The EGA is responsible for creating awareness and building advocacy for legislative priorities adopted by the Chamber. The EGA also promotes the local, state, and federal legislative interests of the business community and works to highlight and discuss issues of interest. It is dedicated to identifying and solving the key economic issues facing the City of Alameda.
Additionally, EGA is responsible for directly contacting elected officials to consider the Chamber legislative agenda and other key issues, providing strategic direction on legislative initiatives focused on business.
Every year, the Chamber outlines its legislative agenda with an eye on local, state, and federal legislation. Through interviews, research, discussion, and debate, the EGA develops positions based on the Chamber’s legislative agenda, and advocates at all levels of government and throughout the business community. The Chamber’s legislative agenda is based on feedback from Chamber members, investor partners in the community, local/state government, and educational institutions.
There are two primary types of advocacy the Chamber may get involved in:
individual member business advocacy where a member requires the assistance of the Chamber for introductions or requests Chamber support for their business issue such as in the case of a letter of reference/support for a City lease or zoning challenge; or
legislative advocacy where the Chamber works with local resources in support for or against an initiative or ballot measure such as the work completed on behalf of restaurants during COVID to allow them to acquire additional (albeit temporary) outdoor space through parklets.
Sub-Part 1: Composition and Duties
The EGA is comprised of a Chair, co-chair (if needed), and committee members who perform duties at the request of the chair. Duties of the EGA chair include, but are not limited to, leading EGA meetings online and/or in person, serving as a legislative key contact for the Chamber, and attending and speaking at local legislative meetings and/or Chamber events. The chair of the EGA makes recommendations to the Executive Committee and must be a board member in good standing.
The role of the EGA Committee includes, but is not limited to,
Building strong relationships with members of local, state, and/or federal government leadership.
Publishing an annual legislative agenda that articulates the underlying principles that shape Chamber public policy statements and determines legislative priorities.
Expanding the Chamber’s legislative programming.
Recruiting other volunteers to participate in EGA.
Helping Chamber staff and Board determine the impacts of legislative proposals on operations and functions.
Staying informed about legislative issues and status and keeping staff, board, and membership informed on communications and legislative activities.
Sub-Part 2: Advocacy
- Individual Member Advocacy
When a member business requires assistance from the Chamber in speaking on its behalf in front of a governing body, such as City Council, or to provide a letter of support for a member, the decision to advocate or not is at the discretion of the President/CEO. Whether the Chamber advocates for a member business shall be determined by the President/CEO in consultation with the Board or Executive Committee. The best interests of the Chamber should be represented when deciding upon advocacy and the extent to which the Chamber will become involved, and any consideration will be of Chamber members in good standing only.
An example of advocating for an individual member is if a business needs assistance with permitting, leasing, or other ministerial matters related to its individual business.
Another example would be if the member requires policy change or is involved in a competitive bid with the City and requests the Chamber advocate on its behalf.
Each scenario requires a different process, as outlined below:
- Individual Member Advocacy Process
If an individual member or third-party organization is requesting support for a ministerial issue, they shall submit the request in writing (on paper or electronically) to President/CEO of Chamber, outlining the issue and its impacts to their business, and, if applicable the community or industry impacted. The Chamber President/CEO will work with the business to determine if the Chamber is in a position to assist and provide support at their discretion. If needed, the President/CEO will consult with the EC or Board, but a Board vote is not required.
If a member, or group of members, require Chamber support in advocating for a policy change or new legislation, or is involved in a public process, the President/CEO of the Chamber will request the information in writing. Requests should be made at least 30 days prior to any desired action. However, decisions may be made outside of the 30-days for urgent issues. The President/CEO will consult with the Chair of EGA to ensure member advocacy on the subject does not conflict with current Chamber legislative efforts. If the member(s) is requesting the Chamber take a public position on policy, legislation, or any issue requiring a vote of an elected body, the President/CEO will bring the issue to the full board for a presentation of both sides of the issue, a recommendation by the President/CEO, board discussion and vote.
If there is a situation where two or more chamber businesses are involved in a competitive bidding process (or other competitive activity) and are seeking endorsement or support from the Chamber, the Chamber will remain neutral and will not take a position.
- Legislative Advocacy
In addition to individual advocacy, the Chamber advocates for pro-business legislation.
Legislative advocacy is overseen by the EGA. The EGA’s aim is to be involved in legislative issues that affect businesses in Alameda, including ballot measures, new or changing ordinances, or other public policy matters.
- Legislative Advocacy Process
When a legislative issue faces the business community as a whole, the EGA will consider support or opposition through the following process:
The EGA chair and committee will decide if the issue or initiative falls under the Chamber’s mission.
The committee will perform its due diligence in researching the pros and cons and understand the ramifications of support or opposition.
If the Committee believes it is worthwhile to pursue official Chamber support or opposition, it will put together a presentation and/or information on both sides of the issue and present at a noticed EGA meeting. At the EGA meeting an electronic poll of attendees will survey support of opposition for the item. The President/CEO and EGA chair will report the outcome to the full Board. The Board will also receive a presentation on both sides of the issue and vote to oppose or support.
If approved, the item will be added to the legislative agenda and advocacy will be coordinated by EGA.