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Chamber Representing Business before Government
On Friday, Feb. 22, Dana Point Chamber of Commerce leaders had the opportunity to sit down with Congressman Mike Levin, D-CA, who represents the 49th Congressional District. While there are so many issues to discuss, the Chamber followed its own teaching, which is about relationship building, as people do business with those they know, like and trust.
Instead of drilling hard on the freshman Congressman, we got to know him on a different level. He and his family live in San Juan Capistrano and are frequent visitors to Dana Point, where they love to eat ice cream in the Harbor. Our past chairman of the board, Jay Styles was able to share about the recently initiated reinvigoration of the Harbor. Congressman Levin wished us a successful transition and is excited to see the changes. He has been coming to the harbor his entire life and said it has always looked the same. Levin offered his help with any issues that may arise with the revitalization.
We were curious how he liked D.C. and learned that to help keep his expenses down, he shares an apartment with three other members of the House of Representatives. Stating his wife and young children don’t like the cold and love the warm Southern California weather, this arrangement works well for them.
It was fun to listen to Levin as he bragged about his new staff team, giving them credit for their talent and expertise and mostly their passion for serving the 49th Congressional District.
We did briefly chat about Levin’s new position on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee, where he is now the Chairman and how it relates to our local base nearby at Camp Pendleton. He also wants to work toward a more sustainable future on clean energy and thinks term limits would be a good idea. The Dana Point Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Committee will monitor to see how these topics progress.
One of the five core competencies of a Chamber of Commerce is to represent the interests of business before government. Now that we have established a relationship with our new Congressman, we will be able to meet with him and his staff to discuss issues that affect our business community and our quality of life. What’s even better, he felt very strongly about having a local presence in the community, and we are thrilled their Orange County office is in our very own Dana Point and will be staffed five days a week. The Chamber has already begun building a relationship with the local office and has representation at our monthly Government Affairs Committee meetings.
While our business owners are busy running the day-to-day operations, the Chamber acts as the watchdog for business on the federal, state and local levels. We will be working with our legislators and communicating our concerns on behalf of the business community, which in turn impacts our quality of life.
It’s a good day when you can walk out of a meeting with one of your elected officials and feel like you have begun to build a relationship, even though we know there will be times where we disagree on some issues. At least we know we can come to the table, be the voice of the businesses and be a champion for our community.
Bev Jorgensen is the Executive Director of the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce, which is a business membership-based organization with 350 business members representing more than 20,000 employees. The DPCC mission is to champion business prosperity, economic vitality and community engagement, promoting a high quality of life in Dana Point.