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Access, advocacy, and a voice at the table – why being a Chamber member is beneficial

In October, I attended the Association of Colorado Chambers of Commerce annual conference in Glenwood. Coming away from this experience made me reflect on what the Durango Chamber of Commerce does and the various roles we play in the community.

Some of the most important aspects for our members is access to public officials, advocacy for businesses, owners and employees, as well as a voice at the table regarding state and local issues that impact them. To achieve this, we have means to bring stakeholders to the table so that productive discussions can occur between those involved, from owners and employees to elected officials and decision-makers.

As a business and community organization, we work hard to form these relationships with our local officials so our members have access to them. These relationships create open communication and give business owners and workers a real voice.

Some past events we have hosted to uphold this commitment include the following:

  • Healthcare Forum
  • Housing Forum
  • City Council Candidates Forum
  • State of the Community

And recently, our Young Professionals of Durango partnered with the city of Durango and met with various departments.

Last month, Eggs and Issues was another excellent program to put this to action, and we were grateful to have insight from Sen. Cleave Simpson, La Plata County Assessor Carrie Woodson and Guinn Unger, about how Proposition HH may impact our county. Providing this opportunity to community members was a way to foster open communication with leaders on each side of the issue, and participants were able to come away with more clarity and confidence on where they stand.

That being said, the Durango Chamber of Commerce voted to oppose Prop. HH. Our primary concerns around the ballot initiative included the potential impact on special districts and a lack of certainty about how the initiative will pan out for taxpayers are a large part of what led us to make this decision.

If you still need to vote, I want to remind you that ballots are due Nov. 7, and you may deposit them at any of the six ballot dropoff locations around the county. You can find your nearest location on the La Plata County Clerk and Recorder’s website.

Also, mark your calendars, on Feb. 8, 2024 we are happy to announce our Chamber Day at the state Capitol. We are planning details to meet with state elected officials, view the legislative process in action and tour our state’s Capitol. Registration information will follow soon.

Lastly, we appreciate the support of city, county and state officials in making these occasions possible. We are also thankful for our Chamber members and community members who participate in these informative events. We couldn’t do it without you!

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.