Krieger: Joining Voices
It’s an honor to serve as the new chairman of the State Chamber of Oklahoma board of directors. My goal for the next year is to build on the success and hard work of my predecessors. Policies the chamber fought for, from a new workers’ compensation system to lawsuit reforms to targeted tax cuts, have helped Oklahoma create one of the strongest business climates in the country. Yet we, as the business community, aren’t going to get complacent on my watch.
Just as business leaders must innovate or fall behind the competition, Oklahoma needs to innovate or our economy will lag behind other states. Momentum is a fragile element. It can take a long time to develop and be incredibly hard to regain once lost.
The way to keep the momentum going is through active participation by the business community in policymaking. We saw more business leaders at the Capitol this session, talking with lawmakers about issues important to their industry. When they were there, those issues succeeded. We must continue that presence and build on it to ensure the voice of business is heard by policymakers. Hearing from someone who employs 10 or 50 or 100 people in their legislative district carries significant influence. Never underestimate your importance and clout at the Capitol. Don’t think that you’re just one voice.
We’re going to need our combined voices to advocate for policies that continue job growth and investment. When Oklahoma businesses grow and prosper, residents benefit through more tax revenue, better jobs and increased philanthropic giving. Oklahoma needs bold action that invests in infrastructure, creates a rigorous education system and encourages a diverse economy that can better weather economic downturns. Business leaders also need to aggressively push back against overly burdensome regulations, new fees and tax increases that put an unnecessary drag on the economy and make it hard for companies to start up, expand or relocate here.
The business community is an interconnected web, so when one industry is attacked, it affects us all. That’s why we need the State Chamber to look at the big picture and why we as businesses need to be active members that help share the message. I hope you will join me in this worthy endeavor.
Bradley W. Krieger is incoming chairman of the State Chamber board of directors. This article was posted in The Journal Record as part of Fred Morgan's monthly opinion editorial.