Kershner: Lobbying is a key to region’s business success

The May primary elections are now behind us and everyone is gearing up for the state legislative primaries later this summer, then the Nov. 8 general elections. Coming out of the May primary elections two things are very clear: Ohio will have an expensive and highly contested U.S. Senate race, and the Dayton region will be the focus of the Ohio governor’s race.

No matter who wins the political contests this fall, one thing will remain constant: Our region’s voice in Columbus and Washington D.C. is more important now than it has ever been. As a matter of fact, lobbying isn’t only important for the Dayton region, it is a fundamental freedom protected in the United States Constitution. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that anyone has the right to “petition” the government; the right to address grievances of the government and request action of the government without fear of punishment or reprisal – translated into today’s layman’s terms: “lobbying the government.”

Legislators and government officials can’t be the experts on everything, nor should they try to be. They were elected to represent their constituents. Therefore, they rely on lobbyists, business associations and individuals to educate them on policies and help them craft good legislation. Everyone has the right to make their case, but it’s my job to make sure
the pro-business voice is louder and makes more sense for the future of Ohio than the anti-business voice. As the saying goes, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

Over the past few years, the business lobby in Dayton has tallied up economic successes that were good for OUR business community. We fought back initiatives like recreational marijuana, mandated paid sick leave, business vaccine mandates, and reduced sentencing for drug offenders. We championed legislation that supports military families, directs funding to economic development projects (like the Arcade, defense projects, Austin Landing and the Schuster Center), and initiatives that invest in our region’s infrastructure (I-75, Rt. 35 and Rt. 40).

The key to success is relationships, trust and being present. This past Tuesday, more than 100 business leaders were “present” from the Dayton region and came together at the Ohio Statehouse to make sure our region’s business voice was loud enough for all to hear. Our government officials only have the power and influence we give them. In order to affect change, we
need to understand their motivations and present a collaborative solution that helps meet their goals and supports the job creators that are driving the Dayton area economy. As we press forward this year and prepare for the 2023- 2024 General Assembly, you can be confident your region’s business lobbyists are present, and we have a seat at the table.


Chris Kershner, CAE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Download a PDF  of this article as it appeared in the Dayton Daily News.