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Right or left: where does the Chamber stand politically?

Right or left: where does the Chamber stand politically?

Right or left:  where does the Chamber stand politically?

As the representative voice of the local business community, the Chamber justifiably finds itself in the spotlight around election time, with our members and community curious about our response to various issues, candidates, or campaigns that may have an impact on how we do business in Wilson.  While it is understandable that the Chamber might garner this kind of attention, it can sometimes proceed from a fundamental lack of familiarity with how the Wilson Chamber of Commerce engages the political process.
Firstly, it would be wrong to suggest that the Chamber is strictly non-political.  It is in the best interest of our members to remain in constant communication with our elected officials on both sides of the aisle, and we do take a special interest in the governmental process.  However, we have no particular concern for how that process breaks along party or ideological lines.  Rather, our focus is narrowed on making sure that local business interests are fairly represented by politicians and candidates, and we advocate strongly for a transparent and inclusive exchange of ideas.
Secondly, the Wilson Chamber of Commerce does not make any endorsements of candidates.  We encourage each of our members to participate in the political process according to their own conscience and personal preference, but none of them speak on behalf of the Chamber as a whole, which remains totally neutral to the success of any candidate.  Note that this policy applies only to the Wilson Chamber of Commerce.  There actually are other local, state, and national chambers that will endorse candidates.  When this occurs, it should never be interpreted that the Wilson Chamber shares those sentiments.
The Chamber will occasionally voice support or opposition to particular causes or issues.  However, this is done almost exclusively after extensive discussions with local partners that the cause or issue most significantly effects.  Partisanship is not a consideration when these issues are deliberated.
Because the Chamber will not (and cannot) be discriminatory in who joins its membership ranks, it is not uncommon for political candidates, and even political parties, to join the Chamber, presumably to acquire first hand accounts of what is taking place within the Wilson business community that only membership in the Chamber can provide.  We do not actively recruit these types of members, and are unable to deny membership when it is requested.  Furthermore, once they become members, candidates or parties can and often do purchase promotional services (such as eMarketing tools) that are available equally to all of our members.  Again, these purchases should not be interpreted as any type of endorsement from the Chamber, and the messages are wholly owned by the member that creates them.
Finally, the Chamber publishes its Policy Agenda every year, which serves a summary for policy priorities we believe best serve our business community.  All of our members have an opportunity to comment on this agenda every year, which adjusts the agenda with the most up to date information on the issues impacting local businesses.  Once the agenda is approved by our board, we send it to elected and appointed officials in local, state, and federal offices, with the expectation that they reference the agenda when making decisions that impact the Wilson business community, and we encourage our members to advocate for these issues when they have the opportunity to participate in the political process.

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