Oregon Business & Industry members had the chance to communicate with Oregon legislators one-on-one during the OBI Lobby Day on Feb. 28.
About 35 signed up for the day filled with meetings with state senators and representatives, a Senate floor session and a luncheon with Nik Blosser, chief of staff for Gov. Kate Brown.
Several members said they valued the time to meet individually or in small groups with legislators.
“We really, really appreciate the opportunity to have these face-to-face dialogues,” said Sheri Sundstrom, with Hoffman Construction. “Hear what they’re thinking and how they’re strategizing, and then also be able to give our personal input from the business perspective.”
“Having 15 minutes to 45 minutes with a legislator was far more in-depth than what you can do in a legislative hearing,” agreed Rob Freres, with Freres Lumber. “We had several meetings of the measures we gave and we were well received. The legislators were open to hearing our concerns.”
Members met with seven senators and seven representatives throughout the day. They hit on major topics including taxes, PERS cost control, the proposed carbon-reduction bill, employment law changes and many other issues. “It’s great to have opportunities to speak with them,” said Scott Hibbs, with The Standard, “and make sure they understand the issues that affect business in Oregon because they’re not simple. A lot of them are complicated and nuanced.”
“What I love about Oregon is that our state representatives are open and available,” said Jordan Pape, with The Pape Group. “It was a great format to have the conversation.”
OBI President & CEO Sandra McDonough said it is important for the legislators to hear from OBI members in addition to meeting with OBI staff. “We talk regularly to lawmakers, but it makes a real difference for them to hear directly from businesses that will experience the laws they are considering.”
“I think it was a great opportunity for members to get in front of legislators on the issues that matter to business in Oregon,” Hibbs said. “We want to make sure we have a good business environment that grows jobs for the people of Oregon.”
“It was a pleasure to come up and talk with senators and representatives about the future of Oregon and its economy,” Pape said. “We hope to create a stronger Oregon for the future.”