Advocacy in action

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At the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, when our members see a problem or obstacle, they always look upon it as a challenge or opportunity to ignite positive change.

One of the most pressing issues facing Americans today is the accelerating pace of rising healthcare costs.

Just the other day, I was talking with a small business member of the Chamber who said her monthly healthcare costs were a staggering $50,000 each month! That's money that could otherwise be reinvested in the company or in the employees through salary increases and bonuses.

This problem not only affects business owners, but their employees as well.

More than 45 million Americans are uninsured, with nearly 60 percent of those employed by small businesses. As healthcare costs continue to rise, fewer employers and working families will be able to afford coverage, and the number of uninsured Americans will inevitably rise.

To make healthcare more affordable and accessible for small businesses, the Gwinnett chamber supports innovative ways to address this – and other problems – facing not only our businesses, but our communities as well.

To achieve this, the chamber recently led a delegation of business and community leaders to our nation”s capital to meet with U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, and U.S. Representatives John Linder and David Scott – as well as experts from leading think tanks – to exchange ideas on transportation, immigration and homeland security, and healthcare.

The Fair Tax, federal funding for Highway 316 and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, immigration bills that are fair to employers but that strengthen our national security, association health plans, health savings accounts, and more were discussed and debated.

Before leaving, we made several recommendations on a number of issues that affect our businesses and community-at-large back here. In addition to promoting efforts to reduce rising healthcare costs, we lobbied for a number of education and workforce development initiatives, the promotion and protection of the biotechnology industry, immigration reform, the reduction of taxes, and increases in transportation funding for Gwinnett and metro Atlanta.

Thanks to the time and commitment from those who participated in the visit, our elected officials are armed with more information to enable them to make better-informed decisions on the federal level that will help each of us here in Gwinnett.

And that”s a good start.

The Washington, D.C. fly-in is just one opportunity for involvement within the chamber to effect positive change. One of the most fulfilling benefits of joining the chamber is the ability to jump right in to a number of involvement opportunities that help define the direction of our community.

Every one of us has a role to play, a vested interest in ensuring the successes we”ve built in Gwinnett continue.

And that”s where you come in.

Call the chamber today and join our team of nearly 2,500 other businesses. Involve yourself in the task of protecting the economic health that brought success to you and others. Engage in discussions affecting your quality of life and the continued success of yourself and the future. Let your voice be heard.

The Gwinnett chamber is a lot of things to a lot of people. But perhaps most importantly, we are the behind-the-scenes advocate on issues that are important to our members and our community – issues that are important to you.

Working with you on your behalf through advocacy and action, we at the Gwinnett chamber will continue our work to create a climate of success and growth in our county, our region, and our state – and turn old obstacles into new opportunities for positive change.