Chamber begins new year focusing on advocacy

Today is the last day of 2017. This past year has been a very busy year for our community. The growth around town is remarkable. We are reminded of the positive growth when family and friends come home for the holidays and remark about the changes since they were here last.

This past year we have also had several new rankings/accolades to celebrate. We know that we are in the top spots in the nation for millennials and for manufacturing jobs. Good things are happening.

This new year, our Chamber is more resolved than ever to fulfill our role as advocate for our membership. The 2018 General Assembly session begins this week and there are a plethora of issues that we will be watching. Pension reform, tax reform and the proposed budget will no doubt be at center court. Each will have broad impact on our commonwealth but also on our local community.

Our community priorities will be announced at the Rooster Booster this Thursday and Chamber leaders will be with state lawmakers this week to continue to push for projects that are important to our growth. We have a good deal of momentum but we cannot let up. Our role will be to stay informed and to monitor Owensboro projects closely.

On Feb. 8 at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort we are hosting a West Kentucky ‘thank you night’ with our partner chambers throughout Western Kentucky. It is another way for us to forge partnerships with communities that have much in common with us, and we are able to thank our legislators who leave their homes here for several months to serve our community and our state. This event is free and open to the public. We would love to have a great showing from Owensboro. More details to follow.

This Thursday is our Annual State of the Community Program. Judge/Executive Al Mattingly and Mayor Tom Watson will each take the stage to update us on Daviess County and City of Owensboro. This is an important program. Our local governments touch our daily lives more than any other form of government. They sustain the quality of life here that has been a critical component in our success. We are fortunate to have elected officials who are vested in our community’s success and who take real ownership in the direction we are going.

Thursday’s program is open to the public but reservations are required. Go to or call the Chamber office before noon Tuesday.

In closing, the Chamber staff would like to thank the Messenger-Inquirer for allowing us the opportunity to write this column. We would like to thank our members for investing in our work. We feel blessed to serve such a vibrant membership and a community that is on the move. Happy new year.

By Candance Brake President and CEO, Greater Owensboro, Chamber of Commerce