ALBANY – Business and community leaders met last week with federal officials during the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Washington, D.C., Fly-In,” an annual initiative that connects local leaders with federal partners to put before them the issues that impact Albany and the Albany area. The long-standing program that builds relationships and communicates priorities was hosted virtually due to restrictions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Albany Area Chamber’s public policy initiatives are more important than ever to ensure we’re connecting with our federal partners in real time about the issues that impact our community’s recovery and resiliency — from ongoing aid for our small businesses to incentivizing domestic manufacturing to investing in the expansion of broadband to support the Albany area’s robust advancements in commerce, education, health care and national defense,” Albany Area Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Bárbara Rivera Holmes said in a news release. “Our community is strong and innovative, and we see opportunities ahead that will strengthen us further and position us more competitively. We will continue to work closely with our Congressional leadership to support the programs and initiatives that create more opportunities for our citizens.”
The local delegation had virtual meetings with U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Albany and Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, along with Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. During the call with Perdue, the Albany Area Chamber partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to recognize the senator’s receipt of the U.S. Chamber’s Spirit of Enterprise Award, given in recognition of his support for pro-growth policies in the second session of the 115th Congress.
A key priority of the Albany Area Chamber is supporting the mission and capabilities of Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany and its major tenant, Headquarters Marine Corps Logistics Command. The fly-in’s meeting with U.S. Marine Corps leadership at the Pentagon, which included Lt. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Installations and Logistics, allowed for discussion of key areas including utilization of 5G technology aboard the installation to support the modernization of the industrial base and enhance mission-readiness capabilities such as talent development; 3D printing and micro manufacturing; and advanced weapons systems maintenance, storage and sustainment.
“Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany is vital to the mission of the United States Marine Corps and has been since the installation was established in 1954,” Col. Dan Gillan, USMC (Retired), who chairs the Albany Area Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee and serves as CEO of the Albany Area YMCA, said. “The base and command are leading innovators within the Corps. Ongoing investments are needed to equip and sustain our facilities and our Marines — from investments in technology to investments in the work force. As a community and as a Military Affairs Committee, we have and will continue to stand behind our Marines in leading the support for these and other areas of priorities. Our Marines and Civilian Marines live in this community that we call home, and we will do what is necessary to further connections and be a voice of support.”
Fly-in participants included business-sector leadership and leadership from the city of Albany, Albany State University, Albany Technical College, Dougherty County, the Dougherty County School System, Phoebe Putney Hospital System, the Chamber’s long-standing Military Affairs Committee, as well as representatives from Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command.
“We thank our local partners for engaging in this meaningful work and presenting a united force to our leaders in Washington,” said Jake Reese, chairman of the chamber’s Government Affairs Committee and vice president of Albany-based LRA Constructors. “We had intensely relevant discussions about where we’ve been and where we’re headed and the partnerships required. It’s all very encouraging. Albany is well-positioned.”
The Albany Area Chamber is represented in Washington, D.C., by Cornerstone Government Affairs.