I find it funny that one of the biggest benefits a Chamber of Commerce provides for a community is advocacy at every level of government, yet it is probably one of the least known. I have heard a person say that the chamber is just a party group who puts on the Laurinburg After Five. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The chamber holds events like the Laurinburg After Five to bring awareness to our community and to offer a quality of life event for the citizens of not just Scotland County, but surrounding counties. These events help fund one of our main purposes, which is advocacy for the business community.
Each year, this chamber participates in the North Carolina Business and Economic Development Summit. In previous years, it was called the Chamber Fly-In. It is a great opportunity to spend time with our federal elected officials, meet some of their staff members, and meet people from across the state, many of whom have some of the same challenges we have in Scotland County. This summit is on Sep. 8 and 9. If you would like to attend, we would love for you to join us.
During the time we are gone for the summit, we will be spending some time with our elected officials or their staff members. We’ll be visiting the offices of Rep. Richard Hudson, Sen. Kay Hagan, and Sen. Richard Burr. In addition, during the presentations, we’ll hear from U. S. Reps. G. K. Butterfield, Renee Ellmers, George Holding, Walter Jones, Mike McIntyre, Robert Pittenger, David Price, Virginia Foxx and Howard Coble. There will also be an Executive Leadership Panel which will feature CEOs and leaders from across the state.
One of the best benefits of going on this trip, however, is the time spent with other leaders from our county. We usually have dinner together on Sunday night and Monday night and it is a wonderful opportunity to discuss issues in Scotland County, collaborations where we might be able to improve our community and just have an opportunity to get to know one another better. It really is a great two days together.
I invite you to join us this year for the summit in Washington, DC. If you would like additional information, please call the chamber office. There is no registration for the summit, therefore the only costs involved are your hotel, transportation, and food costs. However, for the expenses, the benefits are priceless. I hope you will join us.
Tonia Stephenson is president of the Laurinburg/Scotland County Chamber of Commerce.