The Hermantown Area Chamber’s mission – “To promote the business community and enhance opportunities for success,” and its motto, “Business & Community – In Unity,” both point to the importance of Advocacy as one of our core values.
Decisions made at every level of government – locally at city hall, school boards, the county courthouse, or in St. Paul and Washington – profoundly impact our local businesses and the economy. That is why the Chamber is committed to being your eyes and ears – and, when needed, a non-partisan voice for the business community. The Chamber accomplishes this through:
- Advocacy on business-related issues at the local, state, and federal levels
- Connections and relationships with policymakers
- Timely information and education for Chamber members
The Chamber accomplishes its Advocacy efforts through the following:
- Actively monitoring critical issues at all levels of government.
- Publishing the Chamber Update Weekly e-newsletter, a need-to-know digest of relevant business-related issues and updates on Chamber positions.
- Organizing Advocacy events like “A Conversation with our Congressman” and other online and in-person events to connect Chamber members with policymakers.
- Educational opportunities where investors can learn more about how government works, how to get involved, and to make their voices heard most effectively.
- Candidate Questionnaires, debates, forums, and other election information. (Our Chamber does not endorse candidates.)
- Cooperative efforts and information with like-minded organizations, including other local chambers, the state, and other business-related groups.
- The annual Duluth & St. Louis County Days at the Capitol, led by the Duluth Chamber of Commerce, brings the business community’s voice to the State Capitol in St. Paul.
Contact the Chamber:
If you have any questions regarding the Chamber’s role in governmental affairs, please get in touch with Kim Parmeter, President/CEO. 218-729-6843 or [email protected].
The Minnesota Business Benchmarks is a collection of key economic indicators that measure Minnesota’s competitiveness and the health of our economy.
Minnesota Chamber Session Priorities
Candidate Forums, Meet & Greets, and More!
Instead of a traditional forum for candidates in 2020, candidates for all area races were invited to submit a video link to the chamber. These were posted on our Facebook page.
2021 – Meet & Greets was launched in September 2021 for the November 2022 election. Candidates for Governor, State Senate District 3, House District 3B, and County Sherriff all participated. This coffee & conversation meets open house format was a relaxing way for our business community and the public to get to know their potential leaders while still allowing an opportunity to ask hard-hitting questions.
2020 – Candidate Share – Instead of a traditional candidate forum, the Hermantown Area Chamber of Commerce shared submitted video links from candidates on our Facebook page until the election. Candidates serving constituents in our general service area of Hermantown, Proctor, Rice Lake, Miller Hill of the Duluth area, and surrounding townships (Midway, Canosia, etc.), were invited to participate. US Senate, Congress, State Senate, County Commissioner, Mayor, City Council, and Hermantown School Board were shared. They were asked to share, “Why are they the best candidate for the position they are running for, and if elected, what will they do to help the people in their constituency.” These are the voices of the candidates. The Hermantown Area Chamber of Commerce does not endorse any candidates. The submitted videos were shared on Facebook. Click the link above; videos are posted between September 2020 and right before the November election.
2018 – Hermantown City Council Candidate Forum – A City Council Candidate Forum was held at Hermantown City Hall in October 2018. This event was also live-streamed on Facebook.
Requests for Resolutions of Support / Opposition brought directly to The Chamber.
The Chamber is the collective voice for our members. If a member or group of members brings us an issue, we will listen. Our practice has been bringing these members into a regularly scheduled board meeting to present the issue. Then at the next regularly scheduled board meeting, we invite parties that have an opposing view of the issue to the table so that our board can get as complete of a picture as possible about an issue. We want to truly understand how it affects our members and impacts our community before we use our voice and make a decision. Reach out to us if you have an issue. [email protected]
See below for some of the recent issues brought to the attention of our board, discussed, and the outcome. The below list is by no means exhaustive, just a sample representation of issues.
Paid Family and Medical Leave: SF 2 (Sen. Mann); HF 2 (Rep. Richardson)
The proposal would create a new, mandatory 24-week paid leave program for all Minnesota employers and employees. The program would begin taking effect in 2025, with implementation starting in 2023. Please see our position on this issue in 2019 below.
- Here’s our official position on this action: “There could not be a worse time to put forward legislation to increase the minimum wage regardless of whether you are for OR against increased wages for those on the lower end of the income spectrum. This simply cannot be absorbed by small businesses at this time, many of whom are barely hanging on through the pandemic.”
- Further consideration: If this comes to pass, our small business owners will end up cutting jobs, cutting services, and some will close their doors completely.
- For those businesses that stay open, they will inevitably pass the increased costs onto the consumer which will eat up any gains these entry-level employees are making by this increase (if they are lucky enough to still have a job to go to). And remember, people do not pay taxes on what they are not earning. It’s a vicious cycle, which is why we need businesses to do what they do best, run their business, and make common-sense decisions about wages that are appropriate for their business based on what the free market demands. We encourage you to email her and ask her to withdraw SF 2031. We did. March 17, 2021
Proposed City of Hermantown sales tax increase of 0.05% for recreation plan (Legislature approval is needed first, before a vote is brought to the constituents) (Jan/Feb 2020) Status: Tabled TFN due to COVID, various committees are still meeting.
New Developments in Hermantown (Jan/Feb 2020) Status: Ongoing
Housing – Affordable Housing Shortage, Senior Housing Shortage Status: Ongoing
Position on: CA Clean Car Rules for MN – through the Rulemaking process: The Hermantown Area Chamber of Commerce opposes Governor Walz’s proposed LEV, and ZEV mandates on Minnesota’s through rulemaking without going through the legislative process. We also encourage Governor Walz to withdraw the proposed mandate and reconfigure in the form of legislation to be debated by state legislators and the public within the legislative process. We believe that the free market should determine supply and demand of vehicles available for sale in our community, region and state. We are willing to work with Governor Walz, his administration, and Minnesota State Legislators on low and zero-emission vehicle requirements that suit the terrain, climate, and vehicle preferences in Minnesota. We advocate against these mandates and in support of our membership and the greater community as part of our commitment to support our members and advocate on behalf of their interests. (Vote 11/18/2020)
Position on: Family Leave Mandate – The Chamber Board of Directors made a formal statement OPPOSING this legislation in March 2019. The Minnesota House of Representatives (H.F.No.5) and Senate (S.F. No.1060) were seeking to create a state-administered paid family and medical leave insurance program. It is proposed to be financed through an employer payroll tax of 0.6% of wages, and included partial wage replacement benefit for 12 weeks paid family and 12 weeks paid medical leave; employees could access both types of leave in a 12 month period, which would be 24 out of 52 weeks per year.
Position on: Enbridge Line 3 — The Chamber Board of Directors passed a resolution SUPPORTING the Line 3 initiative in March 2019. Representatives from Enbridge spoke to our Chamber board in January 2019. In February 2019 we invited representatives of Honor The Earth in to share their position on the issue.
Position on: City of Hermantown Stormwater Utility Fee — The Chamber Board of Directors passed a resolution opposing the fee in April 2018. Please read this article in the Duluth News Tribune for more information about the issue. http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/government-and-politics/4439105-hermantown-businesses-take-issue-new-stormwater-fee