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Advocacy group looks out for local businesses

Summer is in full swing here in Durango. And after the winter we just had, it’s safe to say we are all ready for warmer days.

Here at the Chamber, we are excited about all the opportunities the season provides to gather as a community to participate in some good old fashion fun. While the Chamber is getting ready to host programs and events, from Get To Know The CEO, to Eggs and Issues, to this month’s Business After Hours at Sky Ute Casino, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some other ways the Chamber is working behind the scenes to support the businesses that call Durango “home.”

Our membership consists of 700 local businesses and organizations made up of approximately 20,000 employees. Subsequently, our role as an advocate for these members, 80% of which employ fewer than 10 people, is at the core of who we are as an organization.

Representing our members and businesses that form the backbone of our community is a mission we don’t take lightly. This means it is essential to partner with other local organizations to ensure that Durango businesses receive fair representation at the city, county and state level when impactful decisions are made.

Recognizing this need, the Durango Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Durango Area Association of Realtors, La Plata Energy Council and the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado, formed the Legislative Affairs Coalition.

The LAC monitors city, county and other governmental agencies, participating in various commissions and meetings. In April and May alone, the LAC attended 30 meetings. It monitored more than 35 pieces of legislation, from important housing and health care initiatives to ones addressing land use and labor/employment. After close review, each LAC organization determined whether to support, oppose or monitor each piece of legislation in the best interest of the businesses we represent.

The LAC writes monthly summary reports, which the Durango Chamber of Commerce shares to keep our members in the loop. These reports can be found on our website, under the Program/Workshops tab then select Government Affairs Reports.

This spring, we also wrote letters of support for businesses like Durango Motor Co., which recently applied for a Plaza Grant from the Colorado Energy Office to help support the necessary infrastructure and installation of a DC FastCharge station in Durango. In addition, we advocated postponing changes to the lodgers tax allocations and supported boundary adjustments for the Enterprise Zone program in Mid-Town.

To find out more about the recent state legislative session, our next Eggs and Issues will be held on June 15. State Rep. Barbara McLachlan and Executive Director of the Colorado Competitive Council Rachel Beck will be there to recap the state legislative session and discuss pertinent issues with attendees.

For more information about decisions impacting Durango businesses or to register to attend upcoming chamber programs, we encourage you to visit our website at www.durangobusiness.org or call us at 247-0312, ext. 2.

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