BEND, OR -- The Bend Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event Tuesday (Jan. 6), designed to give Central Oregonians an inside look at the upcoming legislative session. Jamie Christman says it’s also a chance for the Chamber to get an idea of what issues they need to watch closely. "There genuinely is a conversation that takes place. We’ll have Senator Tim Knopp and Representative Knute Buehler. And we also have a partner that we’ve reached out to and that is independent lobbyist Erik Kancler, who is also knowledgeable of what takes place behind the doors."
Christman tells KBND News, "We’re going to get an opportunity to take a look at what we can be proactive with, what we can also step up and make a stand for. And, that can be anything from land use and UGB, to taxes and increases to wage changes and laws, paid sick leave. Obviously, the one thing we can all band behind is OSU Cascades and workforce housing." CEO Tim Casey expects the Chamber to take a more active role in legislative issues, this year. "This year, we’ve actually taken a different track. We’re reaching out and expanding to be a regional advocate," Casey tells KBND. "Jamie and I have reached out to all the cities in Central Oregon, the chambers, organizations that service the Central Oregon area and asked them, 'What is your priority for legislation that’s happening in Salem.' And from there, what we do is we put together a list for our Legislative committee. They take a look at it and they help prioritize it." Christman expects the Chamber will keep a close eye on land use and tax issues, along with the OSU-Cascades expansion, during the February session.
The Chamber’s Legislative Outlook Town Hall begins Tuesday at 5 p.m., at the Deschutes Brewery Tap Room.