BEND, OR -- As the Bend Chamber of Commerce plans for 2015, Chamber officials are hoping to take a more pro-active approach to future political races. President and CEO Tim Casey says board members already meet with local politicians each month, but the most recent Bend city council race prompted them to get more involved. "Starting next year, in January, we’re going to start doing a report card, and this is strictly on the City Council," Casey tells KBND News. "As issues come up with the city council, we’ll track the ones that have the greatest impact towards businesses and then we’ll be able to score each councilor and see how they voted."
Casey hopes the new scorecard system will offer quantifiable evidence of a candidate's business-related views in advance of the next election, in 2016. "Actually, I’ve been talking with a lot of leaders in the community who say it would be helpful - especially after going through this recent election - you have both candidates saying 'I’m really business friendly,' but we really don’t have any data to support that. So, hopefully this scorecard will help. The election is still 2 years away but it’s never too early to start. And, this is great, not only for us as an organization but also as councilors so they can also track how business-friendly they are." At this point, there are no plans to extend the report card program beyond Bend city councilors.