Policy & Advocacy Updates: Election Day 2022

We have been asking for your feedback and appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us. What we’ve heard, loud and clear, is that members appreciate the Duluth Area Chamber’s work around public policy and advocacy and want to see even more of it. That’s exactly what we plan to do and have already started.

That is why Chamber President Matt Baumgartner has brought back to the policy position, which had been vacant for the past few years. That role is now coupled with the new Duluth Chamber Foundation which gives the Chamber, and its members, a vehicle to help fund several key initiatives including policy-based advocacy. I am honored to now be serving as Vice President of Strategy and Policy for the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce and the Executive Director of the new Duluth Chamber Foundation.

I look forward to working with you and will occasionally send policy and advocacy related updates, like this, to help keep members informed of the work we are doing around policy and ask for your input and insights. You are also always welcome to contact me directly anytime, dfanning@duluthchamber.com, if you have questions, concerns or just wish to discuss policy related topics and how the Duluth Chamber may be able to be of assistance.

Below is some of the work we’ve been engaged in this past month:

Candidate Forums

People at a panel talking

The Duluth Area Chamber partnered with the Duluth News Tribune to host a series of Forums to help inform membership and the public, and ensure candidates are speaking to the concerns of the Chamber and business community.

Reminder: Election Day is now one week away, and early voting is already underway.

Those Forums are available to stream online from Duluth News Tribune:

Advancing the 148th Fighter Wing

Group of military and a jet in the background

The Duluth Area Chamber partnered with the 148th Fighter Wing to host Congresswoman Betty McCullum, Chair of the Defense Subcommittee. Advocating for the 148th FW is among the top priorities for the Duluth Chamber and the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee (MAC).

Speaking of the MAC – at our October meeting we heard from the new Commander of the 148th Colonel Nathan Aysta, along with local leadership from the US Coast Guard. We also heard a presentation from Strong Compass, a non-profit org focused on helping veterans find therapeutic ways to navigate civilian life.

Looking Ahead at 2023 Legislative Priorities

Stake holders breakfast in 2022
Stake holders breakfast in 2022

The Duluth Area Chamber hosted the 26th Annual Duluth & St. Louis County at the Capitol Days Key Stakeholders Breakfast at the College of St. Scholastica on October 12. We heard several elected officials from the City, County and State as well as from several local businesses and organizations who are looking forward to attending Duluth & St. Louis County at the Capitol Days advocacy events on February 8 – 9, 2023.

Our collective voices will be as important as ever as there will be several new faces at the Minnesota State legislature. We will be pushing hard and building off the momentum and support of last year. Since the Bonding Bill wasn’t passed, we know there is unfinished work and we are committed to doing all we can to advocate for our top legislative priorities and important projects for the Northland.

If you’re interested in attending and/or sponsoring, please let us know as we would be happy to work with you. Thank you for joining us in this important effort!

Fox21 Coffee Conversation

Image of a news station with a play button

And finally, for now, not only will see you an increased commitment to policy and advocacy efforts from the Chamber, but you’ll also see an increased commitment to communications around those issues.

For example, I recently appeared on Fox 21’s Coffee Conversations to talk about our Annual Dinner, as well as the Chamber’s work around policy and advocacy. That work has included having ongoing conversations with various city councilors and Mayor Larson, as well as county commissioners, regarding the proposed levy increases.

We have heard from Chamber members/business owners who are very concerned about increased taxes and fees, when they’re already dealing with the costs of inflation themselves. We strive to continue to be that effective voice and advocate for the business community and membership, pass along those concerns to elected officials and work collaboratively to expand the tax base and grow our economy, rather than having to continuously rely on levy increases which hurt small businesses – the backbone of our local economy.

You can check out the interview on Fox 21:

Thanks for supporting the work of the Duluth Area Chamber, the Duluth Chamber Foundation, and helping support and invest in our community!

In solidarity,

Fanning Headshot

Daniel Fanning
Vice President of Strategy & Policy
Executive Director of the Chamber Foundation
Direct: (218) 740-3743
Cell: (218) 260-3597

The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce serves as the premier advocate for commerce and industry by facilitating interaction among business, government, education, labor, and the greater community by actively creating innovative opportunities for business to advance within local and global economies and encourages fairness in the political process by serving to help educate our members rather than endorsing or supporting political parties or affiliations.