Post by Brian Fauls, Government Affairs Manager
December, that oh so brief moment of the year when the heavy lifting of the year is done and the heavy planning for next year hasn’t quite gotten into full swing.
It is that tiny window of time to sit back and take stock. It is the time to ask, did we serve our members well by making Loudoun County a better place to live, work and play last year?
That is the very reason we, as a Chamber, devote the time and resources we do to public policy. We don’t do it to hobnob with elected officials and government bureaucrats (trust me, neither are that much fun to be with). We don’t sit through Board meetings, committee meetings, commission meetings and legislative hearing for entertainment (although some are hysterical).
We do it because the laws those elected officials enact and the regulations those bureaucrats write have a real world impact on business owners and entrepreneurs. We do it because if we don’t get involved, if we don’t talk to those people and explain to them HOW those laws and regulations negatively (and positively) affect business, they won’t know.
And I can assure you that there are a ton of people out there whispering in the ears of government officials about how bad business is, how business can afford to pay new taxes, how business is destroying x, y or z so we’d better put some restrictions on them to stop it.
Did we help make Loudoun County a better place to live, work and play today than it was at the end of 2014?
Well, if we consider that our efforts stopped a lot of bad legislation – like localized minimum wage hikes – and enabled good legislation – like an energy efficiency and renewable energy loan program for businesses and improved career and technical certification programs – to get enacted into law, I’d say yes.
If we consider that our efforts helped get a ton of road improvement projects either started (shovels in the ground) or funded, I’d say yes.
If we consider that our efforts helped to reform our zoning ordinance to create new opportunities for agriculture-supporting businesses to thrive, I’d say yes.
If we consider that we challenged local candidates in every race from State Senator down to school board to think about and answer the concerns of the business community during the campaign, I’d say yes.
If we consider that Loudoun County is still a vibrant and growing community, whereas many other counties in Norther Virginia and across the Commonwealth cannot say the same thing, I’d say yes.
2015 was a terrific year. Now the hard work begins to make 2016 even better.