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Every Monday at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., Rob Gilligan provides information on what's happening in the area of regional development in Southeast Missouri. Rob is the President and CEO of the Cape Chamber.

Let's Talk Business: Election Season and Business Advocacy

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Election season is upon us, and the ads, mailers and yard signs are impossible to miss. As a business leader in your community raising your voice in advocacy on policy issues can be critical to long-term success.

Engaging in the political process as a business leader can sometimes be challenging and uncomfortable. Questions about how best to interact with policy makers or potential policy makers, what issues to focus on, and how to make sure your thoughts are effectively communicated can be difficult to answer. As a leader and expert in your field, your voice can be critical to ensure that your area representation best reflects the needs of your business community. As we move into the heat of an election season here are a few tips for engagement.

  • Engage with policymakers and candidates to build relationships and improve your impact. Elected officials don’t want to hear from you only when you need something. Spending time building relationships and getting to know them, and their priorities can help you make a greater impact and have long-term success in helping them shape their policy decisions. Reach out to candidates and learn about them and their priorities and find out how you can help them better understand your business needs.
  • Leverage Media interest in your expertise. Building relationships with local and regional media professionals can mean they look to you for feedback and reactions to policy issues when they arise. Becoming the go to expert for media can help you become the go to expert for policy makers as well.
  • Connect with a network of other professionals. Whether its national, state, or local organizations and advocacy groups. Building connections can help you learn and strengthen your    voice in numbers. Trade organizations or business groups like the local Chamber of Commerce can be a great place to start.

Policy making affects businesses in many ways, as a new group of candidates step forward to serve in that capacity now is the perfect time for our community business leaders to help advocate for those that will best serve the business interests of our region in Southeast Missouri.

Rob is the President and CEO of the Cape Chamber.