Chamber Fights for Business in D.C.

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber Government Affairs Council traveled to the U.S. Capitol last week to advocate for federal issues that impact the Valdosta-Lowndes County business community.

The group of ten met with Honorable Terry Yonkers at the Pentagon on Wednesday to stress the importance of Moody Air Force Base to the Valdosta-Lowndes County community. Yonkers is the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics, and is responsible for providing oversight for all matters pertaining to the formulation, review, and execution of plans, policies, programs, and budgets for installations, energy, environment, safety and occupational health as well as weapon systems logistics support.

Yonkers commended Valdosta’s continuous efforts to protect Moody through the Military Air Zone and Community Blueprint Project.

On Thursday, attendees met with representatives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for a briefing on immigration, small business and health care policies.

Attendees spent the remainder of the day meeting with U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, and Reps. Jack Kingston, and Austin Scott. Members expressed the pros and cons of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the increased need of regulatory reform, additionally stressing support for the REINS Act, and other bills that attempt to alleviate burdensome rules and regulations.

“Right now, our business regulatory environment and pending health care legislation has everyone very concerned,” said Tim Jones, Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors and President of Citizens Community Bank. “Newly passed regulations and proposed regulations, as well as the uncertainties of what will happen with the Affordable Care Act, have placed or will place tremendous burdens on businesses.  In many cases, businesses are making decisions to discontinue services that require burdensome compliance or are consciously deciding not to expand because of possible punitive consequences.”

The Chamber’s GAC is enhancing the pro-business environment of Valdosta-Lowndes County by listening to its members and ensuring they have a voice by advocating for business issues on the local, state and federal level. For more information on the GAC, visit


Pictured: Tim Jones (Citizens Community Bank), Bobbie Jones (BCB Boutique), Col. Clarence Parker (Retired Air Force), Congressman Jack Kingston, Kevin McCraney (Georgia Power Company), Megan Smith (SmithBarnas & Associates), Bruce Allred (Smith Drug Company), Michael Lee (Ameris Bank), Myrna Ballard and Erika Bennett (Valdosta Chamber)

Business & Industry Chair Bruce Allred (Smith Drug Company) and Board of Directors Chairman Tim Jones (Citizens Community Bank) discuss the effect of unnecessary regulations with Congressman Jack Kingston in D.C. last week.