Special from Mike Matson, Director of External Affairs
Members of the Executive Committee of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce packed a lot of relationship-strengthening and federal issue briefings into a whirlwind 36-hour trip to Washington, D.C. last week. The MACC contingent consisted of 2022 Chamber chair Summer Ott Dierks, and fellow members of the Executive Committee Mark Knackendoffel, Jake Wassenberg and Mark Bachamp.
The committee spent time in the nation's capital carrying the Manhattan Area Chamber's federal agenda and learning from on-the-ground subject matter experts about what to expect out of Washington in the coming months.
The heart and soul of the trip were private, separate consultations with U.S. Senators Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall, as well as U.S House Rep. Tracey Mann. Summers Ott Dierks kicked off the conversations, sharing with the elected leaders the challenges and hardships faced by businesses and working parents struggling to find adequate, affordable childcare, while Wassenberg shared experiences connected with ongoing workforce and labor shortages.
No trip to Washington, D.C. by business leaders from Manhattan would be successful without a meaningful conversation about the future of Fort Riley, and Knackendoffel expressed the Chamber's priority of helping secure funding for proposed intermodal railhead upgrades at Fort Riley, vital to ensuring rapid deployment and troop movement. Bachamp led the discussion on infrastructure and transportation challenges and opportunities.
While on Capitol Hill, the MACC Executive Committee also met with Fitzhugh Elder, senior staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, for an in-depth conversation about the multi-faceted Farm Bill. The group kicked off their Hill visits with a briefing from lobbyists with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on actions taken related to federal inflation reduction, infrastructure and climate and their impact on Main Street businesses, as well as projections about what to expect and watch for in the coming months.
Members of the Chamber's Military Relations Committee will be following up on some of these initiatives during their annual trip next month. If you would like to be part of this delegation, contact Janet Nichols at the Chamber.