As Labor Day serves as the unofficial end of summer for most of us, it is also a benchmark in the Chamber calendar as we shift our focus from the summer events to a whole new slate in the fall.

Each September, local Chambers across the state host our partners at the Nebraska Chamber for a preview of the coming session of the Unicameral. For Columbus, this year’s Fall Legislative Forum is 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at the Chamber office.

The new State Chamber Ppresident, Bryan Slone, will be here to give us a look ahead at the 2019 session of the Unicameral. We will also hear from our candidates for the office of state senator.

This year’s forum will be unique. In addition to the traditional review of key business-related bills from last session and a look forward to the next, a large portion of the forum will be dedicated to Blueprint Nebraska, an organization spearheading a statewide economic development initiative.

Perhaps you have heard about Blueprint Nebraska already. If not, you can learn more about them by visiting Blueprint-Nebraska.org. In simple terms, this is a statewide effort to create a new direction for economic development in Nebraska…in ALL of Nebraska…driven by business. The group is working in close partnership with Gov. Pete Ricketts’ office and the University of Nebraska to build a cohesive strategy to create and fill jobs, to create economic activity across the state and to simply grow our state. Former Senator Jim Smith is the director of Blueprint Nebraska, and he will also be in attendance at the forum in Columbus.

I have been asked to serve as staff for the manufacturing section of the Blueprint Nebraska team. That will allow me to keep our community updated on the process and also represent the needs of Columbus manufacturers in the work of Blueprint.

All local chamber of commerce members, members of the news media and elected leaders are invited to attend the forum. You’ll get information on the Unicameral and also on Blueprint Nebraska, so I think it will be very valuable time.

The State Chamber is a great partner for us in legislative advocacy, in Lincoln and moreso all the time in Washington D.C. This partnership gives our members access to the premier business lobbying organization in the state. The forum is one specific opportunity for our members to share concerns and issues with the State Chamber.

The forum is $10 including lunch. Reservations need to be made at the Chamber office by calling, or e-mailing chamber@megavision.com.

Also today, I wanted to congratulate Prairie Catalytic on the ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new facility. The company brings some great diversity to our job base and also leverage the output from ADM to add more value to that product.

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

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