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A Publication of WTVP

The Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce board created the Chamber’s first Political Action Committee (PAC) designed to help elect candidates to local office by providing financial support to selected candidates.

The PAC’s mission statement is, "The Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce PAC is a state and local political action committee organized to support candidates and issues at the local and/or state level that support a healthy economy and strong business climate consistent with established policy of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, in the tri-County (Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford Counties) area. Candidates at the local level may include mayors, city council members, county board members, other county officials, school board members, park board members and/or state legislators. Local ballot measures may include such things as advisory referendums, etc."

The PAC will be organized as a subsidiary of the Chamber. It will have an 11-member board of directors who will select their own chair, and will be funded by contributions solicited from the business community as a voluntary addition to chamber dues and through fund-raising events.

Local elections are extremely important. The decisions made by elected officials representing us at the county, city, school, and park district level have a great deal of impact on the quality of our lives and our ability to do business. Their decisions directly determine what our environment looks like and how much we pay for it. The quality of our local boards can be a great asset to the community or a great embarrassment.

Appreciating the importance of good candidates, the Chamber of Commerce has—for some time—had a practice of interviewing candidates for office and then recommending those the Chamber board felt were best qualified and reflected the interests of the business community. This was a reactive approach.

Led by the government committee of the chamber—chaired by Brad McMillan and Mike Quine—a task force was created to develop a more proactive approach to electing good candidates.

Running for public office and then serving can often seem a difficult and thankless job. It is increasingly expensive to run and serving takes substantial dedication and time. It is also difficult for a person to declare himself or herself a candidate without a support system. Yet, businesses are working with smaller staffs and demanding more of employees, making it harder to succeed in a chosen career or business and hold pubic office. Criticism comes from all fronts and dedicated officials can find themselves suddenly attacked for a school paid sandwich after hours of meetings. We need to find competent, dedicated people to serve.

The task force—comprised of Mike Quine, Mike Wisdon, Rita Kress, George Jacob and Diana Hall—did a substantial amount of research into local and state political action committees and determined that a successful political action committee could assist in the goal by financially helping good candidates to be elected. The PAC will also urge businesses to make accommodations, which allow their employees to serve. IBI

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