From D.C. to K.C.

by

June 7, 2011

Chamber President and CEO James A. Heeter

The Chamber plays host – and advocate – this week to more than 20 staff members from our two-state congressional delegation. We call it “Spotlight Greater Kansas City” – three very full days of shining the light on key initiatives critical to our metropolitan area.

By way of explanation, most congressional offices are staffed by bright, young women and men, many of whom have rarely visited their bosses’ home districts. Spotlight is our biannual effort to provide them an intensive look at the region, our issues and our needs.

Intense is certainly an appropriate word. The schedule we’ve laid out for them would choke the proverbial horse.

In the three days they’re with us, we have sessions scheduled covering a variety of issues including biosciences, energy, engineering, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and transit. We’ll spend a morning at Black & Veatch, an afternoon at the Olathe Innovation Campus, and time both at MARC and our beautiful Board Room at Union Station.

We’ll spend several hours touring the region as well, focusing on infrastructure needs on both sides of the state line. (Federal dollars, as you know, are vital to fully-funding local transportation projects.)

We’ve provided some time for networking and a little relaxation at the end of the day, with receptions and dinners at Boulevard Brewery and the studios of sculptor Tom Corbin (the artist behind the Firefighters Memorial Fountain on 31st Street) – two very cool places to show off Kansas City.

My thanks and congratulations to our Government Relations staff for organizing yet another successful event. This is all about building relationships, and Spotlight Greater Kansas City does just that. As Brian Klippenstein, Deputy Chief of Staff for Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, tells us:

Spotlight Greater KC is truly a unique opportunity to best understand the diverse activities and meet the leadership of the Greater Kansas City area efficiently and enjoyably. Loaded with diverse on-site exposure, first hand contact with public and private sector leaders, as well as fellow staff from the area delegation, there is no better way to pack in more value in such limited time to prepare you for K.C. – area public advocacy.”

A final thought:  we regularly bemoan our bistate nature, but in this case there’s a benefit. We have not two but four U.S. Senators and a sizable two-state congressional delegation representing our regional interests. Spotlight Greater KC is your Chamber’s effort to take full advantage of that.

If you’d like to take a look at the Spotlight agenda, click here. For a list of congressional staffers attending, click here.

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