Here’s why advocacy matters
August 3, 2017
Ask yourself: What are you doing to ask bigger questions and lean into bigger problems?
Whether it's on a plane flight, commute, golf course or a quiet moment to themselves, at some point every executive will take pause to contemplate how they enable their organization to deliver differentiated value to the marketplace. Successful community leaders — in business, nonprofit groups or government — continue to focus on how to tackle big issues.
We know doing the same thing and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity, yet many sit on the sidelines while big issues circle around us. Consider our big issues: housing, transportation and workforce development. These issues have been forefront for 40-plus years and while we have made some progress we're still pushing the boulder uphill with plenty of work to be done.
In recent years, Vail Valley Partnership has increased its efforts to raise awareness around the issues that impact our community, and specifically our businesses, including activities to educate decision makers about some of the unique issues our mountain community faces. By listening to and then voicing the needs of our membership, the partnership helps drive public policy and advance awareness of issues of importance.
Definition of Advocacy
This activity can be described as advocacy, which is defined generally as the act or process of supporting a cause or issue. Advocacy is actively supporting something important to you. Vail Valley Partnership is here to play that role to add value to our members and create a voice for our region and with our legislators. As one of the largest chambers of commerce in Colorado, we are uniquely able to advocate effectively on behalf of Eagle County business the way few other organizations or associations can.
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Vail Valley Partnership is an advocate for businesses that cannot take the time to meet with elected officials about their concerns regularly because they are too busy managing their businesses. As we continue to struggle with workforce issues (talent pipeline, housing), transportation (Interstate 70 congestion, air service development), we need to work closely with our government partners to find solutions to the challenges facing our businesses. Businesses need someone to help speak collectively for them and the business community as a whole — specifically at a state level, dominated by Front Range legislators and often forgetting about mountain communities when discussing the impacts of legislation.
We serve our members by providing updates on key legislative and regulatory initiatives, along with talking points and sample letters when needed to provide a cohesive message. We also collaborate with partner organizations including the Tourism Industry Association of Colorado, Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry, Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association, Fix Colorado Roads and others on advocacy efforts to leverage the voice of our community with like-minded groups.
At the end of the day, as business leaders dedicated to economic vitality of the Vail Valley, our board focuses on issues that impact our trade region, our communities, our businesses and our citizens. While some in Denver (and Washington) continue to demagogue businesses, the fact remains that our businesses are the fabric of our community, and it is why we continue to stand up and be the voice of business.
The partnership's goal with our advocacy efforts are to advance issues and rely on local government to carry out their roles for good public policy. Our strategic priorities provide some of the most visible evidence of our role as the voice for business. We are proud to provide a collective voice to address the key issues facing the business community.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership. Learn more at http://www.VailValleyPartnership.com.