Summit opens dialogue for legislative priorities
The Tulsa Metro Chamber, along with the regional chamber coalition and coalition of Tulsa area governments, helped facilitate a conversation among regional business leaders last Thursday at the Regional Legislative Summit.
Approximately 200 individuals with an interest in discussing what legislative issues will be important and impactful to the Tulsa region attended the summit, which served as a forum for developing the 2010 OneVoice legislative agenda.
“Last year was our greatest legislative session to date and it was because we employed this process of bringing everyone to the table to discuss what issues will have the greatest impact on the entire region,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. “Each year we continue to grow the process of developing the OneVoice agenda with the end goal of getting legislation passed that will benefit the region.”
Helping attendees determine what issues would be top of mind among legislators next year were Speaker of the House Chris Benge and Senate President Pro Tem Glen Coffee.
“Oklahoma’s been very fortunate,” said Coffee. “A lot of you are in economic development trying to create opportunities for Oklahoma businesses; there is no better place to be in the country for economic development than Oklahoma right now. Oklahoma has done exceptionally well and it is important for us to continue to work to move the entire state forward.”
Benge and Coffee both addressed education as a top priority in the next legislative session.
|Speaker of the House Chris Benge addresses the attendees.
“Education does need to be properly fund and at the top of our priority list,” said Benge.
“We need to equip kids of Oklahoma to be prepared for a shifting environment,” said Coffee.
Coffee also addressed additional concerns in workers’ compensation and tort reform bills.
“Workers’ compensation reform is critical for every business in this community,” said Coffee. “We have to create a system that eliminates the fluctuation. I hope we can find a way to do that this session.”
Following remarks by Benge and Coffee, the floor was opened to Sens. John Ford and Brian Bingman and Reps. Lucky Lamons and Ron Peters who took questions from the audience regarding education, health care and energy, among others.
After hearing from state representatives, the legislative task force chairs shared their top priorities in the areas of business attraction and expansion, development, education, energy, federal, health care, labor and human relations, regional tourism, small business and transportation before attendees broke into groups for an exercise led by Dr. Leo Presley to prioritize state and federal issues.
Each group’s prioritization of the issues were collected and will be used to formulate what issues will appear at the top of the OneVoice agenda and will therefore be advocated at the state and federal level by the Tulsa Metro Chamber and its regional partners.
Once the issues have been selected and the agenda is formulated it will be available online at www.tulsachamber.com as well as in the political directory to be printed early next year.
TYPros, partners host successful candidate meet and greet
Hundreds attended a Beer Summit and Political Meet and Greet last week hosted by Tulsa’s Young Professionals, KRMG, Urban Tulsa Weekly and Marshall Brewing Company.
The event allowed Tulsans of all ages the opportunity to discuss the issues with candidates for mayor and city council in a laid back environment at the Flytrap Music Hall just weeks before the primary election Sept. 8.
“The Beer Summit was a great event, giving young professionals and other Tulsans the chance to learn more about individuals running for office,” said Karisha Arnett, 2009 TYPros chair. “There’s a great energy in Tulsa right now, and our young professionals want to see good things continue to happen.”
TYPros, KRMG and Urban Tulsa Weekly will also host the Mayoral Smackdown at Jewel on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Tulsa’s general election is schedule for Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Read an article about the Beer Summit in the Tulsa World.
Department of Energy announces $37 million for small business research and technology
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced last week $37 million in funding from the Recovery Act will be made available to qualified small businesses through the Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The funding emphasizes investment in clean energy technologies and job creation.
U.S. companies with fewer than 500 employees and small businesses with strong research capabilities in science or engineering are encouraged to apply. Deadline for submission of applications is Friday, Sept. 4, 2009, at 8 p.m. EST. Approximately $8.5 million is expected to be available for new Phase I awards. Successful applicants may receive up to $150,000 for a Phase I grant for a period of six months.
Click here for more information about DOE’s SBIR and STTR programs.
To apply for the grant, click here, then click on “Apply for Grants.” Download a Grant Application Package and enter Funding Opportunity Number: DE-PS02-09ER09-27. Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov.
WNBA could be BOK Center's next impact
I had the honor of watching Paul McCartney in concert as the BOK Center celebrated its one-year anniversary last week. It's worth repeating, isn't it? Paul McCartney was here in Tulsa.
An editorial by Mike Neal, Tulsa Metro Chamber president and CEO
Prior to the BOK Center's opening, no one in our community imagined Tulsa could attract such a larger-than-life talent. Some people simply didn't "get it," but the amazing lineup of talented performers who have graced the stage at the BOK Center has brought Tulsa the economic impact promised to voters, and the national spotlight Tulsa deserves.
The city has invested in downtown with a clear vision and steel will. A new arena, a renovated convention center, a baseball stadium under construction, new hotels, new loft apartments, more parking, street improvements, new parks, new retail, new bars and restaurants, and more.
Recently, a group of investors announced their interest in bringing a WNBA franchise to Tulsa. The economic impact of a women's professional basketball team would stem from 17 additional events at the BOK Center which, in turn, would provide an additional boost to sales tax collections. The team would create jobs, including players, coaches, managers and back office employees.
While those numbers are measurable, the national recognition is immeasurable. Imagine, like the concert listings, Tulsa's name would be found alongside major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Games are televised on ESPN and ABC and covered in national media outlets such as USA Today and the Washington Post.
And finally, one of the greatest impacts is how the players not only live in the community but become a part of the community. The WNBA Cares program recognizes the great work these amazing athletes do in their communities every day. As a father of two young daughters, I look forward most to the impact of the team's players as they serve as role models for young women and aspiring athletes, while advocating on behalf of community-wide projects.
All of this is possible solely through the support and private investment of the business community. They believe, as I believe, that Tulsa is a major league city that deserves a major league team.
The best is yet to come.
View this editorial as it appeared in the Tulsa World.
Chamber welcomes new businessesEach month the Tulsa Metro Chamber's Hospitality Club welcomes new businesses and new Chamber members to the community by assisting with ribbon cuttings and groundbreaking announcements.
The UPS Store
Deborah Carr, Owner
7380 S. Olympia Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74132