Elias headshot.jpg

With everything I do, I start with identifying the purpose. What am I trying to communicate and more importantly why does it need to be

communicated? 

I hope to create a spark in those reading to become more interested, and dare I say engaged, in the public policy as I address the following questions:

What is public policy?

Why is it important?

What role does your local chamber play in public

policy?

Why should anyone care?

Before I begin answering these questions, I think it’s important to provide some context about my perspective and an abbreviated story about what shaped it. I am a native Tucsonan who has been involved in the business community for nearly 20 years. I will admit that I have not always participated in the political process and had almost every reason that ranged from; “I’m trying to focus on other things” to “Politics are too ugly.” Somewhere along the way my opinion shifted, and I saw the powers that come with keeping an open mind, listening, learning, and believing that a better tomorrow is attainable. I know politics has the ability, when done correctly, to help people. I believe in it so much that I decided to run for City Council in 2019. I lost in a four-way primary, but the experience gained was invaluable and I enjoyed all of it, including spending time with those I ran against. 

 

What is public policy?

Public policies are principles or beliefs on issues that are shaped through governments (i.e., elected officials). These issues can span from local topics, such as water rates, transportation and city safety, to federal issues, such as healthcare, national security, and immigration. At every level, elected officials must make decisions and enact policies that represent the will of the people and do so with the intent of benefiting the greater good. 

 

Why is it important? 

While many of us tend to be drawn into debates with friends, family, and especially on social media, about national issues, it is the state, county and city policies that should garner just as much attention, if not more. These governments could impact more of our daily lives through the introduction of bills and ordinances on topics such as education budgets, taxes on utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, permitting and regulations and many other “localized” issues.

 

What role does your local chamber play in public policy?

Tucson Metro Chamber is an advocate for the business community. Being involved in policy is certainly one of those areas we demonstrate our leadership. To address political advocacy, we created a process that includes researching and learning these issues, sharing the information with our membership, listening to feedback, then taking action through multiple forms of communication. This includes cultivating good relationships with our elected officials so we can share our support, opposition, opinions, concerns, advice, and suggestions on issues that will impact how we live, impact how we run our businesses, and impact how our city, county, and state operate. A politician should welcome feedback from the business community because commerce contributes mightily to help shape the economic vitality of our community. 

 

Why should anyone care?

Politicians are elected by “we the people” through our constitutional right to vote. Knowing how a candidate or incumbent stands on an issue is incredibly important as their opinion publicly displays what they believe and what they value. It is through these beliefs and actions where a candidate earns your vote and gets elected, or an incumbent retains their job. 

As much power and influence as politicians have, they still work for the people. So, if you want elected officials who represent you and your values, you’ll first need to know the issues and which candidates either support or oppose those issues. Politicians are sent to office to represent you and your interests. This, undoubtedly, will help you decide who earns your vote and this is why you should care. The Tucson Metro Chamber monitors the issues that affect the business community on a daily basis and I am proud to be a part of a team that works with our members on what is important as we convey our thoughts and positions to our elected officials.