calls for Congressional support include:

  • DEFENSE: $46 million for mission-critical consolidated communications center at MCLBA that enables full utilization of the base’s 5G capabilities and strengthens communications resiliency and readiness; and $56 million for operational readiness facility at Albany-based Headquarters Marine Corps Logistics Command as a required component of the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 strategy.
  • TALENT & HEALTH CARE: Investments in talent initiatives and projects that amplify the employer-led work force pipeline and in health care projects that address critical-need areas; and smart immigration policy reforms to support work force demands, boost economic growth, create jobs, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship,
  • INFRASTRUCTURE: Investments in federally-mandated infrastructure improvements including the city of Albany’s combined sewer separation project.

“The Albany Area Chamber spearheads our community’s advocacy initiatives with audiences including the Albany Area Congressional Delegation and U.S. Marine Corps leadership, and is the conduit through which the business community connects, convenes and collaborates,” said Chandu Kuntawala, 2023 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber and a program manager at Booz Allen Hamilton “The Chamber’s Government Affairs Division – along with its four other member-led committees that help drive organization’s overall objectives – embodies the mission of the Chamber as a center point through which the business community is empowered to take action and design the path.”

The local delegation also met with senior leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discussing work force and talent; federal policies and regulations that impact businesses; and national economic forecast.

“A strong, united voice is central to the Chamber’s mission and to its role as the region’s leading business organization,” said Bridges Sinyard, chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs division and vice president of Adam’s Exterminators. “We further advance business and community success by building strong relationships between business leaders, elected officials and decision makers, and, with Albany’s role as a leading military community, build the community-Corps relationships that advance the nation’s defense efforts.”

The DC Fly In is a component of the Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs division. The program is program is supported by AB&T; Adams Exterminators; Albany Area Primary Health Care; the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany State University; Albany Technical College; AT&T; the City of Albany; Dougherty County; the Dougherty County School System; Georgia CEO; Georgia Power; Horizons Community Solutions; McLendon Acres; Molson Coors; and Phoebe Putney Health System.

Visit bit.ly/AACCLegislativeAgenda2023 to view the Albany Area Chamber’s 2023 legislative agenda.


 

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1910, is leading a multi-year strategic effort to advance the business success and economic opportunities in Albany and the Albany Area. Learn more at www.albanyga.com. 

 

A delegation of business and community leaders traveled to the nation’s capital this week as part of the Albany Area Chamber’s policy-intensive DC Fly In to meet with defense officials and federal lawmakers on the issues most vital to Albany and Southwest Georgia. The delegation is pictured here with U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D, GA).

 

Albany Area Chamber leads local delegation to Washington, D.C. in federal advocacy event

Albany Area Chamber President & CEO Barbara Rivera Holmes engages in discussion with U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop on critical needs of Albany and Southwest Georgia.

Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce last week led a delegation of local leaders to Washington, D.C., for the annual “DC Fly In,” the organization’s long-standing annual federal advocacy event. The delegation, representing the public and private sectors, met with national leaders and lawmakers on issues most vital to Albany and Southwest Georgia.

The two-day event included meetings with the Albany Area Congressional delegation — U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop; the office of U.S. Rep. Austin Scott; U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff; and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock — and the Pentagon-based leadership of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (MCLB Albany) and Marine Corps Logistics Command (Logcom), including Meredith Berger, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, and Lt. Gen. Edward Banta, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Installations & Logistics. Col. Michael Fitzgerald, commanding officer of MCLB Albany, and Maj. Gen. Keith Reventlow, commanding general of Logcom, participated in the Pentagon discussions.

Meetings allowed the Albany group to provide updates on a variety of fronts including economic development and Albany as a premier industry location; health care delivery and expansion of services to meet regional needs; work force development initiatives aimed at expanding the classroom-to-career pipeline in high-demand fields; infrastructure investment as a component of community and economic development, with a priority focus on broadband expansion; and MCLB Albany as a global leader in innovation and mission readiness.

“Albany-Dougherty County has, through vision and action, positioned itself as a statewide leader in collaborative partnerships, and the distinction is well recognized among state and federal leadership,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “The DC Fly In is our community’s opportunity to secure face time in our nation’s capital and two-way communication with national leaders who can bolster and advance our local initiatives through federal policy and funding.”

