BOSTON – Earlier this month, ten of the state’s regional chambers of commerce formed an alliance to lobby lawmakers on Beacon Hill.
Called the Chamber Policy Network, it includes the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and Chambers in the North Shore, South Shore, Cape Cod, Worcester, Springfield, South Coast, Berkshires and the Charles River Regional Chamber, which represents Newton, Needham, Watertown, and Wellesley.
“Our goal is to grow a statewide economy that works for all and strengthens our ability to retain talent and businesses in Massachusetts,” wrote Greg Reibman, with the Charles River Chamber to its members. “We’ll do that by collaborating on policy priorities and collectively making knocking on doors on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill to promote the issues that matter to our membership.”
Left out of this new Chamber network, were the chambers in MetroWest, including the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce, the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Corridor 9/495 Regional Chamber.
MetroWest Chamber of Commerce co-executive directors Towma Rastad and Stephanie Hirshon said they were never contacted by the new Chamber Policy Network to join.
SOURCE Reached out to the Director of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, one of the leaders of the new Network for comment.
“The Chambers Policy Network is a collaborative effort that is founded and designed to ensure that there are strategic policy solutions that benefit people and businesses throughout the Commonwealth. Chambers of Commerce are uniquely positioned to understand the day-to-day challenges and opportunities taking place in their neighborhoods, Main Streets, and Downtowns. We are currently in the early stages of the network – establishing the operations and foundation for this important work – and we are looking forward to expanding to include more Chambers. With more than 100 registered Chambers of Commerce in the Commonwealth, we will add more Chambers to the Network and expand beyond the initial 10 founding Chambers, including the MetroWest region,“ said James E. Rooney, President & CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
Framingham City Councilor Michael Cannon, who chairs the City’s economic development subcommittee, said ““Massachusetts is absolutely becoming less competitive, and multiple chambers of commerce joining together to speak with a more powerful voice is a creative idea; but I’m puzzled that no chambers in MetroWest have as yet been included.”
“With more than 110,000 individuals reported to have left Massachusetts last year, and businesses of all sizes struggling to recruit and retain talent, it’s critical that the Massachusetts business community, and the chambers that represent them, have a strong voice on Beacon Hill. MetroWest must be a part of those efforts. There is a meaningful desire by all parties to collaborate on these important issues, and I’m sure MetroWest will have our seats at the table,” said Framingham District 4 City Councilor Cannon.
In regards to theChamber Policy Network, “each chamber will continue to focus on its own unique local issues and operate independently, as always,” wrote Reibman to his members. “But we’ve agreed to collaborate on issues that impact Massachusetts’ future: statewide competitiveness, taxes and revenue, transportation, broadband access, talent development and retention, housing, climate change, higher education, and the ease of doing business.”
Representing MetroWest at the State House is Senate President Karen Spilka, who represents Framingham, Natick, Ashland, Holliston, Hopkinton, and the Town of Medway.
The new Chamber Network stated it represented 10,000 member businesses and non-profits.
The MetroWest Chamber of Commerce, located in Framingham, is a regional, not-for-profit business association serving more than 500 member organizations ranging from sole proprietorships and small/mid-tier businesses to Fortune 100 enterprises, municipalities, and not-for-profit organizations in Greater MetroWest region.
The Corridor 9/495 Regional Chamber is the fastest growing Chamber in the Route 9/495 region representing more than 550 members from diverse industries. The service area is businesses from 66 towns and cities in Central Massachusetts.
The Greater Marlborough Chamber is a network of 350+ members and partners across Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Sudbury, Northborough and Southborough.