The Chamber’s Business Advocacy Council serves as the region’s advocate for business at the local, state and federal levels representing the combined clout of over 1,300 plus members in diverse industry sectors throughout the community. Together we work to ensure that pro-business, pro-growth solutions are always included in the political debate. We offer various opportunities for business leaders to become involved in the political process, including forums and briefings with local, state and federal lawmakers.
The Abilene Chamber, on behalf of its members and affiliates, will pursue a pro-growth agenda that creates an environment that encourages job growth, population growth and entrepreneurship.
Abilene must continue to be a leader in the State of Texas in developing the key infrastructure to attract, grow and retain quality jobs. The Abilene Chamber will be a leader in working with both K-12 and higher education partners to encourage the development of curriculum that trains students for current and future workforce needs and puts Abilene in a competitive position to attract and retain talent for 21st Century jobs.
ARTS & TOURISM
Abilene is a leader in the attraction of tourism and the development of the arts. Tourism is a key economic development program, and the arts and other quality of life enhancements are becoming increasingly important in the retention and attraction of people to the community. As such, the Abilene Chamber will encourage the development and improvement of facilities that enhance the city’s efforts to expand these efforts as an effective economic development strategy.
Abilene will continue to be a leader in the United States in its support of the military. The Abilene Chamber supports continued local funding of mission support and will continue to provide support for local troops and their families. Additionally, the Abilene Chamber will support its military affairs committee in all federal, state and local initiatives to protect and enhance and expand missions for Dyess Air Force Base.
BUSINESS & TRANSPORTATION
The Abilene Chamber will work to maintain a probusiness environment that allows West Texas employers and business owners to thrive. Any regulatory change that adversely impacts business should be pursued only as a last resort after all free-market solutions have been tried and only after a reasonable cost/benefit analysis shows economic growth will not be adversely affected
Access to reliable water resources continues to be a key issue for many Texas communities to maintain job and population growth. Abilene must continue to develop long-term and short-term strategies for securing resources.
The Abilene Chamber supports agricultural businesses and individuals, providing the food and fiber for the United States and the World. Agriculture in the Big Country is a $1 billion enterprise, by far one of the largest sectors of our economy.
The Abilene Chamber fully supports efforts to redistrict the House and Senate districts in a legal and fair manner. We would hope the outcome would produce districts in the Abilene area that would produce candidates who are pro-business, who know and understand our issues, and who will work closely with us.
The Abilene Chamber fully supports efforts to lessen the blow of COVID-19 on businesses (large and small) and individuals. This horrific pandemic has devastated many businesses.
The Business Advocacy Committee
The Chamber’s Business Advocacy Council is made up of five voting members from the Chamber who will be approved by the Chamber’s Executive Committee, and four non-voting members from the staffs of lawmakers representing Abilene in Austin and Washington.
Chair – Mitch Barnett, Barnett & Hill
Norman Archibald, Hendrick Health System
Gary Grubbs, Lawrence Hall Abilene
Jay Hardaway, West Texas Strategies
Blair Schroeder, Congressman Jodey Arrington
Ben Bailey, Dr. Dawn Buckingham, Senate District 24
Laura Lewis, Senator Charles Perry
Robyn Wertheim, State Representative Stan Lambert
Protocols for Opening Day of Texas Senate
AUSTIN – The following protocols will be in place when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gavels in the Texas Senate for the 87th Legislative Session on opening day, January 12, 2021. At a time when the U.S. Capitol and many state capitol buildings are closed to the public, these protocols are designed to ensure the Texas Capitol can be open to the public. We will fight the spread of COVID-19 by doing all we can to protect the public who visit the capitol as well as employees, staff and the senators. In addition to keeping everyone safe, we also want to avoid a potential shutdown due to the virus so we can carry out our constitutional duties over the next several months.
- As always, guest seating for the opening day ceremonial session of the Texas Senate will be allocated by each of the 31 senators. This year the Lt. Governor and the senators have decided to limit floor seating to one family member at each senator’s desk. There will be no floor seating outside the brass rail or anywhere else on the Senate floor. This differs from past years when the Senate Chamber floor was fully in use for family and guest seating.
- Each senator will be given 3 tickets for seats in the Senate Gallery for their family and/or constituents. This will limit the seating in the Senate Gallery to less than a hundred guests and will ensure space for proper social distancing.
- Senators have agreed to be tested for COVID-19 when entering the capitol. Staff members will be tested as well.
- Opening day guests of senators will also be tested for COVID-19. The testing is free and will yield results in 15 minutes or less. No personal data will be collected or kept regarding results.
- On opening day, all Senate guests must enter through the capitol’s east entrance, where testing will be done.
- Senators have agreed to a much shorter opening day ceremony to reduce the time spent in a large gathering. The Senate is reducing all ceremonial events and gatherings this session to focus solely on their constitutional legislative duties.
- On opening day and throughout the session, most Senate offices will be open by appointment only to facilitate social distancing in their relatively small offices and to protect both the public and their staff.
- A pool of 4 members of the media who have been given credentials by the Texas Senate will be allowed in the East Gallery on opening day – as they will be for the regular session. Media will be notified of the pool rotation prior to opening day. Pool media will be escorted to their seats prior to the Senate session opening and escorted out after the Senate session ends.
- All members of the media will be required to be tested for COVID-19 to enter the capitol.
Protocols and rules for the first 60 days of the legislative session will be voted on by the senators the first week of the session. Those protocols will be released shortly thereafter. Click here for more info.