The advocacy event is aimed at informing leaders on local priorities, as well as requesting support for critical components of the community’s overall framework for development. Calls for Congressional support include:

  • Continued Investment in broadband expansion, which impacts education, health care, commerce and national defense
  • Smart immigration policy reforms to support work force demands, boost economic growth, create jobs, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship
  • $39 million for advancing completion of a mission-critical consolidated communications center at MCLBA
  • $56 million for an operational readiness facility at Albany-based U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Command as a required component of the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 strategy

The local delegation also met with senior leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discussing immigration policy; work force and talent; tort reform; and other federal policies and regulations that impact businesses.

“The Albany Area Chamber spearheads our community’s advocacy initiatives and is the conduit through which businesses and people connect and collaborate, and make their voices heard,” said Don Gray, 2022 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber. “The Chamber’s Government Affairs Division – along with the full spectrum of its five member-led committees that help inform the organization’s overall policy positions – embodies the mission of the Chamber as a center point through which the community is empowered to take action and create change.”

The DC Fly In is a component of the Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs Division, which advocates for policies conducive to business and community growth. The program is sponsored by Adams Exterminators; Albany Area Primary Health Care; the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany State University; Albany Technical College; AT&T; the City of Albany; Dougherty County; the Dougherty County School System; Georgia CEO; Georgia Power; Horizons Community Solutions; McLendon Acres; and Phoebe Putney Health System.

Visit bit.ly/AACCLegislativeAgenda2022 to view the Albany Area Chamber’s 2022 legislative agenda, and take the policy survey at bit.ly/PublicPolicySurvey2023 to provide input as the organization develops its 2023 priorities.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Albany Area Chamber, partners urge adoption of SPLOST VIII agreement

August 5, 2022

An open letter re: SPLOST VIII intergovernmental agreement

Commissioners of the City of Albany and of Dougherty County —

The Albany Area Chamber represents the unified interests of the business community.  The Chamber, in concert with strategic partners and community organizations, urgently encourages the city of Albany and Dougherty County to adopt an intergovernmental agreement so as to fully leverage the collections potential of the eighth special-purpose local-option sales tax, a 1 percent levy that is anticipated to generate $100 million in six years.

Without such an accord reached by August 8, the governments risk diminishing the special tax’s collection lifespan and proceeds at great burden to the businesses and citizens of Albany and Dougherty County.

The Albany Area Chamber has historically supported SPLOST, ESPLOST and TSPLOST, and successfully led the voter advocacy efforts that helped get these projects across the finish line.  That’s because we recognize the impact of the projects on our community.  These taxes are indeed special because of their project lists; because they must be approved by the voters; and because they allow for maximum local impact with limited burden on the local taxpayer.  We estimate that nearly 50 percent of the tax collection is from visitors, in essence alleviating residents of Albany and Dougherty County through a significant discount on its investment of much-needed projects and improvements.

Without SPLOST, Albany and Dougherty County could not endure the capital expense of the proposed project list that supports economic development initiatives; infrastructure improvements; downtown revitalization; tourism development; talent development and work force training; and quality of life through arts and culture. Many projects are critical; some, mandatory.  Without SPLOST, taxpayers would be forced to fund these improvements by other means, such as increased property taxes or service rates, a move that no doubt poorly positions the community to attract business investment and work force talent.

This places excessive pressure on a community recovering from COVID losses. On consumers absorbing soaring inflation rates and businesses hampered by historic labor and supply shortages.  On employers and employees positioning themselves to withstand a looming recession.  On a community that, meanwhile, is working swiftly, collaboratively and innovatively to move forward, prosper economically and provide greater opportunities for its residents and its businesses.

We are further extremely concerned that the ongoing disagreements on SPLOST will disillusion voters and create an environment for further low-voter turnout at the November elections and risk the required voter approval of the proposed tax.

Albany and Dougherty County is a strong and vibrant community.  It is one in which people want to live and businesses want to invest.  These should be safeguarded at all costs; they form the foundation for community prosperity.  To protect these and to maximize the power of this special tax, the Albany Area Chamber and partners strongly support the immediate adoption of an intergovernmental agreement that maximizes the potential of SPLOST VIII.

 

Sincerely,

 

*The Albany Area Chamber encourages Chamber and community members to express their support for an intergovernmental agreement on SPLOST VIII to be reached by August 8.*

 

Click here to download the template advocacy letter that you can sign and send to your city and county commissioners.

 

Albany Area Chamber leads local delegation in “Albany-Dougherty Day” in state capitol

For Immediate Release
Contact: Reedi Hawkins Mabrey
rmabrey@albanyga.com
(229) 434-8700

February 25, 2022

 

Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce this week led a diverse delegation of local leaders from the public and private sectors to Atlanta as part of the Chamber’s long-standing Albany-Dougherty Day, a government affairs advocacy program that uniquely positions the community’s priorities and opportunities and showcases the impact of its leadership and collaboration.

The legislative event included meetings with the Office of Gov. Brian Kemp; Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan; the Georgia Chamber of Commerce; University System of Georgia; Technical College System of Georgia, Georgia Department of Agriculture; and members of the Albany Area Legislative Delegation, in which state leaders touted Albany-Dougherty County’s spirit of collaboration, and its tenacity in facing challenges presented by the pandemic, having developed innovative solutions and partnerships in work force, health care and industry.

“Albany-Dougherty County is well-recognized as the hub of Southwest Georgia and a statewide leader in exemplifying the power of partnership, which was demonstrated this week through the diverse delegation of local leaders engaged in discussions at the table,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “The Albany Area Chamber is the region’s largest business advocacy organization, connecting and convening nearly 800 area businesses and community partners, and facilitating the representation of their legislative priorities on the local, state and federal levels. The Albany-Dougherty Day legislative event is our annual opportunity to present a collective front to state lawmakers and key influencers, demonstrating shared vision and community support on priorities most vital to the long-term success of Albany and its surrounding counties.”

The Albany Area Chamber’s 2022 pro-business legislative priorities include expansion of the health care professional pipeline to ensure Georgia has the work force to provide the care and services citizens need, and supporting telemedicine to increase access to care for rural Georgians; investing in rural broadband and rural innovation, which is critical to supporting educational attainment, economic growth and utilization of telehealth services; supporting incentives and initiatives that remove barriers for small businesses and expand access to resources; and increased investment in transportation infrastructure to support Georgia’s distribution and logistics industries. Additionally, the Chamber is advocating for state appropriations to support the health professions simulation lab at Albany State University; the expansion of the diesel mechanic and auto collision center at Albany Technical College; and doubling capacity of pre-K slots within the Dougherty County School System.

The local leadership delegation included representatives from the City of Albany; Dougherty County; the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany State University; Albany Technical College; the Dougherty County School System; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany; Albany Area Primary Health Care; Phoebe Putney Health System; and private sector businesses in agriculture, small business and industry. The program is further supported Adams Exterminators, AT&T, Georgia CEO, Georgia Power, Horizons Community Solutions and McLendon Acres.

Albany-Dougherty Day is a component of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Division, comprised of member business representatives, and chaired by Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adam’s Exterminators.

 

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Albany Area Chamber-led delegation advocates in DC

 

 

Big issues were on the table with federal leaders during Albany Area Chamber’s Washington, DC, Fly In, an annual legislative event.

 

September 23, 2021

 

Albany-Dougherty Leaders Meet with Congressional Delegation

Albany Area Chamber-led program advocates in nation’s capital

 

Albany – Big issues were on the table this week as business and community leaders led by the Albany Area Chamber met with federal partners as part of the Chamber’s Washington, DC, Fly In, an annual legislative event that advocates for policies, regulations and initiatives that advance the community and economic opportunities and that support Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

 

During the two-day event leaders met with the Albany Area Congressional delegation — U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop; U.S. Rep. Austin Scott; U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff; and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock — and the Pentagon-based leadership of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command, strengthening the community-corps relationship, showcasing the local partnerships, synergies and relationships that support mission readiness and future capabilities.

