Monday, April 16, 2012

Solano Hispanic Chamber unites with "One Voice"

Solano chambers unite as 'One Voice'

Published by The Reporter

There is a new voice for business in Solano County. The Benicia, Fairfield-Suisun, Vacaville and Vallejo Chambers of Commerce, as well as the Solano County Black, Hispanic and Filipino-American Chambers of Commerce, have united to form One Voice Solano.

OVS will advocate for legislation that will support business, reduce regulatory hurdles and keep and grow businesses in California. "For far too long, we have assumed businesses and jobs will simply occur in California. We are finding out that is not the case. It is truly a global economy and California has lost much of its luster. We need to get it back," said Stephanie Christiansen, President of the Benicia Chamber of Commerce.

OVS will advocate and inform Solano County's local, state and federal representatives on the issues that are important to local business. "We want to let our legislators know we are a major voice. We will help them understand issues and let them know we have a vested interest in legislative outcomes", said Mark Creffield, Vacaville Chamber President.

The combined membership of the Chambers involved in OVS is over 2,000 businesses with an estimated 20,000 employees. "There is strength in numbers. That is why the Chambers have combined. It is important that our legislators know we speak for the job creators, and we are there to help legislators who support business", said Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President, Marisela Barbosa.

OVS will review and take positions on pending legislation and advocate for needed changes that make the region more business friendly. It does not plan to endorse or support individual candidates. "The local Chambers are autonomous groups. But these legislative issues are so important. They determine whether businesses grow, fail, stay or move. The Chambers combined forces because we know how serious this is", said Jeff Holder, President of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Solano County.

According to Fairfield-Suisun Chamber President, Leslie Fay, "We've lost major employers who've moved out of our county to other regions and states. That has to stop."

"We can't change the attitude of our state government overnight. But we can definitely let our local elected officials know the impacts of their decisions", said Peggy A. Cohen-Thompson, President of the Solano County Black Chamber of Commerce.

OVS also plans to work with local officials, cities and counties to advocate for legislation that assists them with their continuing budget deficits and the affects of realignment. "If our cities and county are healthy, we become better situated to grow businesses, said Vallejo Chamber President, Rich Curtola. "If they aren't, businesses will just go elsewhere."

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