Blog by Chelsie Kramer, TAB Regional Engagement Advisor
The Texas State Chamber, the Texas Association of Business (TAB) headed to the Hill to meet with Members of Congress and the U.S. Senate to advocate on behalf of Texas employers as the 118th U.S. Congressional Session got under way.
TAB CEO Glenn Hamer and Chairman Massey Villarreal led a team of policy advisors and members throughout a packed TAB Washington DC Fly-In agenda. Participants included Senator Gina Cruz (Baja California), Arizona Chamber CEO Danny Seiden, TAB Board Treasurer Eddie Aldrete, representatives from Boeing, Gearbox Software, International Bank of Commerce, Pope Strategies Group, Port of Corpus Christi, Siemens, and the McKinney Chamber of Commerce, and much more.
While in D.C., the team discussed TAB’s priorities on border security, data privacy, energy, immigration and visas, semiconductors, and taxes with 17 House members, 4 Senators, and countless staff. TAB members played an especially vital role in making the business community’s voice heard in D.C. The team was aided by former Congressman Matt Salmon, who graciously escorted everyone throughout the Capitol complex.
Some highlights from the Fly-In include an exclusive discussion on Texas’s role in D.C. with Wes Hambrick, Governor Greg Abbott’s Director of Federal and State Relations, hosted by TAB member Honeywell in their gorgeous office, which proudly boasts one of the best views of the Capitol in town.
Fly-in attendees also sat down with Congressman Tony Gonzales (R-TX 23) and Congressman Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ 06) for an in-depth discussion on finding commonsense solutions for DACA and common ground on securing the Texas-Mexico border to ensure safe, efficient facilitation for legal commerce and immigration.
Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX 17) treated TAB members to a private night tour of the Capitol that included an exclusive opportunity to visit the House floor and sit down in the members’ chairs while Congressman Sessions described some of the greatest moments in the chamber.
House Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX 12) shared her commitment to working closely with the Texas business community to ensure Texas, as the lead semiconductor exporter for the last decade, has a seat at the table when discussing the critical role semiconductors play in countless industries, from healthcare to the military.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18) invited Texas State Chamber members to the Judiciary Committee Hearing, where the team received a very gracious shoutout from the Congresswoman in front of the entire committee before she excused herself from the hearing to meet with the attendees.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA 01) invited TAB into the Majority Leader’s conference room in the Capitol to discuss his upcoming bill on “all of the above energy” and his need for the Texas business community’s input on the costs of rules and regulations to the business community.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 23) took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with TAB members to discuss diverse topics, from education to the national debt, and especially free enterprise.
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) all came together, sharing their plans to work together with Texas businesses to finally pass meaningful reforms that will secure the border and begin to create an immigration system that is reflective of the business community’s needs.
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) also underlined that he shares the Texas State Chamber’s sentiment that increased energy infrastructure will provide for more economic prosperity, national security, and job creation.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussed TAB’s full federal agenda and the critical role of the Texas economy worldwide.
TAB Board Member and former Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, visited with several think tanks and government leaders shaping the North American economy.
Rolando Pablos and TAB member Ruben Garibay met with Enrique Perret, Managing Director of the US-Mexico Foundation, a leading think-thank bringing together binational leaders from the government and private sectors to influence affairs involving the US-Mexico relationship. The foundation organizes one of the largest conferences promoting North American collaboration and TAB was discussed as a future partner in planning the event.
The group also met with Andrew Rudman, Director of the Mexico institute at the Wilson Center, the prime research center for studies involving the US-Mexico relationship. Opportunities for collaboration were discussed involving joint educational events.
Officials from Keidanren, the Japan Business Federation in the USA, discussed how to expand its relationship with the Texas State Chamber. Kiyoshi Tanigawa, Executive Director and Ken Kurokawa, Director of External Relations, participated in the conversation. The Japan-Texas relationship is incredibly important as Japanese affiliates provide more than 74,000 jobs in Texas alone. TAB appreciates Hans Rickhoff from Akin Gump for facilitating and hosting the meeting with Keidanren.
The team also met with Arun Alexander, Deputy Ambassador of Canada in the USA, Economic Minister John Layton and Senior Trade Commissioner Andrea Clements on the importance of the Canada-Texas relationship. Canada is one of Texas top trading partners and it offers great safe and strategic opportunities to expand collaboration on critical areas such as innovation and minerals, among many others.
The team also discussed Texas State Chamber priorities with Congressman Collin Allred (D-TX 32), Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28), Congressman Pat Fallon (R-TX 04), Congressman Ronny Jackson (R-TX 13), Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ 08), Congressman Morgan Luttrell (R-TX 08), U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX 10), Congressman Nathaniel Moran (R-TX 01), Congressman Keith Self (R-TX 03), Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (RTX 24), and U.S. House Small Business Committee Chairman Roger Williams (R-TX 25).
This important trip would not have been possible without our sponsors: Port Corpus Christi, Avisa Partners, and Wells Fargo. They ensured Congress hears the Texas business community’s top federal priorities.
This incredible agenda was expertly organized by TAB’s VP of Member Relations, Allison Allen, with the full support of the TAB staff.
Find more information on the trip on Twitter by following @txbiz and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/texas-association-of-business/. All photos from the trip can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/txbiz.