 

“Through vision and action Albany has positioned itself as a leader in collaborative partnerships, resiliency and innovation. This week’s meetings with our Congressional delegation and Marine Corps leadership reinforce the commitment of the Albany Area Chamber and of Albany and Dougherty County to working on tough issues and to working together at all levels,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business advocacy organization. “We’re communicating and advocating in real time on that which impacts Albany’s competitiveness — from business regulations, pandemic recovery and the nation’s health and labor crisis to broadband expansion, infrastructure improvements and modernization initiatives that support Marine Corps mission readiness.”

 

The local delegation, which included private and public sector leadership, also met with senior leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discussing immigration policy; work force; diversity, equity and inclusion; child care tax credits; and other federal policies and regulations that impact businesses.

 

“We’re stronger together, and we thank our local partners for engaging in this meaningful work and presenting a united force to our leaders in Washington,” said Matt Reed, 2021 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber.

 

A key priority of the Albany Area Chamber is supporting the mission and capabilities of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and its major tenant, Headquarters Marine Corps Logistics Command, both of which are vital to the Marine Corps’ readiness.  The Fly In’s meeting with U.S. Marine Corps leadership at the Pentagon — which included Lt. Gen. Edward D. Banta, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Installations and Logistics; Steven Morani, acting assistant secretary for of defense for sustainment; and Maj. Gen. David Maxwell, the Marine Corp’s vice director for logistics — allowed for discussion of key areas including utilization of 5G technology aboard the installation to support the modernization of the industrial base and enhance mission-readiness capabilities such as centralized communications systems, smart warehousing, talent acquisition, health care, additive manufacturing, and advanced weapons systems maintenance, storage and sustainment. Maj. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commanding general of LOGCOM, and Col. Michael Fitzgerald, commanding officer of MCLB Albany, participated in the discussions.

 

“The base and command are leading innovators within the Corps and the broader U.S. Department of Defense. Ongoing investments are critical to modernize our facilities, our capabilities and our Marines and ensure mission readiness,” said Don Gray, vice chair of the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee and 2022 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber.

 

“I’m very pleased with the value of the Chamber’s DC Fly In and the work that we were able to accomplish.  We were able to interact with Marine leadership at the Pentagon, understand our base’s needs for the future,” said Christopher S. Cohilas, chairman of the Dougherty County Commission. “We were then able to directly advocate with our Congressmen and Senators not only regarding our base’s needs, but further in distinguishing why MCLB-Albany is the most efficient DOD installation and why its practices and partnerships within the community should be mirrored by other installations around the country.”

 

The Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs program, of which the DC Fly In is one component, is sponsored by AB&T; Albany Area Primary Health Care; the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany Technical College; the city of Albany; Dougherty County; the Dougherty County School System; Georgia CEO; LRA Constructors; and Phoebe.

 

The Albany Area Chamber is represented in Washington, D.C., by Cornerstone Government Affairs.

 

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Albany Area Chamber hosts Albany-Dougherty Day at Capitol

 

February 25, 2021

 

Albany Area Chamber hosts Albany-Dougherty Day at state capital

Chamber-led community delegation advocates opportunities, policies, resources

 

Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce this week led a diverse delegation of local leaders from the public and private sectors to Atlanta as part of the Chamber’s long-standing Albany-Dougherty Day, a government affairs advocacy program that uniquely positions the community’s opportunities and partnerships and showcases the impact of its leadership and innovation.

The legislative event highlighted Albany’s resiliency during discussions with key state decision makers and partners — including the office of Gov. Brian Kemp, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Albany Area legislative delegation — who noted the community’s exemplary and decisive response to managing the pandemic; its role as a leader in rural innovation and rural health care; its efforts to expand rural broadband service and reliability throughout the Albany Area; and its economic opportunities in the growing areas of manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and health care services.

“Through vision and action Albany has positioned itself as a statewide leader in collaborative partnerships, resiliency and innovation. Our present is exciting; our future more so,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s largest business advocacy organization. “The Albany Area Chamber will continue to accelerate impact by leveraging partnerships and opportunities; convening and connecting stakeholders and leaders; and driving transformational change for Albany and the Albany Area.”

