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To formally send off its legislators to the first session of the 110th General Assembly, the Roane Chamber’s Board of Directors and Roane Alliance President and CEO, Wade Creswell, presented the 2017 Legislative Agenda to Senator Ken Yager and Representative Kent Calfee at the 2017 Legislative Breakfast on Monday.
Each year, the breakfast serves as an avenue for concerned citizens to advocate directly to state legislators and other officials about which issues are most important to them. Of the different issues slated for the first session, local business, economic development and education were among the most important to Roane County.
To promote business development in Roane County and other rural areas, the chamber supports all recommendations from the Governor’s Rural Task Force in the areas of capacity-building and placemaking for communities, education, well-being and job creation. Bringing high-speed broadband access to all parts of Tennessee was cited as a top priority. “Having access to broadband is now the same as having access to water and power 20-30 years ago,” Creswell said. “It’s absolutely necessary for our companies ... as distance and telecommuting become part of our society.”
The chamber believes that education is critical to developing a successful, competitive workforce. It supports any statewide measure that ensures current high school and nontraditional students receive the same higher education funding opportunities as traditional students. According to Creswell, equal opportunities for higher education are key to becoming competitive in workforce development. “Creating those pathways from early education right into jobs and careers in our own community is the future, if we’re going to be competitive in economic development,” he said.
The biggest barrier to higher education? Funding. “Our state has gone above and beyond to provide funding for traditional students to seek post-secondary opportunities,” Creswell said. “We are taking a position that the legislature also fund students to have those same postsecondary opportunities before they are graduates of high school.”
The Roane Chamber, a partner of the Roane Alliance, works to enhance the lifestyle and business climate of Roane County and to promote existing business and industry by developing partnerships with federal, state and local organizations to carry out a variety of projects. The Roane Alliance is the comprehensive resource in anything and everything concerning businesses, tourism and economic development in Roane County, which includes the Industrial Development Board, Visitors Bureau and Chamber, and programs such as Education Matters and Retire Roane. Our mission is to create an environment and a unified voice that promotes job creation, economic development, enhanced quality of life, education and workforce. To learn more about the Roane Chamber or the Roane Alliance please call 865.376.2093 or visit roanechamber.com or roanealliance.org.