Advocating for our region in our nation’s capitol

DAYTON, Ohio (April 2018) – This past week about 120 business and community leaders were in the nation’s capital for our annual Washington Fly-In. Our community has been encouraging our area leadership to attend this gathering for more than 30 years. I feel I can share my point of view on this as this year marks my 25th consecutive trip with our group there to promote the Dayton and Miami Valley region’s top priorities for support from our federal elected and appointed officials.

The 2018 trip this past April 16-18 was one coordinated to share the region’s key initiatives through our area’s Priority Development and Advocacy Committee (PDAC). Our projects included those of our defense sector; economic development; healthcare; education; quality-of-life; and transportation and infrastructure. Our lists are prioritized in each of these areas before we go so we can meet with key federal leaders to create a “one voice” message of the support we need locally from our federal government.

Naturally, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has been a top priority on our list since the very beginning; and our region’s advocacy has helped time-after-time assure the continued strength of our and the state’s number-one, single-site employer. But along the way, we have made great strides by supporting dozens of other successful projects back home that have kept our community moving forward. Quite frankly, there have been so many successes in our 30+ years that it is difficult to name them all; but projects at WPAFB; I-75 through downtown Dayton; the Mound clean-up and redevelopment in Miamisburg; support of arts; human services; education; recreational venues; job creation programs and many others may never have come to fruition without this strong, face-to-face advocacy on behalf of our region’s multiple-county communities and citizens. And not one of them was the proverbial “bridge to nowhere” … not one!

I want to say thank you to the business leaders who formed this advocacy action at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce more than 30 years ago, but now to the leadership and many volunteers and staff of the Dayton Development Coalition, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Dayton Area Chamber who have continued this legacy and brought a diverse group of citizens together to continue creating a unified voice for our needs.

I have spoken with many of my counterparts in other cities around Ohio and the country and my peers consistently they say these 3 things: First, your group is one of the largest and most vocal gatherings of its kind in D.C. from anywhere in America. Secondly, our Dayton group is far more organized than most (if not all) communities. Third, due to our advocacy and the openness and strength of our senators and congressmen and women, we are really one of the more successful citizen lobbying groups in America for a community our size.

This has been a great, long-term effort by many over the years. Some of our area citizens may not be aware of the talent and energy used in this process to make our community a more successful place to live, work and play. I just thought I’d share this and say thank you to the hundreds of men and women who have participated in these good works over the last 3 decades. We need to stay this course … it seems to work really well for us.

To download a PDF of this article as it appeared in the Dayton Daily News, click here.

Phillip L. Parker, CAE, CCE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce