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Albany leaders got the chance to meet and discuss issues with national leaders at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual D.C. fly-in.

WASHINGTON — Albany leaders had the chance to rub elbows with national leaders during the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Washington, D.C., fly-in this week.

The annual event brings community leaders, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany leadership and members of the Georgia Congressional Delegation together. The fly-in is an Albany Area Chamber-led legislative advocacy initiative that allows for chamber and community leadership to discuss with members of the Georgia Congressional Delegation federal priorities of importance to Albany and the Albany area and to the Marine base

“(The annual fly-in) allows our leadership in Albany-Dougherty County and the Albany area to come to Washington to update our members of Congress on issues that are important to us,” Albany Area Chamber President/CEO Bárbara Rivera Holmes said.

This year’s delegation of 25 leaders — the largest group since the program began 15 years ago — includes business-sector leadership; city of Albany and Dougherty County government leaders; Phoebe Putney Hospital System representatives; top leadership of Albany State University, Albany Technical College, the Dougherty County School System and the Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy; and the leadership of Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command.

“The Washington fly-in is a valuable opportunity for our community to spend quality time with members of Congress to discuss the Albany Area’s advancements, opportunities and priorities, and allows our federal partners to share ideas and information with us,” Holmes said. “One of our long-standing priorities is strengthening and supporting Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, and our fly-in has been highly effective in advancing that cause.”

This year’s trip, which started Tuesday and concludes Thursday, helped build and strengthen relationships with high-ranking Marine Corps leadership as well, as the local group met with leaders at the Pentagon to discuss the mission-critical needs of Albany’s base and its major tenant, Marine Corps Logistics Command.

The group discussed the role and efforts of the Albany Area Chamber and community leadership in advocating and coordinating at the local, state and federal levels on policies and initiatives that strengthen the installation and its long-term sustainability.

The chamber planned to host a reception Wednesday evening for the Congressional Delegation and top ranking DC-based Marine Corps leaders.

The group will also meet at the Pentagon with Marine Corps leadership, and on Capitol Hill with Republican U.S. Sens. from Georgia Johnny Isakson and David Perdue; and U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, and Austin Scott, R-Tifton, on Wednesday.

In addition, the local Chamber-led Albany-Dougherty delegation has been invited to the Marine Corp’s reception and Sunset Parade, hosted by Lt. Gen. Daniel Lecce.

“We’re super excited,” Holmes said. “It’s not just about the policy component, it’s the relationship component with our federal leadership, and it’s also relationship-building between our local leaders. If you can imagine 25 of our local leaders coming to Washington, working together, on the same page, talking about the same things and expressing a very comprehensive view of where our community is, where we’re going, and how we can work with our national leaders. That’s a pretty amazing thing.”

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