Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mayor and County Judge join SA to DC delegation at Mexican Embassy Meeting

by Adrianna Garcia

The Honorable Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio and the Honorable Nelson W. Wolff, Bexar County Judge joined Chamber leaders today to discuss the importance of US-Mexico relations. Topics covered included regulatory standards on cross-border trading, trucking, and congestion on the bridges. Immigration Reform was another topic of conversation and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is committed to helping with much-needed business relationships crucial to moving forward. In this photo, the mayor presents the Mexican Embassy representatives with a commemorative gift.

Meetings With Capitol Hill Offices Successful

by Adrianna Garcia

Eddie Aldrete, 2011 SAHCC Chair and Trey Jacobson, SAHCC Executive Board Member led visits to Capitol Hill offices. The Hispanic Chamber and the Greater Chamber held meetings with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's office, and Juan Sepulveda, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics. These resulted in productive discussion that generated further interest in issues that pertain to credit unions, TARP funding, additional access to capital, and more transparency in government contracts resulting from the stimulus package. Increased lending to small businesses was advocated for and encouraged by all offices. Constant communication between small business, proposals for solutions and options, and comments on laws are encouraged from all Chamber members. Comprehensive Immigration Reform and educating a more prepared workforce were two other important topics of discussion.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Congressmen Address SA to DC Delegation

Congressmen Cuellar, Gonzalez and Rodriguez have given passionate remarks about the need for immigration reform. Each have talked about the need to find a way to find a solution to the issue. The Chamber has issued the federal agenda for immigration reform that it should include a way to encourage more broad use of the E-verify program as well as a reasonable way to have a path to citizenship or permanent residency to undocumented workers that are helping to build the economy. Also the priorities outline the need for border security policy that created an environment of economic strength for the Nothern Hemisphere.

Senators Hutchison and Cornyn Brief the Delegation

The record breaking SA to DC delegation just heard from Senators Hutchison and Cornyn. They both expressed that they continue to work toward helping San Antonio to find funding for projects important to our community. Most notably, Senator Hutchison reminded the group that because of forward thinking by leaders many years ago to bring Army South to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, we would not be benefitting from becoming the nation's home to all training for military medicine today. The SA to DC trip is about exactly this: to think and discuss what we need to be focused on how to build a better tomorrow. Political debates come and go, but your Chamber will always be aiming for the brightest future we can imagine for the families of San Antonio. Our measure of success for this weeks's trip will be seen 5, 10 and 20 years from now.

Health care bill could have big local impact

By Elizabeth Allen and Don Finley - Express-News

In Bexar County, where roughly a quarter of the population lacks health insurance, where biomedicine is one of the biggest industries, and where many of its employers are small businesses that can't afford to cover their workers, the weekend passage of a historic health reform bill could mean profound changes — for better and worse, local experts said.

While some in the business community expressed...
Read the story here > > >

Issue Teams Hit Capitol Hill with Umbrellas

The mood of Washington seemed to take a break the day after the health care debate as a light rain gave a calming effect to the city, and as the San Antonio delgation began to knock on the doors of our Senators and Congressmen.

With umbrellas in hand, your Chamber members are hard at work to be sure that our elected officials are making our elected officials aware of the priorities of our city.

Military Priorities

The Chamber's SA to DC trip began to address military issues when it began 32 years ago. This year, another large delegation returns to be sure that our ongoing status of "Military City USA" is retained and strengthened.

The 2010 priorities for this year's military delegation is led by David Spencer (Managing General Partner, Texas Intrepid Ventures).

The delegation will communicate our desire to bring the F-35 flight training mission to the 149th Fighter Wing at Lackland Air Force Base. The group will also ask for increased funding for two programs that can address encroachment at Camp Bullis, the Army Compatible Use Buffering Program and for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative.

Additionally, we will share our support for continued funding for Lackland Ambulatory Care Center (MILCON) and request an earmark of $5 million to assist with transferring facilities at Brooks City-Base from a chiller plant system to energy-efficient utility systems.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bracewell & Giuliani Representatives Give "Washington Political Update"

Monday morning began with a question and answer session with Susan Molinari (Senior Principal) and Gene Godley (Partner) both with Bracewell & Giuliani about some of the political undercurrents in discussions in Washington. Both bring decades of experience from their work on Capitol Hill.

Susan began by saying that many people are concerned with the growing divisive language that has escalated in Washington during the health care debate. She noted some comments made from both parties that, in her opinion, seem to draw a wider divide in the country.

