Tuesday, March 9, 2010

EDC and Chamber Heads visit Washington DC with Tri-State Economic Leaders

Economic development leaders from the Tri-State traveled this week to Washington, D.C. to discuss carbon legislation, more commonly known as cap and trade, as well as critical transportation issues, including the continued funding of I-69, with congressional leaders from Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.  GO-EDC President Nick Brake and Chamber of Commerce Jody Wassmer joined chamber of commerce and economic development agency heads from Evansville, Henderson, northwest Kentucky, and southeastern Illinois for the visit.

“Cap and trade legislation imposes potentially significant tax burdens on local energy-intensive industries, especially the aluminum industry, which is highly concentrated in the Tri-State region,” said Brake.  "Members of Congress from our three states are working together to not only defeat cap and trade, but to keep the EPA from regulating CO2 emissions that would negatively impact local industries."  

The group also met with staffers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce working on the cap and trade legislation.  Regional transportation priorities discussed during the trip included the continued funding of I-69 in Indiana and Kentucky; and, the conversion of U.S. Highway 50 to four-lanes in Southeastern Illinois connecting to I-69 to I-57 in central Illinois. 

"Continued progress for I-69 in both Kentucky and Indiana will require significant federal support," said Wassmer.  "We heard strong support for I-69 from the Congressional delegation from all three states."

During the 2-day Capitol Hill visit, the group had meetings with members of Congress and staff, including Dick Durbin (IL) Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (KY), the Senate's top ranking Republican, and Richard Lugar, Indiana’s senior Senator. Additionally, the group met with Representatives Brad Ellsworth (IN), Ed Whitfield (KY), Brett Guthrie (KY), John Shimkus (IL), and Tim Johnson (IL).  

“All the legislators we visited were impressed by the cooperative nature of our Tri-State delegation,” said Brad Schneider, President of the Henderson/Henderson County Chamber of Commerce. “Regionalism definitely registers on Capitol Hill.”

"We delivered a powerful message about how our region works together," said Matt Meadors, President and CEO of the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to Brake and Wassmer, members of the Tri-State delegation include: Matt Meadors, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana; Greg Wathen, President and CEO of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana; Kevin Sheilley, President and CEO of Northwest Kentucky Forward; Brad Schneider, President of the Henderson/ Henderson County Chamber of Commerce; and Brandi Stennent, Executive Director of the Richland County, Illinois Development Corp.

The visit to Washington by the Tri-State delegation is an outgrowth of the partnership created with the Regional Economic Summit, a gathering of economic leaders from a 26 county region of southwest Indiana, southeastern Illinois and northwest Kentucky in November 2008.

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