Tulsa elections tomorrowThe Tulsa Metro Chamber urges every citizen to vote tomorrow, Nov. 10.
Tomorrow’s election will determine who should step in as Tulsa’s new mayor and city council being selected at a time of great opportunity for this city and region.
Additionally, important changes to the city's charter have been proposed all of which the Chamber has reviewed and formed a position.
The Chamber supports increasing the requirements for city auditor, opposes lengthening the election term for city councilors and opposes requiring approval of expenditures from the sinking fund in excess of $1 million by the city council. More about the Chamber’s stand on each of these issues can be found here.
The Chamber also hosted a mayoral forum so that voters, especially those in the Tulsa business community, could hear directly from the candidates on issues like their management style, their priorities for this city and how they plan to handle some of the crises, currently plaguing the city. To find out the candidates' answers to these questions and more, please read the Tulsa World article.
Tulsans are at a critical crossroad for our city and this region as a whole. It is time to decide what Tulsa should be and part of that decision will rely heavily on who is selected to lead this city and what guidelines that person will be expected to follow.
The Chamber urges each citizen to review the resources provided here and make an informed decision at the polls tomorrow.
Tulsa Metro Chamber names new vice president of government affairs
The Tulsa Metro Chamber’s President and CEO Mike Neal announced the selection of Gwendolyn Caldwell as the new vice president of government affairs leading the Chamber’s local, state and federal legislative agendas.
“Legislative success is critical to the Chamber’s program of work,” said Neal. “In order to advance the Tulsa region for economic prosperity, it’s vital we make our voice heard especially regarding pro-business legislation. Gwendolyn shares our same passion and determination and will work diligently on behalf of our region to strengthen our pro-business climate.”
Caldwell most recently served as legislative director in the Oklahoma State Senate and as an advisor to Senate Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee on policy and political issues. In this role she assisted the majority floor leader in the strategic management of the flow of legislation through committee and on the Senate floor.
“Gwendolyn Caldwell has been an invaluable asset for me for the past five years,” said Coffee. “Our success in passing pro-business, pro-prosperity legislation in Oklahoma has been due in no small part to her hard and effective work. I wish her the very best in her new position with the Tulsa Metro Chamber.”
Caldwell began her political affairs career in a constituent services role for Kansas’s 4th and 2nd Congressional District offices then represented by U.S. Congressmen Todd Tiahrt and Jim Ryun, respectively. To that end she managed constituent-related issues and was the main conduit of communication between the congressional office and its constituents.
“Her experience, not only at the state capital, but also in Washington, D.C., will be a tremendous asset to the Chamber’s government affairs program,” said Neal.
Caldwell later served as director of government relations for the American Cancer Society in Kansas to develop and manage local, state and federal lobbying efforts, campaign strategies and resources before volunteering her time to direct numerous state Senate campaigns.
In 2007, the leadership of the Tulsa Metro Chamber selected legislative success as one of its top priorities during the next five years. To that end, the Chamber is committing even more resources to ensure a return on investment to the Tulsa region.
As vice president of government affairs for the Chamber, Caldwell will oversee the development and management of the Chamber’s government affairs program, which represents the collective best interest of chamber membership. The program involves working with membership on developing public policy, strategies to implement policies and relationships with elected officials at all levels and positioning the Chamber as the lead business organization for public policy relating to a positive business climate.
Susan Harris, the Chamber’s senior vice president of education and workforce, has overseen the government affairs program of work for approximately two years.
“I am very excited about joining the talented staff at the Tulsa Metro Chamber,” said Caldwell. “I’ve been very impressed with their work in creating a regional legislative agenda to advocate issues for the benefit of the Tulsa region and look forward to building on those efforts.”
Caldwell will officially join the Chamber staff on Dec. 1.
Limited edition Tulsa ornaments here
A limited number of 2009 Tulsa holiday ornaments have arrived and are available for purchase through the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The two-dimensional ornament features the Arkansas River and comes individually packaged in a green perma-suede folder. The ornaments cost $18 each with optional stands available for purchase at an additional cost of $4.