The Albany Area Chamber’s 2021 pro-business legislative priorities include investing in rural broadband and rural innovation, which is critical to supporting educational attainment, economic growth and utilization of telehealth services; the expansion of the health care professional pipeline to ensure Georgia has the work force to provide the care and services citizens need, and supporting telemedicine to increase access to care for rural Georgians; small business liability protections; support incentives and initiatives that remove barriers for small businesses, that expand access to resources and that have proven to assist companies in investing and expanding their footprint in Georgia, which has been ranked the No. 1 state for business eight years in a row.

The local leadership delegation included representatives from the Commodore Conyers College & Career Academy; AB&T; the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany Area Primary Health Care; Albany Technical College; the city of Albany; Dougherty County; Georgia CEO; LRA Constructors; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany; Phoebe Putney Health System; and the office of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany.

Albany-Dougherty Day is a component of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Division, chaired by Jake Reese, vice president of LRA Constructors in Albany.

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Highlighting the Albany Area Chamber’s 2021 State Legislative Agenda

 

Advocating for a healthy business climate is a programmatic pillar of what we do at the Albany Area Chamber. On Monday, the Georgia General Assembly gaveled in the 2021 legislative session. Georgia is the No. 1 state for business, and has been eight years in a row; the prosperity of the Albany Area and Southwest Georgia contributes to that historic ranking. The Albany Area Chamber will continue actively advocating policy to enhance the Albany Area’s business environment and its quality of life — and, that of Georgia.

Prior to the beginning of the session, the Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC), led by GAC Chairman Jake Reese of LRA Constructors, worked through the fall of 2020 developing our 2021 State Legislative Agenda. This set of priorities was approved by the Albany Area Chamber Board of Directors in November 2020. Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, presented the priorities to the Albany Area state legislative delegation during a pre-session meeting with other business and community organizations, and strategic partners.

The Albany Area Chamber’s state legislative priorities are listed below. As the 2021 legislative session begins, we want to say how much we appreciate the opportunity to work with our Albany Area state delegation — Senator Freddie Powell Sims and Representatives Gerald Greene, Winfred Dukes, CaMia Hopson and Bill Yearta — and other state leaders, as we have for many years, to advance our priorities.

2021 STATE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

Funding Priorities

  • $6.9 million for construction of the regional health professions simulation lab at Albany State University, which would create increased opportunities for health professions students and better equip them to enter the work force
  • $8 million for the Diesel Equipment & Auto Collision Demonstration Center at Albany Technical College, which would reduce the transportation worker shortage by allowing additional space and program enhancements for diesel technology, automotive collision, automotive technology, and commercial truck driving
  • $964,000 to continue supporting Math Corps, an AmeriCorps program designed to improve math skills for students in grades K-8

Pro-Business Priorities and Positions

Rural Health Care

  • Support initiatives that expand the health professions pipeline, including appropriate licensure reform to grow Georgia’s health care work force and increased investments in educational programs that support Georgia’s health care industry
  • Support appropriate reimbursement rates for telemedicine services to increase access to care for all patients
  • Support efforts that address mental and behavioral health gaps in rural communities
  • Support initiatives and investments that expand access to care and strengthen our regional health care delivery system, such as through the expansion of telemedicine
  • Support efforts to enhance Georgia’s trauma care network

Internet & Broadband

  • Expand broadband capacity in rural and underserved areas through public-private investment and incentives. Access to and reliable Internet impact education, health care, national defense and commerce. 

Business Climate & Economic Development

  • Support programs and initiatives that remove barriers for small businesses and expand access to resources
  • Maintain current tax incentives, which have proven to assist companies in investing and expanding their footprint in Georgia
  • Maintain the state film tax credit, which supports Georgia’s $9.5 billion film industry
  • Expand the Rural Quality Job Tax Credit to all Tier 1-lowest 40 communities
  • Support state partnerships for greenfield projects that promote regionalism and enhance quality of life, tourism, wellness, and economic development
  • Oppose policies that would have a discriminatory effect on Georgia’s ability to grow the economy and maintain a reputation as a leader for global commerce

