April 4, 2018

Spotlight Article: Local & State Elections

Learn about the Chamber’s  and one of our Partner’s role in local and state elections with Chamber Executive Vice President Henri Baskins, and WREN (Women’s Rights & Empowerment Network) CEO Ann Warner.

Q&A with Henri Baskins

Q: What is the Columbia Chamber’s role in public policy and advocacy?

A: The mission of the Columbia Chamber is to provide the unified voice to our regional business community to create and promote an environment where businesses can flourish. Our goal is to actively promote and enhance a vibrant, diverse, and sustainable economy. One element of our work in the public policy arena is to engage in building consensus around a shared vision for the future backed by smart strategies, ambitious teams and public accountability.

Q: What is Chamber Conversations: The Gubernatorial Candidate Series?

A: Chamber Conversations are sessions that the Columbia Chamber hosts which feature presentations, dialogue, questions, and answers on relevant issues impacting the business community. This concept is a direct result of our Forward, Together initiative which identifying the Chamber as serving as a convener – an entity to orchestrate connections between all stakeholders – government, non-profits, military, private sector, education and the community. The Gubernatorial Candidate Series provides a one-on-one opportunity for interested individuals to speak directly with the candidates vying for the office of Governor of South Carolina.

Q: Why is it important for local businesses to know who is running for local offices?

A: One of the four priorities of Forward,Together is to elect and engage proactive and responsive leaders with a focus on accountability and transparency. For our region to reach its full potential, public-sector leaders must have the business community’s confidence that they can meet the region’s growing pains and address critical future needs with integrity and transparency.

Q&A with Ann Warner

Q: What is WREN’s role in public policy and advocacy?

A: WREN educates South Carolinian citizens and elected officials on issues affecting women and girls and brings the voices of South Carolina’s women and girls to the Statehouse. We are building a movement to advance the health, economic well-being, and rights of South Carolina’s women and girls.  We have a membership of over 27,000 South Carolinians and work on a range of issues, including economic empowerment, health, education, leadership, and freedom from violence.

Q: What is the WREN Summit Gubernatorial Candidate Forum?

A: April 10 is Equal Pay Day, the day in the year that represents how far into the year women on average have to work to earn what their male counterparts earned in the previous year. WREN has invited all the South Carolina gubernatorial candidates to tell us how they plan on addressing issues — like the gender wage gap – that impact the lives of South Carolina’s women and girls.  This forum will be held at the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate Street), on April 10 at 9am and is FREE to the public. Visit the WREN website to reserve your space.

Q: What is the overall goal of this event?

A: As a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, WREN’s goal is to provide education and information on core issues that impact the women and girls of our state. We’re providing a venue for the candidates to showcase their values and platforms as they pertain to women’s issues, and it is up to the citizens to decide on the candidate who is worthy of their vote.

Q: Why is it important for local women and citizens to know who is running for local offices?

A: While national elections often get more press attention, state and local elections are just as, if not more, important. Elected officials at the state and local level make crucial decisions about how our collective resources are used on issues like housing, transportation, economic development, and education. Not only is it important to know who is running for office and what they stand for so that you can make an informed decision; it is also important to communicate your priorities with your state and local representatives once they are in office.

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