Fourteen years ago, the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce (GGCC) established the Upcounty Business Breakfast Briefing (UCBBB) which affords Chamber members and Upcounty business leaders an opportunity to discuss legislative issues with their elected officials.
On Wednesday, October 16, the GGCC was honored to have Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich; and State Senators Cheryl Kagan, District 17; and Brian Feldman, District 15, as their guest speakers at its 14th Annual UCBBB.
“It’s always great to have our County and State leaders meet with our business leaders,” said Marilyn Balcombe, GGCC President/CEO
The event was sponsored and hosted by Hughes Network Systems, LLC – An EchoStar Company and held at their location in Germantown.
Keeping Montgomery County business-friendly was the forefront of the conversations held.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich delivered his thoughts at his first appearance at the breakfast since taking leadership of Montgomery County. Elrich said that the County is “serious about economic development”. Elrich noted that he recently went on a 4Business listening tour with County Council Vice President Sidney Katz, to listen to business owners concerns and experiences about starting and growing a business in Montgomery County. He added a “healthy business community is essential to our (the County’s) success”. It was noted the County is reinvigorating its direct involvement in economic activities by re-examining their regulations to make sure they are sensible, fair, and efficient towards businesses. He added “businesses are welcome here” and said the Government encourages County businesses to bid on County contracts; hence keeping the businesses happy and money in the County.
State Senator Cheryl Kagan advocates on behalf of non-profits as small businesses in the Senate. She said that non-profit organizations make up ten-percent of the Maryland workforce & twelve-percent of the State’s economy. She noted the legislature – who allocates capital funding for projects across the State annually – supported several District 17 funds, including: one million towards the new Gaithersburg Police station; $150,000 for the Manna Food Center pantry; and $75.000 each for Sunflower Bakery and EveryMind. Kagan also discussed “the blueprint for Maryland’s future” – an initiative to “bolster public schools”. The legislature launched the first two -of ten- years of this project; which will increase teacher salaries, provide grants to high-poverty schools, and fund school-based health centers across the State.
State Senator Brian Feldman said a bill he introduced allowing Maryland residents to file taxes & sign-up for health insurance at the same time, “helps everyone”. The Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Program will enroll tens of thousands of now-uninsured people into free or low-cost health care plans which will help keep premiums down for all of us. He said Maryland uninsured is already down to six-percent, from twelve-percent in 2018. Feldman also discussed his Maryland Clean Energy bill, a bill – that doesn’t have Governor Larry Hogan’s signature, but will become a law- stating Maryland must get 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by 2030. Feldman said it is projected that the “new law will create 20,000 solar jobs and 5,000 wind jobs by 2028”.
All attendees were encouraged to participate in the 2020 United States Census. Germantown is ranked the number one ‘undercounted’ City in the County. Learn more about the census, how to respond and why it matters at: https://2020census.gov.
The GGCC is active in providing business-to-business networking opportunities throughout the year: a collective voice in local, regional, and state legislative affairs, professional development opportunities and other services that enhance the business environment. Learn more about the GGCC’s Legislative Initiatives or view our 2018 Legislative Agenda at: www.ggchamber.org/advocacy/legislative-agenda/.