HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce pays attention to what goes on in Montgomery and has a list of priorities heading into this Legislative Session.
Mainly, these priorities add up to economic development and the things that create it.
Some of these priorities the Chamber outlined are:
- Enhancing Alabama's economic development incentives, like providing research and development tax credits for work done in Alabama
- Supporting workforce development, like a skilled and educated workforce, through Pre-K expansion and career coaching initiatives
- School funding
- Capital projects for community colleges
- Investment in higher education including support for UAH, AAMU, and cybersecurity
- More support to expand US Cyber Camp
- Improving local infrastructure including road construction projects
- Supporting local breweries, wineries, distilleries, and retailers through decreasing state-mandated requirements and regulations plus a "more reasonable" state tax on liquor
Many of these goals support economic growth in communities the Chamber serves.
The Chamber leaders follow what's going on in the state capital, and they cultivate relationships with those who represent us there.
"Having a good relationship with the Legislature means you have a better chance of creating a positive environment for growth," explained Mike Ward, Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce.
He said Madison County and the surrounding area is lucky to have a strong delegation in the state capital, and he said he is proud that Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) is Speaker of the House and Rep. Anthony Daniels (D- Huntsville) serves as House Minority Leader.
"To have people in those key leadership positions who are interested in knowing how they can help us continue to grow this economy is critical for our success," he explained.
Ward predicts a slightly shorter Legislative Session, due to it being an election year. Still, he believes the partnership with state leaders and a focus on the things that affect economic development will bring this area success.
Rep. Mac McCutcheon, Speaker of the House in Alabama, said that Pre-K is something on his mind heading into the session.
"We are trying to get every area funded for Pre-K," he stated, "so we are going to be able to advance that a little further.
This is something Ward supports: "We want to make sure we are educating our future employees so that there's a workforce that's ready to meet the jobs we are creating in this economy," he explained.