Education, Talent & Work Force

  • Maintain Albany State University as a component of the University System of Georgia
  • Support policies that improve college persistence and completion rates to provide an employable and adaptable workforce
  • Invest in methods that improve third-grade math and literacy outcomes

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

  • Support the investments and the development of programs and policies that facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation in rural communities

 Transportation

  • Support investments to expand and modernize transportation infrastructure
  • Support education and training programs that expand the transportation work force
  • Support partnerships and investments in infrastructure improvements 

Military & Defense

  • Support policies, investments and partnerships that strengthen Georgia’s military installations and their communities, as well as service members and their families

Natural Resources

  • Preserve & enhance access to high-quality, affordable water supplies for businesses and communities in the Albany Area and Southwest Georgia

Chamber-led delegations meets with federal officials

 

PRESS RELEASE                                                                 

For Immediate Release

June 25, 2020

 

Albany-Dougherty Leaders Meet with Congressional Delegation, Marines

Albany Area Chamber-led program convenes local leaders, federal officials

 

Albany – Business and community leaders met Tuesday with federal officials during the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Washington, D.C., Fly In,” an annual legislative event that connects  local leaders with federal partners to put before them the issues that impact Albany and the Albany Area. The long-standing program that builds relationships and communicates priorities was hosted virtually due to restrictions stemming from the pandemic.

 

“The Albany Area Chamber’s public policy initiatives are more important than ever to ensure we’re connecting with our federal partners in real time about the issues that impact our community’s recovery and resiliency — from ongoing aid for our small businesses to incentivizing domestic manufacturing to investing in the expansion of broadband to support the Albany Area’s robust advancements in commerce, education, health care and national defense,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our community is strong and innovative, and we see opportunities ahead that will strengthen us further and position us more competitively. We will continue to work closely with our Congressional leadership to support the programs and initiatives that create more opportunities for our citizens.”

 

The local delegation had virtual meetings with U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Albany and Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, along with Georgia’s Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler. During the call with Sen. Perdue, the Albany Area Chamber partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to recognize the senator’s receipt of the U.S. Chamber’s Spirit of Enterprise Award, given in recognition of his support for pro-growth policies in the second session of the 115th Congress.

 

A key priority of the Albany Area Chamber is supporting the mission and capabilities of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and its major tenant, Headquarters Marine Corps Logistics Command. A virtual meeting with U.S. Marine Corps leadership at the Pentagon, which included Lt. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Installations and Logistics, allowed for discussion of key areas including utilization of 5G technology aboard the installation to support the modernization of the industrial base and enhance mission-readiness capabilities such as talent development, 3D printing and micro manufacturing, and advanced weapons systems maintenance, storage and sustainment.

 

“Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is vital to the mission of the United States Marine Corps, and has been since the installation was established in 1954,” said Col. Dan Gillan, USMC (Ret), who chairs the Albany Area Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee and serves as CEO of the Albany Area YMCA. “The base and command are leading innovators within the Corps. Ongoing investments are needed to equip and sustain our facilities and our Marines — from investments in technology to investments in the work force. As a community and as a Military Affairs Committee, we have and will continue to stand behind our Marines in leading the support for these and other areas of priorities. Our Marines and Civilian Marines live in this community that we call home and we will do what is necessary to further connections and be a voice of support.

 

Fly In participants included business-sector leadership represented by LRA Constructors, AB&T and Georgia CEO; and leadership from the city of Albany; Albany Area Chamber; Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany State University; Albany Technical College; Dougherty County; the Dougherty County School System; Phoebe Putney Hospital System; the Chamber’s long-standing Military Affairs Committee; as well as representatives from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command.

 

“We thank our local partners for engaging in this meaningful work and presenting a united force to our leaders in Washington,” said Jake Reese, chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee and vice president of Albany-based LRA Constructors. “We had intensely relevant discussions about where we’ve been and where we’re headed, and the partnerships required. It’s all very encouraging. Albany is well positioned.”

 

The Albany Area Chamber is represented in Washington, D.C., by Cornerstone Government Affairs.

 

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Media Contact:

Bárbara Rivera Holmes

229-434-8700

bholmes@albanyga.com