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Issue No. 1
March 2016
The Business Advocate

Of the three core promises we make to you...Connect, Communicate, Influence...
it's the promise of Influence that really becomes important in an upcoming election year.

This is a year that will not only have policy issues potentially affecting our economic environment, but we will also be making decisions on the elected officials we put in office to implement and uphold public policy that makes this a better place to conduct business.

We have converted our Advocate publication to an all-digital format, and you are receiving our first edition. We will be 'publishing' the Advocate on a quarterly basis throughout the year, providing you with current issues, and relaying the Chamber's position on ballot issues, millage requests, and candidate endorsements on a local, regional, and in some cases, a State platform.

In our first issue we will be sharing how our candidate endorsement process is facilitated and which of the elected offices we will be reviewing for endorsement. We will also be listing the ballot proposals that, although they are not finalized, may be on the November, 2016 ballot. And finally, we will be sharing our current Legislative Priorities for your review.

Our Board of Directors believes that the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce has a responsibility to our members and our community to advocate for issues and elected officials that will make this community a better place to conduct business, generating jobs and careers.


Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce
2016 Legislative Overview

Election year 2016 is already proving to be one of the most unpredictable in U.S. history. With an open seat for president, the US Senate and House of Representatives in the balance, a Supreme Court vacancy and many state and local races, the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce will be following races and endorsing candidates and ballot proposals.

The Chamber has a long history of endorsing candidates at the state, county and local levels of government; it's where we know we can have the most impact to help elect those candidates that reflect the views of the Chamber and its membership.

Offices we will consider for endorsement include the following:
  • State Representative 94th District
    (Incumbent Tim Kelly (R), Saginaw Township
  • State Representative 95th District
    (Incumbent Vanessa Guerra (D), Bridgeport
  • State Representative 98th District
    (Open Seat - Western Saginaw County) 
  • Saginaw County Board of Commissioners
    Districts 1-11
  • Saginaw County Sheriff
  • Saginaw County Prosecutor 
  • Saginaw County Clerk
  • Saginaw County Register of Deeds
  • Saginaw County Public Works Director
  • Saginaw City Council (4 Open Seats)

Here's the process.
The Screening & Endorsement Committee is comprised of Saginaw County Chamber Board Members and issue experts who align with the Chamber's position on legislative issues. This Ad Hoc committee meets to review issues and candidates and makes recommendations for endorsement to the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce's Executive Committee and Board of Directors for ratification.

After the filing deadline (Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 4 p.m.) the Chamber collects the list of all candidates who have filed for any of the previously listed offices.

Chamber staff contacts each candidate by US Mail using the address the candidate lists on file with either the Saginaw County Clerk's Office or Michigan Secretary of State Offices. Additionally, they are sent an email if one is available for them. Included in this communication is a questionnaire with questions prepared for the respective office they are seeking.

If the candidate completes the questionnaire and returns it to the Chamber by the deadline, they are offered a face-to-face interview with the Chamber's Screening & Endorsement Committee.

The Saginaw Chamber does not endorse in a primary election as this is believed to be a party function. Once the party's nominee is selected (in August), the Chamber will interview the remaining candidates running in the general election.

When a candidate receives the endorsement of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce, notifications are sent to the candidate, the Board of Directors and the Chamber membership. The Chamber issues a press release to the media and endorsed candidates are invited to Chamber events. The membership is encouraged to support the Chamber's endorsed candidates and vote for them in the general election.
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Policy Statements

Every two years as new legislative terms begin, the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce brings together business leaders from our communities who volunteer their time to focus on the legislative initiatives of the Chamber.

The committee reviews policy statements and makes recommendations to the Chamber Board of Directors to adopt positions that will help create a healthy business environment for job creation and economic growth.

These policy positions are then used to advocate to government officials, our membership and the public.
Chamber staff monitors legislative and policy issues at the local, state and federal levels and the impact of these issues on business and economic development in Saginaw County and works with legislators and other policy makers to communicate our positions.

During the 2nd year (even numbered year) of the legislative cycle, the policy documents are revised in order to remove those issues we've achieved and include new legislation or proposed policy.

The current legislative priorities can be found on the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Web Site at

In our next electronic publication, we will look at specific public policy and how it will affect Saginaw County.

As you see, the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is at the forefront of all things legislative, policy and political. We strive to work for you, our members, to support legislation and candidates that will work to create an environment that will help your business grow and thrive.

If you have an interest in serving in some capacity on our Screening & Endorsement Committee, please feel free to call either Bob VanDeventer or Veronica Horn.
Ballot Proposals/Millages

We expect several ballot proposals/millage requests in 2016. Currently, the following are being advanced and signatures (on state level ballot proposals) are being gathered to place these proposals on the 2016 ballot:

State Level Ballot Proposals (not official)
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Legalization of Marijuana
  • Prevailing Wage

It should be noted that none of these ballot initiatives have been verified yet, so we don't have specifics or the exact wording.


The Screening & Endorsement Committee will review ballot proposals/millage requests once and if they're on the ballots. We bring in experts on both sides of the issue and determine a Chamber position.