The Chamber is Working for You in Lansing and Washington, Here’s HowApril 23, 2020
As businesses continue to navigate the economic and health crises brought on by COVID-19, the Chamber’s unrivaled access to public officials and their staff regionally, in Lansing, and Washington D.C. has given Chamber members an influential voice at the highest levels of elected leadership in the state.
The Chamber’s CEO Sandy K. Baruah and Vice President of Government Affairs Brad Williams were sought out to provide a business perspective directly to Governor Gretchen Whitmer as she shaped the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order. As her strategy and the crisis evolves, the Chamber is in daily contact with senior staff advising on the best ways to reopen the economy while decreasing the odds for a resurgence of COVID-19 once stay-at-home practices are eased.
Through a Tele-Town Hall with Gov. Whitmer, the Chamber provided an outlet for businesses to directly ask questions about her stay at home order. When pressed on her approach to handling the impact of COVID-19, the governor acknowledged that her number one concern is health and safety.
“We’re developing plans to safely phase in the reengagement of our economy,” said Gov. Whitmer. “We’ve got to work together to safely reopen so people can get back to work and businesses can get back on their feet without fear of a second wave.”
Understanding that this will require testing and screening access for businesses across the region and state, the Chamber is advising the state on an achievable strategy.
Federal Advocacy on Small Business Aid
A package that includes more federal aid for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) is currently in the U.S. House of Representatives and expected to be voted on today after passing through the U.S. Senate earlier this week after initial funding was depleted. Over the last week, the Chamber has contacted every member of the Michigan Congressional Delegation to do their part in ensuring Michigan small businesses get the additional replenishment of federal aid.
Day-to-Day Pulse of Crisis
Maintaining daily contact with senior state officials regarding crisis-related policies, Chamber leadership is providing a business voice in key decisions.
Local governments in the Detroit region have been at the forefront of this crisis as well. The Chamber has encouraged our local governments to use restraint when layering on additional regulations on essential businesses allowing state government to provide a unified response that is consistent across county lines. Chamber leadership has provided a business perspective directly to local county leaders such as Oakland County Executive David Coulter as well as senior leaders throughout local government.
Tele-Town Halls Provide Unique Access to Public Officials
Beginning in mid-March, businesses across Michigan have been able to hear firsthand and ask questions of public officials that are working for them in Lansing and Washington D.C. through the Chamber’s Tele-Town Hall series. From providing real-time guidance on federal assistance to bringing clarity to state executive orders, the insight has brought clarity to listeners, as they are able to submit their questions in real-time.
The unequaled access the Chamber has provided to these leaders including the governor, lieutenant governor, Michigan Congressional Delegation, Michigan Speaker of the House, Michigan Senate Majority Leader, reflects the Chamber’s influence and longstanding relationships with government at all levels.