Regional advocacy highlights trip's significance

Business, civic, and government education leaders will travel to Washington D.C. May 7 to provide valuable input on critical issues that affect the CSRA, a region of more than a half million people. 

The annual trip, which includes meetings and informal discussions with elected officials and key department heads and decision makers, is a collaborative initiative of four area chambers, including the Aiken Chamber, North Augusta Chamber, Augusta Metro Chamber and Columbia County Chamber.  Thirty-four of the area’s key leaders will be making the trip.

The Aiken contingency will be led by Chamber Chair Steve Wilson, SRP Federal Credit Union.  “The CSRA Leadership trip is a very effective way of informing our legislators of key issues important to our businesses and our community.  It provides an opportunity for our legislators to hear firsthand from the business community and the issues that are important to us,” Wilson said.
“I am looking forward to participating in the CSRA Leadership trip to Washington this year,” he continued.  “In addition to regional advocacy, the trip provides a forum for CSRA leaders to network and to develop sound working relationships, which are critical to our region’s future.”  
Meetings with elected officials and key department heads are set for May 8 and 9.  The agenda at each meeting will include talking points from white papers prepared prior to the trip.  The papers, which discuss concerns and issues specific to the Aiken/Augusta region, are sent to legislative offices and key departments in advance of the trip.

On the first morning, half of the group will visit the Department of Energy (DOE) while the other half visits the Pentagon.  The entire leadership group will meet with U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott (South Carolina), and Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson (Georgia) in the afternoon.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC and Savannah River Remediation will host dinner for the group that evening.

On the second day the group will meet with key members of the House of Representatives during a legislative breakfast hosted by Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC. 

“Members of Congress and agency heads find it impressive that our economic region includes two states, but we still find common ground on important issues that affect the half million citizens of our region,” said J. David Jameson, president of the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce.

The Aiken contingency of the CSRA Leadership group includes:

• Dean Campbell – Savannah River Remediation
• Ernie Chaput – Economic Development Partnership
• Dick Dewar – City of Aiken
• Teresa Haas – Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC
• Fred Humes – Applied Research Center
• J. David Jameson – Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce
• Clay Killian – Aiken County
• Rick McLeod – SRS Community Reuse Organization
• Richard Pearce – City of Aiken
• Linda Schulte – T J Lock & Electric
• Chris Williams – Williams Firm, Inc.
• Will Williams – Economic Development Partnership
• Steve Wilson – SRP Federal Credit Union
• Ronnie Young – Aiken County

Others participating in the CSRA Leadership Conference trip to Washington DC are:

• Remer Brinson – First Bank of Georgia
• Terra Carroll – North Augusta Chamber of Commerce
• Doug Duncan – MAU Workforce Solutions
• Truitt Eavenson – Georgia Power Company
• Deb Fortin – ADP Payroll Services
• Matt Goins – American Family Insurance
• Butch Holley  – Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce
• Larry Jones – Universal Plumbing
• Monica Key – Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC
• Russ Krueger  – Ocozzio
• Chris McLaughlin – Georgia Bank and Trust
• Travis McNeal – Golden Harvest Food Bank
• Karyn Nixon – Augusta Mayor’s Office
• Susan Parr – Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce
• David Petsch  – Petsch Respiratory Services
• Monty Philpot  – Georgia Health Sciences University
• Steve Sucher – E-Z-GO
• Tammy Shepherd – Columbia County Chamber of Commerce
• Ron Thigpen – Georgia Bank & Trust
• Thom Tuckey – CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon

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