Sound Off

Sound Off: Is the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce a dues-paying member of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, and does it financially and philosophically support the political agenda of the state chamber’s Political Action Committee?

“The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce does not engage in lobbying for or against any candidates for elected office, nor do we contribute to PACs,” said interim chamber president and CEO Hank Booth. “Our mission is to support the business community and educate the public and elected officials on the value businesses bring to our communities. We are a current member of the state chamber as are most local chambers of commerce. As with all organizations, we are not always in agreement on all issues. Our focus is on serving the needs of our local businesses and working for the economic vitality of Lawrence and Douglas County.”


Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

The answer is a little off.

The Chamber does get involved in:

  1. City Commission elections
  2. County Commission elections
  3. School Board elections
  4. SLT issue

Any time an organization belongs and pays dues to say the state Chamber that is supporting the State Chamber of Commerce. The Kansas State Chamber of Commerce has become a right wing PAC and think tank and will be involved dumping republicans that challenge Sam Brownback.... this is not a secret.

The national Chamber of Commerce is identical.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 2 months ago

The "dues paying member" phrase is an echo of the "card-carrying" jazz from the McCarthy days. Do you really want to go there?

optimist 6 years, 2 months ago

As a taxpayer I help to fund the federal government, even things I don't agree with. The reason I don't relinquish my citizenship every time I disagree with something is because overall I enjoy my citizenship and the protections it provides. If I disagree with the leadership I remain a part of the system and work for change. I certainly don't let a bunch of anti-business, anti-growth fools brow beat me into abandoning something that is primarily good over a single issue.

Joe Hyde 6 years, 2 months ago

The state needs more people who think like you, so long as they are fair-minded and also courageous enough to not let a bunch of pro-business, pro-development fools brow beat them into supporting something that is primarily bad over a single issue.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 2 months ago

Actually, it is false to claim "most" chambers of commerce are members of the state chamber. Many of the state's largest chambers have dropped their membership.

This is a real issue, and the answer given by the chamber here is woefully inadequate and offensive.

Why is the Lawrence chamber supporting the mission and political views of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce? For example, the Kansas Chamber is supporting higher property taxes, is opposed to funding K-12 and higher education, and supports slashing funding for local SRS offices, for transportation projects like the SLT and US-59, and many other items vitally important to Lawrence businesses.

Shame on the Lawrence Chamber, and shame on its leadership for brushing aside this important question.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

It's definitely time for the city of Lawrence stakeholders aka taxpayers to replace the local Chamber of Commerce as the economic development team.

Bring economic development to city hall = better bang for the tax buck.

David Reynolds 6 years, 2 months ago

The last time I checked the Chamber is supported by member fees, ie local businesses.

juma 6 years, 2 months ago

All would be solved and crystal clear if we brought back Laverne Squires.

WilburM 6 years, 2 months ago

It's truly shameful for the local chamber to belong to the state chamber organization, which has become an ideological voice that does not represent the best interests of the state or of Lawrence. Lawrence Chamber members should get the hell out of the state chamber. It's beyond embarrassing -- it's wrong and counterproductive to the interests of Lawrence.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

Welcome to KochKansas, Wilbur........I agree; Lawrence should drop out.

David Reynolds 6 years, 2 months ago

Just what are the business interests of Lawrence, of which you speak?

seriouscat 6 years, 2 months ago

"The Kansas Chamber of Commerce suffered a black eye when the 11th-largest general building contractor in the United States quit in protest of the business association's hardball politics.

It wasn't the first sign some of the state's political and business elite were disenchanted with the philosophical approach take by the Kansas Chamber. And it won't be the last.

Bill Dunn Jr., executive vice president of J.E. Dunn Construction, said in an interview with The Topeka Capital-Journal that the Kansas City, Mo., company recently severed ties after concluding the Kansas Chamber's narrow agenda no longer served the best interests of Kansans.

He said he couldn't sit passively while an organization that had served the state well in the past was molded into a surrogate for the far right that alienated Democrats and many Republicans."

Sept 2010. Think it's gotten any better since then?

optimist 6 years, 2 months ago

Please don't buy into the idea that this was a selfless protest. J.E. Dunn's business benefits greatly from public construction projects. Consequently when the Kansas Chamber opposed tax increases and supported spending reductions in the state they saw this as an impediment to their business interests. J.E. Dunn is no more selfless than the next company. I understand their reason for withdrawing from the State Chamber of Commerce but for them to make it sound like they were being righteous is transparent, at least for some of us. They acted in their own self interests as we all do regardless of what those interests are: financial, emotional, authoritative, dogmatic, faithful, etc...

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

Is it any wonder that Obama did not put money in his budget for the Manhattan facility considering that the nat'l chamber,state chamber,local chamber,our extreme right wing Kansas delegation,the right wing governor,the republican controlled Ks legislation and the LJW editorials slam the president 24/7?

Can we say get real.....

Although not everyone in Manhattan wants that toxic waste generator in Manhattan. So it's probably for the best.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 2 months ago

The Mope's proposed budget is a campaign piece, nothing more.

blindrabbit 6 years, 2 months ago

How much money does the City of Lawrence and Douglas County contribute to the Lawrence Chamber each year? Are separate monies contributed directly to the State Chamber.. Also, I thought that The City was to hire a Development Director; and therefore might not need to contribute to Lawrence Chamber if this was hired correctly; also monies to DLI. As a former member of the Lawrence Chamber i can attest the for the most part the membership is made up of a Country Club (like crowd), membership contolled by real estate, builders, bankers, insurance agents and other professionals; with little impact or power from the retail community.

Regardless of the comments made by Mr. Booth, about interaction with the State Chamber and it's political agenda, the Lawrence Chamber is it now composed is like minded individuals. Much of what the conservative State Chamber champions if of a different ilk than what is Lawrence "Like"!

JackMcKee 6 years, 2 months ago

The State Chamber has ceased to have anything to do with promoting business. It now just promotes a radical political agenda that actually harms business. It's time to put these people on the next train out of Dodge.

David Reynolds 6 years, 2 months ago

Radical by what standard? Any examples of this radical agenda?

JackMcKee 6 years, 2 months ago

targeting non-radical politicians that refuse to support Brownback/Kochs agenda, which includes the largest tax increase in Kansas' history.

optimist 6 years, 1 month ago

The term "targeting" is inflammatory as stated by the DNC and multiple mainstream media organizations. This type of inflammatory rhetoric leads to violence. Since when is it radical for a free American to contribute to political organizations, candidates and exercise their free speech in opposition to candidates that they disagree with? I thought that was political discourse. It's not always pretty but both sides participate. I suggest one is only radical if they disagree with you. Is it possible that you are the radical and they are the mainstream? Labeling others radical does nothing to enhance your viewpoint or intelligence. It merely makes it and you look weak.

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