Boot Camp in Portland Drives Home Case for Chamber Political Involvement

The association’s fifth annual Political Action Boot Camp held last month in Portland outlined best practices and the need for chambers of commerce to lead in helping elect business-friendly candidates to office.

The Boot Camp, which was coordinated by W.A.C.E. Vice Chair Nathan Ahle, the president/CEO of the Fresno (CA) Chamber, was kicked off with an overview of the political landscape by U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President Rob Engstrom.

Key Ingredients

Throughout the day several key ingredients for success were emphasized, but leading the list was the often-repeated “make sure you have good legal advice and counsel.”

Three Perspectives

“Winning Elections and Lessons Learned” were presented from three perspectives: political strategists, elected officials, and chamber executives whose chambers were already engaged in the political arena. Each panel was jam-packed with practical, tactical and strategic advice and suggestions.
“I look forward to putting into action the informational nuggets I collected and feel assured that I have a great resource for guidance in W.A.C.E.,” said Daniel Brooks, business advocacy manager for the Billings (MT) Chamber.

“The Political Action Boot Camp provided current, insightful education for chambers large and small,” said Ashley Huckaby May, vice president of the Hood River County (OR) Chamber. “The caliber of the program, speakers and panels was nothing short of exceptional. My only complaint…I have to wait an entire year to attend another.”

Elections Matter

“There’s no doubt, elections matter,” said W.A.C.E. President Dave Kilby. “With an ever-increasing number of chambers engaging in the political arena, we think it’s our job to make sure that they are armed with the tools to be successful and do it right.”