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Local Business Leaders Looking for Alternatives to US Chamber; Chamber Not Happy About It
Today’s news saw small businesses in Colorado and California taking steps to get the representation that they can’t through the U.S. Chamber. This week, small business leaders expressed frustration that the U.S. Chamber passed up a chance to do something to take its “jobs’ rhetoric beyond just talk and finger-pointing. And today, a group of Laguna Beach, California businesses formed a new organization called the Laguna Beach Green Chamber of Commerce – becoming the third such “Green Chamber” in the state.
The new organization's President, Chris Prelitz, pointed out that the group was formed out of frustration with the U.S. Chamber's policies:
“If the local chamber of commerce really wants to support environmental legislation, I’d encourage them to follow the lead of San Francisco and Aspen, Colo., which publicly denounced the U.S. Chamber’s stance on these issues,” he said. “We all want a vibrant and abundant town that serves the needs of the community, but the U.S. Chamber does not represent the views of the majority of Laguna Beach citizens.
Meanwhile in Colorado, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, which has been sharply critical of the U.S. Chamber on issues of Climate Change, voted to join a new national organization called Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE). The recently formed network is being launched by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce with the mission of “restoring the nation’s leadership in innovation and economic prosperity.” One of the group’s goals is to push Congress to take action on clean energy issues.
The group has drawn fire from the U.S. Chamber, which attacked it in a letter to local Chambers. According to the Aspen Daily News, the ACRA had to respond to letters sent to its members charging the CICE with being organized by NRDC with the intent of undermining the US Chamber: According to the paper, Steve Falk, the President of the San Francisco Chamber wrote a letter to colleagues responding to the U.S. Chamber saying,
“You may have received a letter from U.S. Chamber board member Winthrop Hallett stating that our group was established by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) with the intention of ‘undermining’ the U.S. Chamber on this issue,” Falk wrote in a July 28 letter addressed to chamber colleagues and distributed this week by ACRA President Debbie Braun. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
These Chambers and businesses join a growing number who are frustrated by the U.S. Chamber’s growing tendency to take extreme positions that reflect the agendas of a few large corporations that contribute millions to the U.S. Chamber rather than an agenda that benefits its membership at large.