By: Scott Miller, Chamber Board Member and Owner of Gazebo Gardens
I’m sorry, I can’t help myself. I talk about politics a lot. If you get stuck in an elevator with me: we’re talking about politics. Sit next to me at a fund raiser: talking politics. At a drive through: fries, chocolate shake and politics. My kids always get their homework done on time, because they get to choose between doing their homework and talking to me about politics.
You know what I’m saying. I’m THAT guy.
In spite of all the talking I do about the topic and how passionate I get about it, you’ll (almost) never hear me speak ill of an elected figure or a candidate for public office. Don’t get me wrong-I disagree with many of them much of the time. I still support the ones I think are best and try to defeat the ones I disagree with. I just don’t attack someone’s character, or family, or business over a political disagreement. Because most politicians are not the buffoons you read about. Most of the ones I’ve met (and I’ve met a lot of them) are smart, hard- working people trying to improve their community. Some just understand the needs of business better than others.
Okay, Okay , Miller – Get to the point……..
My point is this: being a part of the Chamber’s Board and the Chamber’s PAC for a number of years has made me proud. Too often we equate “Political Action Committees” with strong leaning ideologies either left or right of the political middle ground that spend their resources vilifying the opposition. In my time here, I can truthfully say that the Fresno Chamber and its political committees, the PAC and GAC (Government Affairs Council) have operated in a non-partisan way and with a single focus: to support private business and the initiatives and candidates that we believe are the best option for business. That’s it. We then support our issues and candidates vigorously without dragging the opposition through the mud. That’s just not the Chamber’s style.
In order to receive an official endorsement by the Chamber’s PAC, candidates must demonstrate a strong understanding of private sector economics and present their ideas for creation of private sector jobs. Endorsed candidates have successfully moved through a rigorous process that includes active discussion between the diverse PAC Board of Directors. If they pass with a 2/3 vote in favour of support, they must then be ratified by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. It is one heck of a gauntlet – entirely comprised of experienced business people who take this stuff very seriously.
For this reason, I hope that you’ll give serious consideration to our list of endorsements. I also hope that if we’re ever seated next to each other at a Chamber event, you like to talk about politics.