The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce has joined the new Maryland Chamber Federation, which will allow any small business member with 10 or fewer full-time employees to receive free federation membership with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.
“Federation partners will gain increased influence in the state legislature through direct input and participation in the Maryland chamber’s legislative activities,” states a release from the MDCC.
“They will also receive proactive General Assembly representation aggregating chamber ‘clout’ to oppose initiatives harmful to business and supportive of job growth,” it states. “In addition, members will gain access to all Maryland chamber communication on state issues through legislative briefings, grassroots business action updates, e-newsletters, calls to action during the legislative session and more.”
Mike McMullin, president of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, said this is a “no-lose” situation for the 14 local chambers that have joined the federation, including Carroll, and that it will not change anything about the structure of local chambers.
“We are not a part of the Maryland chamber, as are most actual chambers, but we do pay annual dues as the Carroll chamber to the Maryland chamber to support their actual legislative outreach,” he told the Times Wednesday.
“They do a really great job of lobbying people in Annapolis and we probably agree with about 95 percent of the stands they take.”
Of the Carroll County chamber’s 600 members, McMullin said almost 400 are small businesses.
In addition to the representation in Annapolis, the membership includes access to a weekly newsletter from MDCC, he said, which can be very useful for small business owners who are undoubtedly very busy.
More details about the perks will be sent out via email to eligible chamber members within the coming weeks.
“Not only are small businesses a key constituency of our grassroots advocacy efforts, Maryland’s overall success in the national and global marketplace is directly tied to the state’s ability to foster a climate that is competitive and favorable to small business,” said Christine Ross, president and CEO of MDCC, at Maryland chamber’s annual Meet the State event in Annapolis on Wednesday.
Intended to both serve and empower small businesses — a sector MDCC states makes up almost 92 percent of Maryland’s registered companies — the Maryland Chamber Federation is intended to ensure the voice of small business is amplified with minimal investment and maximum impact.
In addition to Carroll’s chamber, the Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Calvert County, Central Maryland, Dorchester, Frederick County, Greater Bowie, Harford County, Howard County, Rockville, Salisbury Area and St. Mary’s County chambers have already joined the federation.
“This is important stuff. It’s nice to know someone else is out there keeping a real, focused, watchdog eye on this, and raising this up to the small business community,” McMullin said.
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“I think they’re all going to love it.”