Our Chamber Takes the Hill

This past month, our Coral Gables Chamber member delegates “took to the Hill” for our annual fly-in to the nation’s capital.

Equal parts advocacy trip and opportunity for greater fellowship and networking, the Coral Gables Chamber’s yearly forays to D.C. are an invaluable opportunity to tell our story while sharing the needs of our local business community.

Of course, no matter how much planning we do around the issues we wish to highlight, there is always something that sucks the oxygen out of the room. This year, as Congress was coming off a district work week, we found ourselves in D.C. in the middle of a banking crisis conversation not seen since 2008.

Yes, the issues were different, and the breadth and depth of the failures were not what we saw 15 years ago (thankfully), but they served as a reminder of how fragile our economy is and the stress that inflation has put on its recovery.

Nonetheless, we soldiered on with our legislative priorities that covered the gamut — funding for our mobility hub in the Gables, opposition to the FTC’s desire to eliminate all non-competes, greater dollars for small business, $725 million for Everglades restoration, and reauthorization/modernization of the Small Business Administration.

We were joined by partners from Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and the Florida International University Alumni Association, along with members of our Business & Government Affairs Committee. FIU also hosted us in their gorgeous new space on New Jersey Avenue, in the shadow of the Capitol, for a briefing and tour.

Mark Trowbridge

With earmarks in play for the first time in nearly 15 years, the City of Coral Gables is seeking $4 million in funding for its future-forward mobility hub, thanks to the skillful work of Becker, the City’s federal lobbyist. We were able to meet with representatives from the offices of Congressman Gimenez, Congresswoman Salazar, and Congressman Diaz-Balart (who is the dean of the Florida delegation and a leader in appropriations) to lend our full-throated support for these dollars.

We also met directly with Senators Rubio and Scott, both of whom support our stance on non-competes, small business funding (for the SBDC, SBA and SCORE), and greater accountability in government, especially as it relates to financial services.

While the news we are often fed in Miami is different from what may be happening in D.C., it is important for our leaders to hear directly from small business owners and those who are engaged in the day-to-day challenges of hiring a qualified workforce, having access to capital, and being able to scale and grow their businesses. This will be the theme of our Small Business Summit on May 3 at the Coral Gables Art Cinema. We hope you will spend the afternoon with us as we continue to be the leading advocate and champion for small business in our region. It’s in our DNA.

And do consider making plans to join us next year in either Tallahassee or D.C. to share your own story and how government can be more solutions-oriented. As we heard many times during our trip, members of Congress can’t help solve problems if they don’t hear and know about them. As a Chamber, it’s our job to further amplify your voice.