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Greenwood Chamber hosts grassroots legislative survey

Author: Brian King

Source: GWD

October 3, 2014

Business leaders from Greenwood and the Upstate shared their thoughts with representatives from the S.C. Chamber of Commerce on business priorities and needs for the upcoming legislative session.
The Greenwood Chamber of Commerce again hosted the meeting for the Piedmont region. Business leaders from the area have a chance to come out and share their thoughts on a wide variety of topics, which the S.C. Chamber of Commerce then uses to approach the state legislature for changes.
According to Angelle LaBorde, president and CEO of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, the meeting provides an excellent opportunity for local businesses to voice their concerns and make their needs known at a state level.
“Grassroots meetings like these are so important for businesses to make their concerns known,” LaBorde said. “Whether small, medium or even large businesses in our area, it provides them an opportunity to share their concerns with our state chamber and push for changes at the state level that may be hurting their businesses.”
A wide variety of topics from education to healthcare were touched on by business and community leaders who gathered Thursday morning at the Greenwood Community Theater. But when the gavel drops to open the next legislative session in January 2015, roads and bridges will again be the hot issue.
Otis Rawl, president and CEO of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, said infrastructure will again drive the chamber’s efforts in Columbia for the 2015 legislative session.
“Infrastructure will again be our number one issue for the next session,” Rawl said. “Until something is done about our roads and bridges, it will be at the forefront of everything we do. Once that gets addressed we push another issue up and we will continue to work on some of the ancillary issues as we have time, but our main focus will be infrastructure.”
Many statewide economic development leaders have identified roads and bridges in South Carolina as an issue hindering further business development in the state. Rawl said infrastructure is an issue which the legislature must deal with quickly before the roads and bridges become a major issue. Almost everyone gathered at the session said they would support an increase in user fees at the gas pump to fund road and bridge improvements.
While infrastructure is the biggest issue for the time being, there will be other issues facing businesses for years to come. As the S.C. Chamber of Commerce continues to bring the issues to the state legislature, Rawl said grassroots meetings will continue to provide accountability for the business issues of the day.
“The members of the state legislature come to these meetings and they here the business leaders in their area raising the same concerns we raise to them down in Columbia,” Rawl said. “They know that the issues we are talking about come directly from their constituents. The accountability that provides is one of the most important aspects of these grassroots meetings.”

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