Charlotte Chamber members traveled to Raleigh May 4 on the annual Advocacy Bus Trip to meet with legislators. The group focused on several issues from the chamber’s 2015-2016 legislative agenda in their conversations with law makers: transportation, education, economic development and the economic pain felt by HB2.
Attendees began the day at the North Carolina Chamber’s Government Affairs Luncheon, where North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper shared his perspective on current issues including the economy, consumer protection, utility regulation and education funding. The candidate for governor also shared his position on HB2.
The conversation continued with Ted Abernathy, managing partner of Economic Leadership LLC, and Chris Chung, CEO of North Carolina’s Economic Development Partnership. They discussed the competitive advantages and disadvantages our state faces regarding infrastructure, transportation, incentives and taxes. Chung noted that while he is often asked ‘how he sells’ North Carolina, he remarked it changes greatly depending on the specific needs of the company and their business requirements. Abernathy highlighted the need to support policies that promote growth in our most rural counties without over regulating or stifling growth in the urban cores.
After lunch, Charlotte Chamber staff and members walked the halls of the legislature and saw the state senate and house in session. The group experienced the importance of building relationships with those serving in Raleigh. They also helped by putting a face to key issues like workforce development, regulatory reform and transportation.
Late that afternoon, the group attended the North Carolina Chamber's Government Affairs Conference at the Museum of History, where Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, House Minority Leader Larry Hall, Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown each offered their perspective on current legislative issues and the work they hope to accomplish during this short session.
Governor Pat McCrory used his scheduled appearance as his first opportunity to respond to the letter issued that afternoon from the Department of Justice stating that HB2 violates both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The governor reminded attendees that North Carolina is experiencing successes in job growth, a budget surplus and increases in teacher pay during his term in office.
Special thanks to McGuire Woods, presenting sponsor, Smith Anderson, silver sponsor, and our Public Policy Fund Sponsors for making this trip possible.