On Friday, August 4, the California Chamber of Commerce convened the first meeting of its California Big City Chambers Coalition, a leadership group of local chamber executives from the 13 largest local chambers of commerce in the state.
“The critical issues facing cities across the state are not unique to one community,” said Jennifer Barrera, President and CEO of CalChamber. “Large cities are experiencing a commonality of crises — homelessness and high cost of living among them. Collaboration among these chamber leaders about ways to approach California’s many challenges will be key to engaging policy makers at all levels of government. The goal of the Big City Chambers Coalition is to provide thought leadership to safeguard the economic vitality of regions so the state as a whole can succeed.”
Participation by local chambers in CalChamber’s Big City Chambers Coalition mirrors the Big City Mayors Coalition. It includes leaders from Anaheim, Bakersfield, Fresno, Irvine, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Stockton.
Friday’s meeting covered regional perspectives on pressing issues as well as a look at 2024 election issues.
“With how vast and complicated California is, it is important for CalChamber and the Big City Chambers to work together to advocate for the pro-business policies to grow the economies of our local regions and the California economy,” said Laura Cunningham, President/CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. “The Anaheim Chamber and this coalition will help strengthen the business community’s advocacy for a better California through good public policy in tourism, hospitality, manufacturing, housing, homelessness, and infrastructure. The Anaheim Chamber is excited to work with our fellow Big City Chambers and the CalChamber to help build a more successful California.”
“The Fresno Chamber is very happy to join this coalition. By combining efforts on the issues unique to larger cities, I’m confident we’ll be a very strong united voice for common sense in Sacramento,” said Scott Miller, President/CEO of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce.
“Irvine has been master planned to be a leading global economic driver,” said Bryan Starr, President/CEO of the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce. “We are pleased to sit at the table with other leading regions that contribute to the economic success of California. The Big City Chambers Coalition provides the opportunity for collaboration that will add horsepower to the economic vitality of our great state.”
“Now more than ever, collaboration is essential in the work that chambers do to plan for the future,” said Maria S. Salinas, President/CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “Together, Big City Chamber leaders can bring thought leadership to ensure economic growth for all communities and ensure California remains competitive.”
“We each represent different important communities, but we are all integral partners in one state,” said Nicholas Adcock, President/CEO of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce. “Riverside looks forward to working with our fellow chambers as well as our counterparts in the Big City Mayors Coalition to collaborate on ways to address our common challenges so that we can enhance California’s economy and quality of life.”
“Strategic synergy is key for solving critical issues affecting the entire state, and we are much more powerful when we speak in one unified voice,” said Amanda Blackwood, President/CEO of the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “There’s so much opportunity to learn from each other when sharing insights, ideas and best practices from each city. I look forward to the Sacramento region having a seat at this collaborative table.”
“In San Diego, we appreciate the leadership of Mayor Todd Gloria as chair of the Big City Mayors Coalition and hope to add value to many of their efforts to address pressing issues like housing affordability and the mental health crisis,” said Jaymie Bradford, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to collaborating with our counterparts throughout the state to share best practices and coalition build in support of the ongoing work of our mayors.”
“By sharing perspectives, we hope to create partnerships on statewide policies that will positively impact the regions that drive our state’s economy,” said Barrera.