Yesterday members of the collaboration of Great Lakes Chambers of Commerce, a relatively new coalition of business leaders across the region, converged in D.C. with Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and the Canadian Consul Generals from Buffalo and Detroit to raise awareness of a common business agenda based on Brookings Metro Policy Program’s Blueprint for Prosperity.
The Great Lakes agenda addresses issues specific to the region related to immigration, the US-Canadian border, innovation, infrastructure, and Great Lakes Restoration.
This effort could not have come at a more critical time in the Congressional schedule because of the attention being given by legislators to reconciling the two differing versions of the stimulus package.
Yesterday the group met with Tom Donahue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and attended a legislative reception, which was visited by Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Vern Ehlers (R-MI).
Today the group convenes at the Canadian Embassy with Ambassador Wilson to discuss the agenda, lobbying on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and staff, and an evening reception at the conference on Older Industrial Cities hosted by the Northeast Midwest Institute.
This gathering is unprecedented in the history of the Great Lakes Chambers in that they are working together for the first time as a coalition, and also working with the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and other environmental organizations.
The driver in each and every conversation yesterday is that we all have a common agenda – revitalize the Great Lakes Economic Region, and a big part of this revitalization rests in Great Lakes Restoration.