Chamber leads group to Washington D.C. for lobbying, learning

The Tulsa Regional Chamber hosted the 2013 Tulsa Regional Washington D.C. Fly-In this week with nearly 100 representatives from across the metropolitan area traveling to the nation’s Capitol for three days of legislative learning and discussions with Oklahoma’s Congressmen.

“This annual trip is a huge opportunity for the Tulsa region,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “While we meet with our Congressmen regularly back home, it’s a different opportunity with a different result when we come here for three days of focused discussions. Not only do our Congressmen sincerely appreciate us taking the time and making the effort to visit them at their place of work, but it’s a great learning experience for us as well. We get to see and hear firsthand what’s happening on a federal level, and enhance the presence of the OneVoice agenda at the US Capitol.”

The Tulsa contingency met with all of Oklahoma’s United States Representatives and Senators, in addition to representatives from the United States Chamber of Commerce, the American Hospital Association, the American Gas Association, the National Association of Workforce Boards, and Congressmen and Congresswomen from peer states who discussed issues such as the Marketplace Fairness Act, the RAMP Act, small business issues, Graduate Medical Education, and much more.

The regional OneVoice legislative agenda was announced in Jan. by the Tulsa Regional Chamber and its partners, setting priority issues and regional advocacy in motion for the 2013 session. The Chamber hosted more than 20 advocacy events and maintained a regular presence at the state Capitol, leading the region’s efforts to enhance the Tulsa metro through legislative success.

The 2013 OneVoice agenda received a record number of endorsements this year with 61 municipalities, Chambers, and educational and economic development organizations joining the collaborative effort, many of whom traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the Tulsa Regional Washington D.C. Fly-In.

"The OneVoice agenda has become such a well-respected, attention-garnering tool for regional advocacy,” said Neal. “This isn’t just the Chamber; this isn’t one entity. This is the entire Tulsa region coming together to make the biggest impact and get the best results for the whole metro. This is more than 60 of the region’s leading organizations speaking with one voice.”

Top issues discussed with Oklahoma’s Congressmen during the trip included: waterway issues including infrastructure needs for the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and Muskogee Port, infrastructure needs for the Arkansas River, e-fairness, immigration, sequestration, the Workforce Investment Act, and the effect of federal regulations.

“Next, we’ll follow up with our Congressmen to discuss how we can best prepare ourselves and our federal delegation for what’s needed to make our priorities realities,” said Neal. “This is an ongoing process that many times requires years of patience, constant presence and productive conversations before we see results or legislation passed."

"We’re hopeful that the Marketplace Fairness Act and immigration reform will pass this session, but many of our infrastructure needs will take some time to accomplish," he said. "But, that won’t happen without the active voices of many Tulsans. We need the continued support of our regional partners. Every Tulsan should be engaged with their legislators at the state and federal level, telling them what’s important to them, their families and the future of the Tulsa region.”

For more information on the 2013 OneVoice agenda or a full list of priorities, please visit

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