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NC chamber reps learn local concerns

By Jeanna Baxter White

Word Master Media Group for Davie EDC

Members of the NC Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs team met with local business leaders and elected officials last week to learn more about the issues that shape Davie County.

The NC Chamber is a leading business advocacy organization in North Carolina, working in the legislative, regulatory, and political arenas to proactively drive positive change, ensuring that North Carolina is one of the best places in the world to do business.

Peter Daniel Jr., government affairs manager; Debra Derr, director of government affairs; and Jason Soper, director of government affairs, attended the luncheon hosted by Davie County Economic Development (DCEDC), Davie County Chamber of Commerce, and Rep. Julia Howard.

Terry Bralley, president of DCEDC, welcomed guests and provided chamber representatives with a piece of advice as he introduced Howard.

“My great advice to the NC Chamber is whatever Julia needs, help her out. She does an outstanding job for all of us, and we have been very blessed in our county. There aren’t many people I can call at 6:30 or 7 in the morning, and there’s not a morning that goes by that I’m not on the phone with her asking, ‘what’s going on in Raleigh?’ or ‘how can I do this?’ or asking about revenue laws or regulatory reform.”

oward attributed Davie’s success to the municipalities working together. “Here with us today are our county manager, town managers, chairman of the board of county commissioners, school superintendent, and the best economic development director in the state… I’m proud to represent Davie County and everyone in this room.”  She provided an update of the General Assembly during the meeting.

Soper thanked attendees for the invitation. “We want to represent all industries in Davie County. We are excited to be here to hear the challenges you are experiencing. We want to hear from you how we can help you and better represent industry in Raleigh.”

Bralley kicked off the discussion portion of the meeting by saying, “I know you folks do a lot of lobbying work on behalf of business and industry in North Carolina, and we appreciate that, but there are a lot of things that we have on our minds.”

Discussion topics included:

• infrastructure needs (roads, water, sewer);

• the disadvantages associated with Tier 3 designation in qualifying for grant money from the state for attracting industry and jobs;

• a ¼ cent sales tax increase and a law to allow the funds to be designated for a particular purpose;

• reorganization of the state sales tax;

• workforce development needs;

• K-14 education so that every student graduates with an associates degree or certificate;

• lifelong learning and continuous education so that workers’ skills keep up with technology;

• partnerships between community colleges and businesses to develop training programs that match local industry employment needs;

• how to attract venture capitalists to North Carolina;

• how to promote North Carolina Opportunity Zones which offer qualified investors tax benefits for investing in these areas;

• affordable housing; and

• the lack of incentives available to help existing businesses to grow.

The meeting ended with the NC Chamber representatives offering to stay to talk with anyone who had anything else they would like to discuss.

“The North Carolina Chamber has been traveling the whole state visiting with legislators and local communities, and we just want to say thank you for bringing everyone together,” said Daniel. “This is the largest group we have met with in North Carolina, and we are absolutely impressed with the commitment level of business leaders and elected officials in Davie County.”