Annual Chamber DC Fly-In Wraps, Attendees Reflect on Positive Connections - THCOC
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Annual Chamber DC Fly-In Wraps, Attendees Reflect on Positive Connections

Annual Chamber DC Fly-In Wraps, Attendees Reflect on Positive Connections

WASHINGTON, DC – Members of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, including state and city leaders have returned from a whirlwind trip to Washington, DC. The group says now the real work will begin; continuing conversations with state and federal lawmakers and reporting back to agencies in West Central Indiana on what they learned during the 48 hour trip.

“Although the snow and ice caused cold, brisk walks, the interactions with public policy leaders and agency directors made for a productive visit to Capitol Hill,” said RJL Solutions Partner Rachel Leslie, who facilitated the trip in partnership with the Chamber. “It was a busy time to visit DC just weeks after the midterm election. Newly elected officials were in town for orientation, new leadership positions were being assigned, and new agency programs were being developed to be released before the end of the year. The fast-paced environment made for an ever evolving agenda.”

Leslie explains that the trip’s agenda is created to advance the Chamber’s legislative agenda with the city, county and region in mind. She says that planning and scheduling began two months before leaving with a strategic look at federal priorities which align with the Chamber’s agenda. Included in that was rural development, broadband funding, prison expansion and long term transportation funding.

Meetings included time with Senator Todd Young (R-IN), Lani Czarniecki, External Affairs for Vice President Mike Pence, Chad Parker the Assistance Administrator for Rural Utilities Services at the USDA and numerous staffers with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

“The meetings were a great way to provide more detailed information on programs that we are familiar with locally – and also to learn about opportunities that we might be unaware of, but could be beneficial to our region,” said Sara Smith, Vice President of Sycamore Engineering and the Chamber’s Advocacy Committee Chairwoman. “We want our community to grow and the education and funding is out there.  Learning how to navigate those paths is the challenge.  I feel we made huge steps forward in that process.”

The group returned to the region late Thursday evening. Chamber Vice President Kristin Craig explains that with new knowledge and information the group will continue to position West Central Indiana for growth and opportunity. In terms of things like prison development, the group will continue to work with Senator Young. The USDA also has funding options that could benefit the area.

“We learned a lot about grants, funding that is available in our area and other programs coming down the pipeline in the future,” Craig said. “We plan to continue the conversation and do what needs to be done here so that when the time comes we can take advantage; have all the right players in the room, have the knowledge, have everything we need to make the advancements that we’ve been working towards.”

To read additional coverage, see photos and reactions from attendees, continue to follow the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce on facebook and visit our blog via

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