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Alaska State Chamber of Commerce E-News

December 22, 2009   Have you talked with your Legislator Lately?

The 2010 Legislative Session begins on January 19, 2010, 28 Days from today.  I ask each of you this question: Have you spoken with your Legislator lately?  I ask the question to make a point. 

Each year Legislators gather in the Capital from January to April and constituents from all over Alaska visit, call, send public opinion messages and e-mails, testify and make a great effort to convey their concerns and interests in the issues deliberated by our state Legislators.  Legislators hear from constituents, lobbyists, staff members and a variety of other interested parties all willing to share information on issues.  During session, a Legislator's time is at a premium as they move from meeting to meeting; attending committee meetings, floor sessions, constituent teleconferences and meeting with a constant stream of people who call and visit their offices.  They rarely have a moment to contemplate all that they have heard, to absorb that information and turn it into action. 

The most important people they need to hear from are those who live and work in the districts they represent.  Legislators enjoy keeping in contact with their constituents, and many travel back to their communities during breaks in the session to meet with constituents.  From mid-April until early January, your Legislator is virtually around the corner from you.  How many of you take time to meet with them to discuss issues of interest to you, or convey the importance of those issues and interests to your business? 

With the variety and plethora of issues deliberated by Legislators, it is difficult for them to have a lot of depth on the specifics of many issues.  Their staff members do a tremendous job of gathering information, analyzing it and then presenting it to Legislators in an understandable format.  Chances are that many Legislators may not know as much as you do about your issue. 

It is easy to get distracted with the rush of our daily lives, but what a missed opportunity if we do not take time to develop a stronger relationship with our Legislators and share our concerns.  I encourage you to make it your mission to share information with your Legislators in your area(s) of interest and expertise.  Become a source of quality information that is accurate.  Stress the importance of the issue to you and your business; provide data to substantiate your position.  Make sure your Legislator knows how to contact you if they have additional questions or need further information. 

The legislative sessions can be very hectic.  Take advantage of the time when Legislators are in their home districts to make contact with them.  It can be a very effective time to convey the importance of your issue.  It is all about building relationships and developing opportunities to share information.  Will you make contact with your Legislator before the session begins?

Not sure how to find your Legislator?  Most Legislators maintain offices in your local Legislative Information Offices (LIO).  A listing of all the contact information for the LIO's and Legislators is readily accessible to you on-line at http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/misc/lios.php

Visitor Industry Leaders Form New Organization to Support the Cruise Industry
With the decision of the cruise industry to move portions of its fleet and its marketing dollars out of Alaska, we now must face 2010 with creative minds to keep our Alaska tourism businesses viable.  A new support group called the Alaska Alliance for Cruise Travel (AlaskaACT) is being formed to affect change that will bring the industry back to life. 

Their Mission Statement is simple: Alaska Alliance for Cruise Travel is an Alaskan statewide, non-profit, membership-funded organization made up of business and individuals benefiting from cruise travel.  Through AlaskaACT, these stakeholders will work together to promote accurate information and support responsible development and growth of Alaska tourism and the cruise industry.

Our businesses need a healthy cruise market to remain viable and continue to employ thousands of Alaskans.  We believe the future looks dire and the time for action is now.  The new organization¹s efforts are focusing on the following goals:
  • Create a positive business environment in Alaska for the cruise and tourism industries.
  • Encourage the Alaska Legislature and Administration to work toward a resolution of the current legal issues between the State and the cruise industry.
  • Oppose inequitable taxation directed at the cruise industry.
  • Support equitable environmental laws for the cruise industry.
  • Commit its resources to advancing the restoration and stability of the cruise industry in the best interest of Alaska, and Alaskans.
  • Encourage accurate and honest reporting by the media.
  • Educate Alaskans about the economic benefits and positive environmental effects of the cruise industry on Alaska.
  • Support the cruise industry in their efforts to protect and preserve the environment through reasonable and attainable legislation.
The tourism industry in Alaska needs your help.  There are many ways to make a difference.  To learn more about this organization, view industry white papers, and sign up for the mailing list, please visit the website at http://www.alaskaact.com

