A NOTE FROM OUR CEO
Bill Konyha | President & CEO
July 20, 2020
The four subcommittees of the Policy Committee met for the first time on Friday, July 17, via our Zoom virtual meeting platform. The initial purpose of the Regional Chamber in organizing these subcommittees was to increase the participation of our members in the process of determining our annual legislative agenda. The meeting was organizational in nature and structured to begin this process as an efficient way to not only develop our agenda but to be more inclusive of our membership.
At the outset, those volunteering to participate include; 21st Century Talent Gary Gatman of Noble County EDC, Jerrilee Mosier of Ivy Tech Community College, Hallie Custer of Parkview, Brian Van Hall of Ambassador Enterprises, Mike Hensley of Besiege LLC, Dana Berkes of NIPSCO, and Kim Wagner of Purdue University Ft Wayne. World-Class Infrastructure Michael Vanover of Clean Fuels National, Nick Caley of Heartland REMC, Brian Anderson of Wabash Valley Power Association, Steve Kimmel of Huntington County Chamber of Commerce, and Chris Shanks of Ford Meter Box. Competitive Business Climate Chris Graham of Steel Dynamics, Terrie Cable of First Merchants Bank, Jeremy Gayed of Ambassador Enterprises, Todd Hollman of Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne, and Chad Ruston of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Rural / Agri-Business Nate Perry of Huntington University, Bobby Hettmansperger of Advance Ag Resources, Inc., Alex Knollenberg of Strauss Veal & Feed, Bob Vitoux of Ambassador Enterprises, and Trisha Loker of Beacon Federal Credit Union.
New issues already under consideration by these subcommittees include Telehealth Counseling, Work Sharing, Consistency of Federal and State Tax Codes concerning R&D Tax Credits, Business Liability Protection for Employers as they call back employees from layoffs as a result of the COVID Virus, and Unemployment Compensation. We shall also review Heritage Commerce District Grants, Early Childhood Education, funding for post-secondary education, and U.S. Rt 30.
Greater Ft. Wayne and the Regional Chamber will again host monthly breakfasts for our Legislative Delegation during the remaining summer and fall months. Our purpose is simply to provide an opportunity for them to continue to develop their relationships with one another and to build upon these relationships as we approach the next session. As always, we are grateful to them for their commitment to the Region and the State of Indiana.
These relationships are essential as we move into the 2021 session. With a budget under development that is likely to incur deep cuts, redistricting, and an anticipated discussion about empowering the legislature to call themselves back into session to deal with emergencies, this seems like a genuinely challenging year. We anticipate that we will be playing defense on many issues even as we hope to move the ball downfield on other issues already in play.
We encourage our members to join us in the Policy Committee and help us to build our 2021 Agenda.