From the State Chamber of Commerce President Randy Zook

by Randy Zook  on Monday, Jul. 23, 2012 12:00 am  

Randy Zook

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas is one of the leading advocates for Arkansas businesses at the state and national level.

Our mission is to promote a pro-business, free-enterprise agenda and prevent anti-business legislation, regulations and rules. Now more than ever, business matters to our nation’s future. In the global economy, our competitive capacity must be all it can possibly be – and the State Chamber/AIA works every day to make that happen.

For more than 80 years, the Arkansas State Chamber has worked to make Arkansas a better place to do business by giving private sector employers a voice in state politics and providing a full range of Arkansas-specific products and services. The Arkansas State Chamber’s active Governmental Affairs staff works in tandem with business leaders throughout the state to promote policies providing greater certainty for employers. In addition to representing employers to legislators and regulators, we:

Run a targeted political action network. Our non-partisan pro-business leadership fund helps elect pro-jobs legislators.

Take the lead on statewide initiative campaigns to fight for a strong jobs climate.

Go to court, when needed, on behalf of Arkansas employers and the economy.

The State Chamber/AIA is engaged on a whole host of issues that have important implications for the business climate in Arkansas – severance taxes, sales taxes, tax exemptions, unemployment insurance, water plans, energy policy, broadband access, tort reform, education/workforce development and environmental regulation to name a few.

Our National Issues efforts continue to follow federal issues of concern to Arkansas’s business community.

Fortunately, federal legislators recently voted to reauthorize the Export-Import bank, which assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. A Federal court also struck down the NLRB’s “ambush elections” rule. Any job-killing greenhouse gas regulations have been delayed, at least temporarily.

As we move closer to the 2012 elections, we will monitor races that will have a big impact on our state and local economies. In an effort to keep our membership informed, the State Chamber/AIA has partnered with BIPAC, a Washington, D.C.-based business trade association, to develop a voter education/political outreach website,, to help educate our state’s employers and workers in regard to issues that impact job security, economic competitiveness, wages and benefits – and ultimately our future prosperity.

While voter interest remains intense, understanding of economic issues lags. The Arkansas Prosperity Project is designed to help bridge that gap effectively and provide individuals with useful information when making important decisions. Rather than telling people how to vote, it arms them with valid data to help them reach informed opinions of their own.

The Arkansas State Chamber will soon continue its tradition of taking our message on the road in partnership with our local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations to prepare for the upcoming 2013 session with our State Chamber Door-to-Door initiative. Through the voice of our membership, our issues committees will begin meeting late summer and early fall to establish our legislative priorities for the next legislative session.

As the Arkansas State Chamber convenes its 84th Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 14, we look forward to hearing how the 2012 elections will affect the economies of our state and our nation.

Randy Zook


Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/AIA



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