Rebecca Montgomery, the Senior Vice President Advocacy for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, doesn’t see challenges. “I call them opportunities for success.”
She spoke during the Southwest Area Council breakfast last week at Pinstripes about what she has learned in her eight months on the job and what she envisions for her Advocacy pillar, one of four pillars the Chamber has as part of its Fortify strategic plan.
Montgomery said she spent much of 2018 developing a strategy, preparing for the 2019 Texas Legislative session and helping to get out the vote for the 2018 mid-term elections. “In Texas, the mid-term elections drew 8.3 million voters compared to 4.6 million during the mid-terms in 2014,” she said. “More education meant more voters having a greater public impact.”
The new year brings a minimum five months of a legislative session and Montgomery says more than almost 800 bills already have been filed for consideration (as of this writing).
She is most excited that presumptive new House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R., Angleton) “right out of the gate is talking about public education, which is a very good thing. Public education and school finance issues usually have had to be done in special sessions.”
She mentioned several other legislative session issues that will be in the spotlight:
· The so-called Bathroom Bill will likely be brought up again, but will not be as big a focus as 2017;
· There is strong support for economic development funding programs from the state;
· Local control of policy decisions continues to be a topic of much discussion;
· “Water! Water is a big issue. Comes up in every conversation I have.”
· We need to increase the number of Texans with comprehensive health insurance.
Montgomery says the Chamber has two existing committees for advocacy issues — government and healthcare — and is adding a third — infrastructure, which includes transportation, energy and environment. The committees make recommendations that are sent to the Government Affairs committee, which massages and finalizes them for Board approval.
“If your business or industry wants to be heard, I urge you to get on a committee,” Montgomery said.
During 2019, she said the Advocacy pillar would host two “summits” on relevant issues and continue its Leaders in Government luncheon series.
Tarrant County Day at the Capitol is March 6-7. The Chamber will be arranging opportunities for members to be a part of the visit. (Visit Fort Worth, coincidentally, has scheduled its South by Southwest engagement in Austin for March 8-9.)
Senior Vice President of Advocacy, Rebecca Montgomery, speaks at the Southwest Area Council Breakfast at Pinstripes, Clearfork.