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  • 2024 Advocacy & Legislative Agenda

    Complementing the Chamber’s Strategic Plan, the Public Policy Agenda aims to enhance the Chamber’s standing as the voice of business and its positive influence politically and through public policy/advocacy efforts. The Agenda supports the Chamber’s vision statement: We position our community for prosperity by cultivating business growth. 

    Following the 2022 elections, Chambers of Commerce representing thousands of businesses across North Carolina congratulated those elected to the N.C. General Assembly. The Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, along with the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Cary Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, Durham Chamber of Commerce, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, N.C. Chamber and Greater Winston Salem Inc., representing businesses of every size and sector across the state, look forward to working with our newly elected officials to maintain and advance a competitive business climate that grows private-sector jobs as outlined in our individual chambers’ policy agendas.

    As the voice of our state’s vast and diverse business community, we understand that our elected officials may be challenged with complex, sensitive, and controversial issues throughout their terms. We trust they will represent citizens at the municipal, county, school board, state, and federal levels with balance, respect, and an eye on maintaining North Carolina’s status as a top state to live and work.

    Our goal will be to work with elected officials, maintain high visibility and accessibility regarding issues that could impact our business climate, and be direct when communicating our concerns if our status as the leading state for private-sector job growth is at risk.  

    In both 2022 and 2023, CNBC named North Carolina the # 1 State for Business, in part because state leaders committed to putting aside their deep political divisions to focus on boosting business and the economy. We must remain focused on maintaining North Carolina’s position in private sector job growth if we are going to remain a top state for business.

  • Sustaining Business Growth

    - Advocate for policies that maintain North Carolina’s status as a top state to live and work (Federal, State, Local)

    - Support existing economic development policies and incentives to attract and retain business in North Carolina (State, Local).

    - Support efforts to develop economic development policies to encourage entrepreneurial and small business growth (State, Local).

    - Encourage local governments to make public policy choices that support jobs, existing business, and prospective investment. (Local)

    - Collaborate with partners to improve business access to affordable, high-quality health care. (Federal, State)

    - Support efforts to remediate and improve access to Unemployment Insurance benefits while ensuring the program’s financial stability (Federal, State)

    - Support continued capitalization of infrastructure enhancements (I-140, Port of Wilmington, 421 corridor) to support new jobs and enhance existing businesses, and other opportunities thriving in the region. (State, Local)

    - Support the development, and implementation, of initiatives aimed at attracting, retaining and upskilling talent for the growing number of jobs being created in the region.

  • Quality of Place

    - Support the long-term vision of the New Hanover Community Endowment as they identify and addresses community challenges in education, equity, public safety, and community development. (Local)

    - Support the enhancement of economic development initiatives through the African American Business Council, Latin American Business Council, and other business affinity groups including leveling the playing field for minority-owned businesses to obtain government contracts. (State, Local)

    - Advocate for opportunities supporting transformational redevelopment, including public private partnerships, which creates a quality of place and offers a choice for places to live. (Local)

    - Support the development of policies and ongoing programs that increase access and affordability to create housing opportunities for our region’s expanding workforce (Local)

    - Utilize takeaways from InterCity Visits to ensure a focus on economic development and quality of life as our region continues to grow. (Local)

  • Education & Workforce Development

    - Promote and advocate for high-impact programs such as apprenticeships, career and technical education, and early college high schools that connect students with postsecondary and career opportunities. (State, Local)

    - Support Pre-K and childcare funding structures, policy reforms, and innovations that address the growing workforce demands from the business community. (State, Local)

    - Enhance critical education infrastructure by supporting our local schools as well as the strategic plans of CFCC, the UNC System, and UNCW. (State, Local)

    - Monitor school system performance and the potential impact on student’s success in the classroom and our community. (State, Local)

    - Support the strategic plans and legislative agenda of the UNC Board of Governors and UNC Wilmington. Key items include full funding for UNCW’s critical workforce programs, continuing the university’s transition to a doctoral university with high research activity, funding for facilities to support those high demand academic programs and full funding for student enrollment growth. (State)

    - Support regional workforce development initiatives that build diverse talent and is inclusive of groups of people that have been traditionally disenfranchised such as minority populations, the formerly incarcerated, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, etc. (State, Local)

    - Prioritize investment in workforce training and upskilling programs to prepare workers to transition to new careers and available, in-demand jobs (State, Local)

  • Transportation & Infrastructure

    - Continuously champion the replacement of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge as the foremost priority for our region. (Federal, State, Local)

    - Lead efforts to encourage transportation and elected leaders to pursue all possible options to fund the replacement of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge (Federal, State, Local)

    - Support investment into the region’s water and wastewater systems to replace aging infrastructure and foster business development. (Federal, State, Local)

    - Advocate for continuing to diversify and modernize North Carolina’s transportation funding structure to keep our residents and visitors safe, improve our quality of life, and meet the demands of a growing state (Federal, State, Local)

    - Monitor the ongoing Waters of the United States rulemaking and court cases with regard to their impact on land, business, and infrastructure in our region. (Federal, State, Local)

    - Support ongoing and future phases of the NC Ports Wilmington Harbor Improvement Project. (Federal, State, Local)

    - Support legislative action to broaden our state’s energy strategy, modernize and secure the grid, and keep energy prices as affordable as possible. (State)

    - Support continued exploration of the Bureau of Energy Management’s plan for the Wilmington East Offshore Wind Lease and transformational economic development opportunities for the region. (Federal, State, Local)

    - Support the acceleration of Wilmington Urban Area MPO’s top priorities for projects currently funded by the adopted State/MPO Transportation Improvement Programs. (State)

    - Support critical coastal infrastructure by encouraging continued Congressional support as well as requesting the North Carolina General Assembly to provide reliable, annual, recurring, long-term funding for the Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund. (Federal, State)

    - Support New Hanover County and Wrightsville Beach as they seek clarity on the federal interpretation regarding the re-use of beach quality sand in the CBRA zone. (Federal, State, Local)

    Streamline resilience initiatives to prepare our infrastructure, businesses, and community for the next major storm (Federal, State, Local)

    - Support commercial and general aviation through encouraging recurring funding to airports for infrastructure projects and permanently enacting a competitive jet fuel tax regime. (State)

    - Utilize the Water Resources Task Force to discuss and strategize on water supply issues. Monitor potential impacts of unregulated contaminants on public water supply, new growth, and existing regional businesses. (Federal, State, Local)

    - Encourage NC DOT to conduct a corridor study of the I-74/US-74 corridor with the end goal of changing its terminus to Wilmington. (State, Local)