With Election Day over it is now time to move on - time to work on the substantive issues that can make a genuine difference for the businesses and residents of Chautauqua County.
The Chamber of Commerce took a step in that direction this past Friday, holding a forum with newly elected U.S. Rep. Tom Reed. Reed is not new to Congress, but this end of the state is new territory for him.
Our focus has not changed, regardless of our change in representation. We worked diligently with U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins on issues that would make a difference here in our county, and we intend to do the same with Rep. Reed. Creating a positive climate for business is our prime advocacy focus and that includes an improved tax structure, health insurance reform, sharing and consolidating public services, school consolidation, and Medicaid reform. Many of these issues are state-focused, but we will work with leaders at all levels of government to make a difference for the chamber and MAST members we serve.
Each year the chamber provides opportunities to meet with elected representatives, establishing forums for discussion with our congressional representative, state Senate and Assembly representatives, and county executive. These sessions are open to everyone in Chautauqua County, and there is always a good dialogue which includes questions from the audience. We are proud that these events draw good participation from a cross-section of our community and we invite everyone to watch for announcements about these informative events as they are scheduled.
We congratulate all of the winners of this year's elections: Rep. Reed, state Sen. Cathy Young, and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell. We look forward to working with them in the future.
Date Set For Annual Meeting
The 2012 Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting will be held on Friday, Dec. 7 at Shorewood Country Club in Dunkirk, with local attorney Mary Hajdu as our guest speaker. Ms. Hajdu will discuss Opportunities in the Marcellus/Utica Shale. In addition, the Chamber will present its first ever Pam Lydic Coalition Builders Award in memory of our first executive director, and will also announce the top three winners in our summer-long Facebook photo contest.
The Chamber Annual Meeting is being sponsored by the OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX. The lunch meeting will begin at 12:15 p.m. and the cost is $18 for Chamber members and $21 for non-members, with registration open online and via phone. Invitations are in the mail. Chamber members who are not able to attend are encouraged to sign and return the proxy votes included with the invitation.
Program Helps Businesses With Insurance Decisions
The Community Chamber Development Corporation, an Affiliate of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, is helping to provide answers to insurance questions through the Small Business Assistance Program. SBAP is an initiative of the Community Service Society, a network of organizations across New York state that helps consumers and small business get affordable health care and health insurance. Through SBAP we can provide health reform information and training for employers and one-on-one consultations on insurance options, costs, tax credits, enrollment, dispute resolution, and more.
If you have a small business and are looking for direct answers to questions about insurance, including new regulations surrounding the Affordable Care Act, tax credits, and more, please call CCDC at 366-6200 or 484-1101 for more information.
Chamber, JCC Offer Social Media Classes
The Chamber of Commerce and JCC's Office of Continuing Education has additional social media classes coming up. This series is designed to assist any local small business throughout Chautauqua County in creating, building and maintaining their social an Internet presence.
Having a Web Presence without a website is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday at JCC's Carnahan Center. The Small Business Development Center is also a co-sponsor of this session, which will demonstrate how you can use other forms of social media to develop a presence on the Internet.
In addition, two classes in December will be offered jointly at both the Jamestown and Dunkirk campuses. On Dec. 4, the class will be Using Google Tools to Support Your Business, which will run from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Google Tools is free software and available wherever you are to help you create and share surveys, forms, and documents. On Thursday, Dec. 6, the class will be Social Network Office Policies from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a focus on helping to establish policies for businesses and employees use of online tools. Both of these classes will be held in the boardrooms of the Dunkirk and Jamestown campuses, via videoconferencing, to allow the greatest number of participants.
This social media series is being offered for free to Chamber members and non-members alike, thanks to funding from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation and the Knight Foundation. Lunch will be provided for these classes. To register, contact Continuing Ed at JCC at 338-1005.