Thank you for your participation!  AlaskaACT Steering Committee
John Litten, Sitka Tours, Spokesman for AlaskaACT
Bob Berto, TEMSCO Helicopters/Cruise Lines Agencies of Alaska
Jason Brune, Resource Development Council
Tim Cerney, Fountainhead Development Corporation
Gary Danielson, White Pass & Yukon Route
Bob Dindinger, Alaska Travel Adventures
Ken Dole, Promech Air/Waterfall Group
Carol Fraser, ARAMARK
Steve Hites, Skagway Street Car
Holly Johnson, Wings Airways/Taku Glacier Lodge
Paul Landis, CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation
Bill MacKay, Alaska Airlines

Alaska State Chamber Membership Directory
The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce our plans for the publication of the 2009 Alaska State Chamber of Commerce Directory.  As a valued partner and member of our organization, please consider this your invitation to take advantage of this very special opportunity.

This full-color publication is one of the Chamber's most vital tools for providing useful information to our members and out community.  Two thousand of copies of this directory will be distributed throughout the state.  There will also be an online version, making this an extremely effective tool for reaching the community.  You can view the current on-line edition at our website.

We are very pleased to be working with the Alaska Journal of Commerce, a leader in Alaska business news.  We are partners with the Alaska Journal of Commerce in developing the directory and helping us reach our community members with this valuable resource.

Advertisers receive:
  • Advertising packages to meet all budgets and needs
  • Excellent design and layout services - free of charge
  • Free copies of the Directory to distribute as you wish
  • Online directory, with links to participating advertisers' website.
Reaches Alaska's Top Business Leaders and Prospective New Members, across Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

·        Promotes Alaska's Top Industries Including: Oil & Gas, Construction, Mining, Transportation, Health Care, Commercial Fishing & Others.

·        High Profile, Full Color, Glossy Directory

·        Annual publication, with year-long shelf life

·        Free Bold Category Listing with any size ad placement

·        Directory published and billed in 2010 Calendar year

·        Distribution includes: Alaska State Chamber of Commerce membership, The Alaska State Legislature, State of Alaska and Alaska Journal of Commerce subscribers.

·        Rates for State Chamber members and non-members

For more information please contact the Alaska Journal of Commerce, at 1-907-275- 2166.  This is a very special opportunity for our business community as we endeavor to build on the positive momentum we currently enjoy.  Thank you for helping to make the Alaska State Chamber a useful and valued partner to Alaskan businesses.

Entrepreneurial & Small Business Development Strategies
Register Now - This Course Is Filling Quickly!

Small businesses stimulate job creation, develop crucial innovations in both products and services and promote the diversification of the economic base.  It is critical that communities and economic developers dedicate resources to developing and promoting new business startups and establish effective support systems.  A community that meets the needs of its entrepreneurs increases its chances of job growth by small businesses, which translates into a more vibrant community.  As large businesses downsize, a healthy business climate that supports smaller businesses will also help with the retention of skilled workers.  This course identifies the tools economic developers need to create a climate that caters to small businesses.  In addition, the course will cover the characteristics of entrepreneurs and small business owners, the barriers they face and how communities can promote their development.

This two-day course is an elective that counts towards the IEDC Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) credential.

Course:                Entrepreneurial & Small Business Development Strategies
Presented by:   International Economic Development Council
Instructors:      Jennifer Korfiatis, MBA, and Rick Wolk, MBA
Hosted by:       University of Alaska Center for Economic Development
Date:                February 1 & 2, 2010
Place:               Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage
Course fee:       $425 - IEDC member rate available only by registering through UACED

The deadline for registration and payment is January 8, 2010 - please complete and fax the attached registration form to 907.786.5446.  We can accept payment by check only.

For more information go to the CED website at http://ced.uaa.alaska.edu/educate.html or call Linda Ketchum at 907.786.5415.

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