We often hear that expression, but do we really think about what it means? As I was preparing remarks for our Annual Luncheon, being held January 18th, I realized how much commonality that phrase has with our culture at the Amherst Chamber of Commerce. Laws change, public officials change, taxes change and our Chairman changes but we consistently exist to respond to the needs of the business community.
Chambers were created for the purpose of convening business representatives and providing them with forums to create consensus and lead initiatives that improved the 'commerce' in a specific geographic service area. The Amherst Chamber actually had a tagline in the 1980's - "People with a Purpose". We operate under that same principal today, however, our methods for accomplishing our goals have changed dramatically. Printed newsletters are no longer our primary method of communication. Even faxes, which were revolutionary 20 years ago, are passe. Today, the majority of our communication is done electronically. But, many of the issues are similar, such as taxes.
When our members gather at the Annual Luncheon, we will present our Legislative Agenda. The Public Affairs Council, led by Earl Wells from E3 Communications, worked for many months, reaching out to the community and our public officials to gather information about public policy that impacts taxpayers ability to be prosperous and maintain a high quality of life. The council members vetted these issues to determine their commonality with our mission, their relevance to the majority of our members and our ability to make a difference in the outcome. The list that remained forms our Agenda. While not every item is relative to taxation on individuals and businesses, the majority relates to how those tax dollars will be allocated. So, our issues remain the same but, very often, the public officials making the decisions on our behalf change. The Amherst Chamber continues to nurture strong working relations with these officials to insure our position and that of our members is well represented.
Another constant for the Amherst Chamber is the State of the Town Address, delivered annually by the Supervisor. We started this tradition back in the 1970's with the late Jack Sharpe. Dr. Barry Weinstein, our current Supervisor, will be presenting his much anticipated presentation once again this year. I wonder how much of his talk will share a commonality with Jack Sharpe's from 40 years ago? I would bet that many of the same themes will be mentioned; taxes, economic development, traffic, service delivery and diversity will probably all be included. What remains the same is our love for our community, our united commitment to maintain our high quality of life and the Amherst Chamber of Commerce working on your behalf.