Ensuring neighborhood business owners have the time and opportunity to speak directly to lawmakers about the issues that impact them and their communities is an integral part of the work the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is doing in 2017.
On February 9, the Seattle Metro Chamber, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Seattle Business Association invited Councilmember Kshama Sawant to meet with her constituents at the Yesler Community Center. About 30 business representatives from across District 3 attended this small group meeting to speak to Councilmember Sawant about the issues that are impacting their businesses.
Top-of-mind issues for participants included small business development, homelessness and Council relations. Businesses also voiced their concerns about additional costs through increased taxes and other new regulations. Councilmember Sawant listened closely as business explained the difficulties they face, and told the group that she will be taking this input back for further consideration in future proposals. When participants asked about what she is working on to protect them and better the neighborhood, Councilmember Sawant highlighted her progressive small business plan.
Participants encouraged Councilmember Sawant to continue to take the time to listen to all businesses in District 3 about what they are seeing and how she can work with them. As the conversation ended, the Councilmember expressed her interest in working more closely with the business owners in her district, particularly small businesses. She emphasized her interest in continued communication with business owns, especially in hearing ideas for solutions from businesses, and shared that she plans to hold future business engagement opportunities. She acknowledged that though she may not always agree with the business community, there are areas of common ground.
This in-district roundtable is the sixth in a series that the Seattle Metro Chamber started in 2016. Sponsored by Recology, this event was the second to be held in district 3. Just last month, Capitol Hill business owners had the opportunity to sit down with Councilmember Tim Burgess. In 2016, we held roundtables in District 4 with Councilmember Rob Johnson, District 6 with Councilmember Mike O’Brien, District 7 with Councilmember Sally Bagshaw and District 2 with Council President Bruce Harrell.
In 2017, the Chamber will continue connecting Councilmembers and other elected officials with business owners in neighborhoods across the city. In March, we are organizing roundtables with Councilmember Debora Juarez in North Seattle and Councilmember Lisa Herbold in West Seattle.
If you’re interested in participating in a future roundtable in your neighborhood, please contact the Seattle Metro Chamber’s Policy and Outreach Manager, Kyla Shkerich, and include your Seattle City Council district information.