Happy New Year! The holidays are over, I’ve gained (more than) a few pounds, and we’re back in the office to attack a new year at the chamber.

As the Unicameral begins the new year of work in Lincoln, the Legislative Committee of the Chamber of Commerce will also get to work this month.

The Legislative Committee hosts the annual Legislative Kickoff Breakfast with state Sen. Paul Schumacher on Jan. 15 at 7 a.m. at the chamber office. This is Sen. Schumacher’s final year in office and he has been extraordinarily faithful in staying connected to the Columbus business community through these seven prior years. The breakfast will give him a platform to share his thoughts on the first couple weeks of the session in Lincoln.

Chamber members will also have the chance to share their priorities with Sen. Schumacher. This session there will be some difficult choices to be made and it will be important for businesses to make our voice heard.

All employees of all chamber members are welcome to attend the breakfast. Breakfast is served for $5 and RSVP's to the chamber office are appreciated. You can register at 402-564-2769, chamber@megavision.com or online at www.thecolumbuspage.com/events.

The committee will host “thank-you” receptions for the Platte County Board of Supervisors and Columbus City Council this month, as well. Frankly, serving in elected office is getting more difficult all the time and the Legislative Committee simply wants to thank these leaders for their service. While we don’t agree on every issue, the Legislative Committee always appreciates the hard work and commitment these elected officials put forward on behalf of their fellow citizens.

The committee will visit the county board on Jan. 9 at 8:30 a.m. and the city council on Jan. 15 at 5:30 p.m. All chamber members are also welcome to attend both of these events.

Also on tap for next week will be an important meeting of the Chamber Housing Committee on Tuesday. The final regulations for the Rural Workforce Housing Fund program will be released today by the Department of Economic Development and the local committee will next week begin the work of developing an application for Columbus. They’ve done a lot of background work already, but that has been built on some assumptions, and once the final regulations are out there will be certainty about how the funds can be used, how the matching funds can be raised, and other details that will impact the best way for Columbus to apply to this program.

The committee is confident Columbus will have a strong application, as our current situation is exactly what the program was intended to address. They are excited to attack the opportunity to bring outside resources to bear on expanding housing options for our citizens.

K.C. Belitz is president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.

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