Gene Godly echoed her remarks in that he hoped that with some issues to come such as education and immigration that many hope there is more bi-partisan discussion. However, he noted that historically, with a super majority of any party in Washington, the parties typically grow apart before they grow together.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Heath Care - SA to DC Federal Agenda

While Congress and the Senate discuss what will happen with health care in our nation, the health care issue team from San Antonio have brought several key topics that we plan to discuss while we are on Capitol Hill.

The SA to DC Health Care team is led by Dr. Brian Herman, Vice President for research and Professor, Cellular and Structural Biology, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Dr. Herman, joined by others representing the interestes of our health care industry in San Antonio are first focused on appropriately implementing the health care reform coming from our lawmakers.

Next, our leaders will give their support for the implementation of Health Information Technology to improve the efficiency of health care delivery, they will support the extension of enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages used to determine the amount of federal matching funds for state Medicaid expenditures and the delegation will ask for our legislators' support in finding a permanent fix for the Sustainable Growth Rate formula.

Next, the delegation will ask for increased funding for Health Resources and Services Administration's Title VII Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill, which is a $330 million investment that provides grants to educational institutions to train primary health care professionals to assist the underserved and to address the nation's health workforce shortage.

Another critical need in San Antonio is for more nurses, and nursing education. Therefore, the delegation will ask our legislators to increase funding for Nursing Workforce Development programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration under Title VII of the Public Health Service Act.

As with all positions on these topics, these priorities for health care were developed through extensive discussion that came from members of The Chamber's Health Care Committee. This committee has representatives from our hospitals, educational institutions, research organizations, bioscience companies and others who are impacted by and related to the health care industry.

Just in Time

The SA to DC delegation arrived just a few minutes ago, about an hour after the Health Care discussion started on the Hill. While our group doesn't address this health care plan directly, we do hope to bring home some funding that will create and keep jobs in our region.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

San Antonio Sends More than 100 Business and Elected Leaders to Washington, DC

A record number of business and community leaders from San Antonio are gearing up for The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s 32nd Annual SA to DC trip March 21-24. And the timing could not be more critical.

Participants have scheduled small group visits with legislators and members of the administration regarding 12 issues that are identified as priority for San Antonio. Priorities for this year are: aerospace, air quality, bioscience, education, health care, immigration, information technology, international trade, military, small business, transportation and water.

“What makes this trip so impactful is that lawmakers hear a unified voice from our city on critical issues that face our community,” said Chamber President and CEO Richard Perez.

Key individuals attending this year’s event include Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, San Antonio Mayor Juli├ín Castro, County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, and City Manager Sheryl Sculley. The business community will be represented by CEOs, Presidents, local Superintendents and other executives from the area’s largest industry sectors.

The 2010 Legislative Agenda is full of topics that can shape the future of San Antonio in many areas. A complete legislative agenda, schedule and list of participants is available and being updated daily online at The Chamber’s SA to DC web site. The SA to DC trip is produced in partnership with the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Schedule highlights:
Monday, March 22
• “Washington Political Update” presented by former Congressional Representatives Jim Chapman and Susan Molinari (Bracewell & Giuliani)
• visit to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and briefing by US Chamber President, Tom Donohue
• a group representing San Antonio’s military affairs interests will visit the Pentagon
• reception at the Canadian Embassy

Tuesday, March 23
• presentation on national security by the former Director of the National Security Agency and Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Hayden, USAF Gen. (ret)
• briefing on cyber security from Dr. Peter Fonash, Chief Technology Officer, Cyber Security and Communications, Department of Homeland Security
• discussion on the challenges in the Washington DC school district by Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of Washington, DC Schools

Wednesday, March 24• briefing from the Federal Highway Administrator, Victor M. Mendez

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Record Numbers Registered for SA to DC

Business leaders are signing up in record numbers for the SA to DC trip which is scheduled for March 21-24, 2010.

While the economy is struggling to slowly recover, your Chamber is focusing efforts on getting key messages to our legislators about keeping San Antonio jobs, air quality, water, transportation, education, immigration and health care reform, support for our military, and strengthening key industries such as bioscience, information technology, aerospace and tourism.

View the 2010 Federal Agenda on the SA to DC web site.

We will post ongoing information, photos, video and documents on this blog that will keep you up to date on all that we have going on.

If you still want to register - click here for the information.