BY AHMED HAQUE
Chairman of the Board
CARLSBAD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Two common misconceptions about the Chamber are that we are either a lobbying organization or an agency of the City of Carlsbad. After all, the US Chamber of Commerce is by far the nation’s largest lobbying group and other chambers in California promote economic development and tourism on behalf of their city.
While the Chamber does not endorse candidates or raise money for political purposes, we do host candidate forums and publish questionnaires that help voters understand where the candidates stand on the issues. We do not accept funding from the City of Carlsbad so that we can maintain an independent voice. The Chamber cultivates relationships between the business community and local government, but we speak up when we see legislation and policies that may adversely impact economic development.
It is in that spirit of dialogue and collaboration that we proudly host the annual State of the City lunch on August 24th, featuring an address by Carlsbad Mayor, Matt Hall, and a short video highlighting city priorities and accomplishments. This event provides citizens with a unique opportunity to network with business leaders and local government. In attendance are city councilmembers, senior city staff, mayors of other North County cities, candidates for office, and other elected officials at the state and county level. Be sure to register early as this event always sells out.
Many of our members have an interest in civic engagement, but don’t know where to begin. The many venues for governmental meetings and complexity of our legislative and policy making processes can be overwhelming. This year the Chamber is hosting a Civic Champion workshop, where you can learn how to be a more effective participant and advocate.
Another place to fuel your passion for public affairs is the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee. Many of the Chamber’s positions are formed through the study of emerging issues by this committee, which ultimately makes recommendations to the board of directors. The Chamber depends on its member-volunteers for this important function and additional perspectives are always welcome.
Winston Churchill once said “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others”. Anyone who watches 24-hour cable news or reads social media might echo Churchill’s sentiment. Where some see excessive tribalism in the fact that elections are increasingly too close to call, I see the power that every citizen has to shape the future.
Recent local elections and referendums were decided by a few thousand or even few hundred votes. Every single vote matters, so I hope you will study the issues, listen to the candidates, and make your voice heard at the ballot box.