In 2018, the Greater Haines Chamber of Commerce began to undergo a key transition as an organization. Many excellent initiatives in Haines, such as conservation, social services, education, and community-life had found their voice at the borough, state, and federal level, but unfortunately the business community, which serves as the backbone that supports all these other initiatives, was essentially voiceless in the government sector. Furthermore, needed infrastructure repairs and improvements were being advocated against, and thus many opportunities for sustainable growth were passing our community by.The Haines Chamber answered the call to address these problems through advocacy for responsible commerce, infrastructure improvement, and inter-organizational collaboration.
Building on the foundational laid by the previous directors, Director Harmon began to lead this change initiative. She shares, “When I arrived as the Executive Director, I quickly found that there was a vacuum that needed to be filled. Local business owners were being negatively impacted by changing permitting and regulations, as well as neglected infrastructure. In many cases the local government would have been hesitant to make these strategic decisions, had they heard input from the local business community. Yet, these business owners often lacked the time and capacity to be up-to-date and involved with the government process. We determined as an organization that we would learn from and represent these business leaders as their advocate.”
By definition*, an advocate is “one who pleads the cause of another.” As the Chamber of Commerce, we understand that our primary function is to be an advocate for the Haines business community, which involves representation at the local, state, and federal levels. Our vision is for a thriving Haines requires a thriving local business sector, which benefits the governmental, consumer, and non-profit sectors. Indeed, the starting point for a thriving Haines is a thriving local business community. Advocacy is how we are making this vision a reality. Below we have included several of our advocacy initiatives. Each initiative contains letters of support, academic studies, official positions, and research from a wide range of organizations all of which contribute to our position. We hope that these resources help you to become familiar with the Chambers advocacy initiatives, and why certain specific positions were chosen.