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Leaders converge on Capital Hill

By Staff
Susan Hines, Chamber Chatter
At the first of this month over 160 business leaders from North Alabama converged on Capital Hill for this year's annual legislative "Fly-in." The Fly-in is coordinated for business leaders to meet with their House Representatives and Senators and to be briefed on current issues affecting their area. Attendance this year was at an all-time record high.
On the 2005 agenda there were a number of briefings by experts regarding BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure), Small Business Administration, Dept. of Homeland Security, Dept. of Labor, Army Materiel Command, Department of Energy, U.S. Army Space &Missile Defense Command, Kiplinger Finance Magazine and the new NASA administrator, Michael Griffin. We had briefings from Members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives where we received a thorough review of the subjects presently facing Congress, including how those bills would affect the people of Alabama.
The business delegation got a chance to network with other members of their community and to exchange ideas and resources on common concerns. One of the topics of the Morgan County delegation dealt with the marketing of Morgan County to those affected by the upcoming BRAC decisions. We would like to get as many of the families and businesses affected by BRAC into Morgan County as possible.
This will be a regional effort where all of the mayors across Morgan County will be invited to participate so that we can all promote Morgan County. A date for the first meeting is yet to be decided.
During this visit the Hartselle delegation had individual meetings with the offices of Congressmen Cramer and Aderholt and Senators Sessions and Shelby to discuss Hartselle's legislative agenda. It included a synopsis of a grant the fire department has applied for to upgrade their communications system to 800 megahertz accompanied by a letter requesting their support, and a separate package requesting federal assistance and support regarding a downtown grant we are preparing to apply for after it was turned down the last time.
We also took this opportunity to express our appreciation for the $1.3 million secured for the expansion and widening of Highway 36, East, Phase II of a four-phase street improvement project.
It was a wonderful trip and we are glad to back home in sweet home Alabama, blisters and all.
If you are looking for a free family event on a Thursday evening, we have the answer. Music in the Park is going well and the rain clouds have held off – so far. Gospel music will fill the air as Clear Title and Sounds of Grace perform this Thursday. Bring your lawn chairs and be ready for a great time under the stars. We look forward to seeing you there!
For more information on this or other chamber programs, please call the chamber office at 773-4370 or email us at