Letter: Lafayette chamber providing leadership on key issues

In the past few months, leaders of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce have spoken with hundreds of business leaders throughout Acadiana and asked what role they envisioned the chamber playing in our community and region. The answer was clear: an organization that can provide intelligent leadership on key business issues.

This desire for more impactful leadership is a testament to the deep and abiding sense of unity among our business community and a desire to be proactive rather than allow our current state of affairs to dictate our future. The members of our board of directors have chosen to meet this challenge head-on.

We believe that taking a stance on issues critical to our economic well-being and competitiveness will strengthen the economic prosperity of Acadiana.

We also believe that the cornerstone of effective advocacy is a well-researched, evidence-based approach that seeks first to understand. We recognize that weighing in on important issues can be risky at times, but we are confident that it’s a greater risk to remain silent on the sidelines. A balanced approach to policy raises the quality of public discussion, regardless of the ultimate course taken by decision-makers.

The chamber will continue to advocate for policies that increase the economic competitiveness of our region.

For example, this spring, we helped unite the Acadiana business community in advocating for the passage of the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act, an affordable, fiscally sound National Flood Insurance Program.

Similarly, our 2014 legislative priorities are aimed at improving the prosperity of the Acadiana region. For example, Common Core State Standards offer Louisiana the opportunity to hold ourselves to an internationally recognized benchmark, while laying the foundation for a more competitive workforce.

While acknowledging the importance of providing clear implementation, we support Common Core because it is designed to sharpen students’ critical-thinking skills and provide a diploma that allows our students to compete in an increasingly globalized, knowledge-based economy.

We recognize that effective leadership requires constant community engagement. We are fully committed to working alongside all stakeholders in building a future that our children deserve. Throughout March, the chamber, along with eight partner organizations, hosted several public education roundtables. These discussions provided an excellent opportunity to listen to community concerns and priorities.

Lafayette is currently experiencing a unique moment in time. Our economy is strong. We must seize the momentum. The question is where do we go from here? As a chamber, we welcome the responsibility of providing strong leadership on important business issues.

Many people are saying that the chamber has changed.

And they are absolutely right.

Julie Simon-Dronet

chairman Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce