A NOTE FROM OUR CEO
Bill Konyha | President & CEO
July 13, 2020
THE NEXT BIG THING
Last week I was honored to be invited by U.S. Congressman Jim Banks to join him, Congressman Darren Soto (D Fl-9), Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Parker, and two Chambers from Congressman Soto’s district in a program hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The program was a virtual production of the American Congressional Exchange focused upon Recovery Strategies for Small Businesses and Working Families. The program began with opening statements by each of the Congresspeople and each of the participants. Following opening remarks, the moderator asked a series of questions that were discussed in an open format.
Rob Parker, a member of the Northeast Indiana Regional Chamber Coalition, did an outstanding job of representing his community and his members. I believe that each of the participants did likewise. To prepare for this event, I reached out to a cross-section of private sector businesses and worked to be sure that we had responses from each economic sector. Their responses were constructive as I prepared notes to guide my remarks.
I focused on two specific areas as the focus of comments from the other Chamber organizations were focused upon other areas. The topics in which I led the comments involved the need to pass legislation limiting employer liability for returning to work if OSHA guidelines are followed. Our need to get our people and businesses back to work should not create an opportunity for litigation vs. employers who make Good Faith efforts to develop guidelines not yet clearly established nor universally understood.
The other topic that focused my comments upon was the need to open childcare and education not only for the good of our children but to enable working couples and others to get back to work. Too many working parents are unable to leave their children without care and supervision, which is otherwise unavailable to them. This is slowing the employer’s ability to get businesses back into operation and is slowing the recovery. Once again, all the Chambers agreed with these positions.
We continued last week with our effort to seek funding to complete our commitment to support the U.S. Route 30 project through the private sector members of our organization and the Region. We have secured some pledges from non-members and have nearly fulfilled our commitment. We have three members who have indicated agreement to support this critical infrastructure project, but they each have a process to complete. In most cases, it will be complete soon. In at least one case, it may reach into the beginning of August. However, at this time we are convinced that our members and others will support this project. It was essential to secure support from throughout the Region to demonstrate the Regional Commitment to it.