With election season upon us, we have had a number of
conversations with Chamber members concerning the relationship between our
chamber, the U.S. Chamber and also the Montana Chamber of Commerce.
The Missoula Chamber of Commerce’s current position is to
not endorse candidates. The Missoula Chamber of Commerce’s key role is to keep
members informed. Through advocacy the Chamber will use its collective voice to
help shape policy. The Missoula Chamber’s responsibility to positions is to
ensure that we share both sides of issues and educate our membership to the
pros and cons of every issue before action is taken. While the U.S. Chamber and
Montana Chamber occasionally endorse candidates, the Missoula Area Chamber of
Commerce does not.
The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce holds memberships with
both the U.S. Chamber and the Montana Chamber of Commerce. Those two
organizations are not related in any way to our chamber nor do they regulate or
control our chamber in any way.
Although all chambers can work with all levels of
government, they tend to concentrate their efforts on specific levels:
Local chambers of commerce tend to focus on
State chambers tend to focus on state issues
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce focuses on national
issues at the federal government level
U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not a governing body, chartering agent, or a
regulatory agency for chambers of commerce, and they have no say in how
chambers decide to run themselves. The U.S. Chamber does not have the authority
to represent or speak politically for local chambers of commerce. Any community
can organize and support a chamber of commerce.
Hopefully, this clears up a sometimes confusing connection
with these other organizations. Do we sometimes work with them and/or support
them in their efforts? Yes. Do we always agree with their stance on every
issue? No, we do not.
With elections in the air, it is prudent to note that the US
Chamber has a PAC (Political Action Campaign) that raises money separate from
memberships that is specific to their campaigning on issues and candidates.
None of our membership dues to them contributes to these ads or political
The Missoula Chamber’s Director of Government Affairs Clint
Burson is available to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding
advocacy. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.