Proceeds from the ornament will benefit the CVB, which works to promote the city to national meeting and convention planners as well as individual visitors.
Ornaments are available for shipping. The cost is $5 for one ornament and $2 for each additional ornament. To order, please call 918.599.6116 or pick one up at the Visitor Information Office located in the Williams Tower II building at Two W. 2nd St.
Affordable insurance options for members
For a fourth year, the Tulsa Metro Chamber is partnering with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma to provide more affordable insurance to small businesses as a member benefit.
Chamber Choice is available to members with two to 99 employees. There are currently over 700 employers enrolled in the program.
• No medical underwriting
• BlueOptions PPO
• Blue Optimize PPO (new this year)
• BlueLincs HMO
• Prescription drug coverage
• Network availability in all 50 states
• Dental coverage available
• Group Term Life, Accidental Death & Dismemberment and disability coverage available
• Qualified Insure Oklahoma health plans
The Chamber expanded the program in 2006 to offer Chamber Choice to all surrounding Chambers of Commerce. The program is now offered in Bartlesville, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Claremore, Collinsville, Glenpool, Greater Tulsa Hispanic Chamber, Henryetta, Jenks, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Owasso, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Wagoner and Wynona. By partnering with the surrounding communities, the Tulsa Chamber is expanding the program’s availability with the goal of keeping the workforce healthy and increasing small business owners’ ability to provide for employees.
Today, nearly 700 employers are enrolled in the Chamber Choice plan covering more than 4,000 individuals.
Click here to download the 2009 Chamber Choice brochure.
To find out more about Chamber Choice, contact your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma representative or call (918) 551-3385 or visit http://www.bcbsok.com/chamber_tulsa.html.
Partners In Education program
Tulsa Metro Chamber collaborates with Tulsa Public Schools to provide the Partners In Education program, which unites schools and the business community to engage students and help provide them with the confidence, skills and readiness to continue to post-secondary education and formal training.
In 2006, Dr. David Sawyer, former TPS Superintendent, challenged the Partners In Education program to grow to 1,350 partners by the end of the 2009-2010 school year. A recruiting campaign was established to help motivate principals to encourage their community businesses and organizations to become partners with their schools.
Since the challenge, the program has grown by nearly 800 partners. More than 1,200 Tulsa-area corporations, community organizations and faith-based entities are now making a difference in the lives of children in Tulsa through the Partners In Education program.
Your company can help us reach the 1,350 goal. To learn more or to become a partner, contact Heather Johnson at 560.0218 or email@example.com.
Hillcrest featured in USA Today for participation in national pilot project
As the health care reform debate heats up around the country and just as Congress passed a new bill, USA Today highlighted a pilot project taking place at five hospitals identified by Medicare for high-quality, cost-efficient care, including Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa.
Under the pilot project, participating hospitals are testing a new "bundled" payment system. Medicare makes a single reimbursement for care for heart and joint procedures, rather than making separate payments to the facility and physicians. USA Today reported such combined payments are getting close attention during the health care debate as a way to encourage hospitals and doctors to work together to hold down costs and improve care.
According to the article, health care bills debated in Congress would promote bundling by calling for more Medicare pilot projects such as the one at Hillcrest and allowing Medicare to expand the concept if they are successful.
Hillcrest competed to participate in the program by offering discounts to Medicare. The pilot project began in May and will last three years.
Read the article in USA Today.
Tulsa recognized as an affordable college town
Tulsa ranks No. 6 on the list of the most affordable college towns in the U.S., released this month by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. The College Home Price Comparison Index examined 120 home markets to determine the 10 most affordable and 10 most expensive college towns.
The study showed Tulsa has a 2009 average home price of $154,800 for a 2,200-square-foot, four-bedroom, 2-1/2 bath home.