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Chamber, Rowan businesses travel to Washington D.C.

Chambers of Commerce and businesses from across the state took over Washington D.C. this week.
Rowan County’s Chamber of Commerce was one of dozens on Monday and Tuesday that attended the 2014 North Carolina Business and Economic Development Summit. The Rowan county group, which included a variety of local businesses, chatted with U.S. legislators and sat through talks from the U.S. Army chief of staff, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor and others.
Frank Goodnight, who represented Diversified Graphics on the trips, said the annual trip is always a valuable experience.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for small business people to be able to come to Washington and get to know their representatives personally,” Goodnight said. “It’s important to know who they are and what they are so that you can work with them directly and call them by their first name instead of having to say senator.”
Nine total Rowan County residents went on the D.C. trip, each paying his or her own expenses.
Besides rubbing elbows with Washington lawmakers, the group also advocated for federal funding for local projects, including an airport runway extension, an interchange near China Grove on Interstate 85, Interstate widening. Discussions with lawmakers primary focused on transportation improvements for Rowan County, said chamber of commerce president Elaine Spalding.
“We asked them to continue helping our community with the federal funding stream,” Spalding said. “They pledged to do everything they can. We had very informative meetings with our congressional delegation, which is just wonderful, particularly )(U.S. Rep) Virginia Foxx and (U.S. Rep) Richard Hudson.”
Spalding added that she was cautiously optimistic that funding requests would be successful.”
The group met with Foxx and Hudson in person. They met with staff members for Sen. Richard Burr, D-NC, and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-NC.
Tim Norris, who represented Healthcare Management Consultants, said small businesses can occasionally be faced with regulatory changes that could negatively affect business.
“The thing that we always have to be careful for is regulatory constraints on small businesses and that’s something that our congressional delegation is committed to help guard against,” Norris said.
After a meeting with Foxx, Spalding said that Rowan County owes a debt of gratitude to the business leaders who chose to make the trip.
“These business leaders took time out of their busy schedule and traveled to our nation’s capital on their own nickel to advocate on behalf on the community,” she said. “There’s a great group of business leaders in our community.”
Other members of the Rowan County delegation included: Pete Teague, of Dixon Hughes Goodman; Karla Costantino, of Century 21; Karen Alexander, of KKA Architecture; Randy Welch, of Duke Energy; Denise Hallett, of Vulcan Materials Company; and Robert Van Geons, of RowanWorks.
Contact Reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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