Comstock's magazine 0319 - March 2019 - Page 56

n WOMEN IN chambers I t’s hard to run a business. The rules are always changing, the regulatory compliance is often over- whelming, and it can feel like no one has your back. Enter the chambers of commerce. One of the oldest forms of business networks, these organizations work on the state and local level to support and advocate for busi- nesses. With a complicated landscape that includes a new gover- nor who is openly at odds with much of the federal govern- ment, looming regulation, the risk of a new recession and pressing issues around workforce development, the role of local chambers in California may be more vital to the busi- ness community than ever. There are roughly 50 chambers in the Capital Region, and we counted over 30 led by women. We asked a dozen of these leaders (doing our best to bring in a mix of voices) to tell us where they see the region headed. *Interviews have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity. It’s no secret that there are tensions between the state and federal governments. What issues are you or your members most paying attention to? “Trade and immigration. … Uncertainty around immigration policy creates uncertainty for businesses and the workforce. California is home to more than 10 million immigrants, of which almost 40 percent are small-business owners.” — Pat Fong Kushida, Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce “We’re going to be paying attention and getting involved in the census 2020 outreach. We need to make sure everyone is counted, so that resources are allocated appropriately. There is potential for our state to lose out on funding if this doesn’t happen.” — Cathy Rodriguez, Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce “Reducing the tax burden on business- es and removing regulatory barriers at all levels.” — Wendy Gerig, Roseville Area Chamber of Commerce 58 | March 2019 “Truckee is not alone in being affected by the housing- affordability crisis. Anything this ad- ministration can do to assist in paving the way for developers, businesses and individuals to create new, achiev- able housing is crucial. And the new legislation that establishes a new test for determining who is an employee could have significant implications on businesses in our area that utilize in- dependent contractors.” — Lynn Saunders, Truckee Chamber of Commerce “The legalization of cannabis. There are still so many conf licts and unknowns and lack of infra- structure in place for this new and rising industry, it’s still a difficult road to traverse. I think we’ll all be watch- ing and working closely to smooth out some of the edges in this newly bur- geoning industry.” — Azizza Davis Goines, Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce “To ensure a healthy and vibrant community, we’re always monitoring issues at the federal, state and local levels that impact affordability, foster a strong business climate and a ready workforce. That’s why our 49th annu- al Cap-to-Cap Program is set to bring together regional leaders to work with federal leaders, addressing regional priorities directly.” — Amanda Blackwood, Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce