• Regional Chamber Honors Legislators, Elected Leaders at Annual Chamber Champion Awards Dinner

    Nov 30, 2017

    The St. Louis Regional Chamber held its annual “Championing a Greater St. Louis” Dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis on November 28th. The awards event recognized the service of members in the Illinois and Missouri General Assemblies, and acknowledged legislators who exhibited outstanding dedication and support for the Chamber’s legislative priorities in 2017 and the future. The Chamber also gave its first-ever Regional Leadership Award, which recognized local elected officials for working together to solve significant issues in the St. Louis Region.

    Addressing over 200 business leaders and elected officials, Regional Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan emphasized the Chamber’s work in bringing people together for the benefit of a unified St. Louis region. He noted that no conversation in the public arena will be more complex than that about local government fragmentation and creating a new story of unity. In addition, Reagan said that everyone has a role to play in advancing forward-thinking economic policy by advocating for public polices in three key areas: safety and security, equity and opportunity, and building and investing in regional infrastructure. 

    The 2017 honorees included Legacy Award winners Illinois Senator Bill Haine and Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard for their tremendous public service and commitment to the Chamber’s priorities throughout their careers. 

    The Regional Chamber also recognized fourteen legislators as Chamber Champions. These legislators championed the organization’s priority issues and achieved meaningful success this year. Awardees included Missouri Reps. Kevin Corlew and Joe Don McGaugh, Sens. Ed Emery, Doug Libla, Gary Romine and Caleb Rowden, and Speaker of the House Todd Richardson for their work to reform Missouri’s tort law to better provide a just, efficient and consistent legal system.

    Other Champion winners included Illinois Reps. Greg Harris and David Harris, Sen. Heather Steans and Senate President John Cullerton for their tireless and bipartisan work to pass a budget, while Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey, Rep. Corlew and Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr were recognized for their bill authorizing REAL-ID compliant driver’s licenses in Missouri.

    In addition to the Chamber Champions, the Regional Chamber gave Advocate awards to five Missouri legislators who were strong voices for the Chamber’s priority issues in the General Assembly. The awardees included Sen. Caleb Rowden and Rep. Mike Kelley as Advocates for sponsoring a state Earned Income Tax Credit bill, the Chamber’s highest legislative priority in Missouri.

    The Chamber also recognized Rep. Kevin Corlew for creating and chairing the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force, Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer for a tort reform bill that prevents so-called “venue shopping,” and Rep. Kevin Engler for calling for the Missouri Nondiscrimation Act to be expanded to include LGBT individuals. 

    The Regional Chamber bestowed five Catalyst Awards to lawmakers that demonstrate promise for advancing priority issues for the Chamber in the future. Missouri Reps. Jean Evans, Bruce Franks and Peter Merideth received the award as standout freshman legislators, who made time to build relationships with their colleagues throughout the Capitol while looking for ways quickly make an impact while they learn the ins and outs of the legislative process.  

    Rep. Holly Rehder was recognized for her tireless work on creating a stateside prescription drug monitoring database, while freshman Sen. Dave Schatz was responsible for sending six bills to the Governor’s desk, including legislation that makes changes to Missouri's worker’s compensation laws.

    See all the photos from the evening on the Chamber's Flickr page.


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    Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson addresses the crowd upon receiving his Champion Award.
     (From left to right) AECOM Vice President and Chamber Public Policy Chairman Jennifer Obertino, St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson, and St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan pose for a photo upon Krewson receiving the inaugural Regional Leadership Award.
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     Illinois Senate President John Cullerton takes the podium upon receiving his Champion Award.  (From left to right) AECOM Vice President and Chamber Public Policy Chairman Jennifer Obertino, Missouri Reps. Jean Evans, Peter Merideth, Bruce Franks, and St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan pose for a photo upon the representatives receiving their Catalysts Awards.
     
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    (From left to right) AECOM Vice President and Chamber Public Policy Chairman Jennifer Obertino, Missouri Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, Sen. Ryan Silvey, Rep. Corlew, and St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan pose for a photo upon the representatives receiving their Champion Awards. Illinois Sen. Bill Haine addresses the crowd upon receiving his Legacy Award. 
  • Illinois Public Affairs Network Brings Together Legislators and East St. Louis Leaders

    Jul 26, 2017

    The St. Louis Regional Chamber hosted the Illinois Public Affairs Network on July 21, 2017 at the Doubletree Hotel in Collinsville, Illinois with Edmond Brown, President of the Greater East St. Louis Business Development Association; Emeka Jackson-Hicks, Mayor East St. Louis, Illinois; Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-113); Rep. LaToya Greenwood (D-114); and Rep. Marcus Evans (D-33). 

    East St. Louis leader Edmond Brown spoke on the formation of the Greater East St. Louis Business Development Association and the need for regional leaders to develop partnerships within East St. Louis to make the city an inclusive component of the region economically. Brown said their Chamber’s goals are to unite regional interests, nurture small businesses through education, and expand economic development efforts.

    Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks presented on economic development projects within the city of East St. Louis and the foundational work that has been done so far. Mayor Hicks discussed her administration’s goal to establish relationships on federal, state, local, public, and private levels and her intent to create a level of integrity throughout every department within the city of East St. Louis. Under Mayor Hick’s leadership, the city has held monthly town hall meetings, established weekly administration updates in the city newspaper, undergone efforts to stabilize and restructure leadership within all departments of city hall, pushed forward efforts to complete all city audits, and created an initiative called “Restoration of Hope” that aims to create greater civic engagement amongst citizens.

    Illinois State Rep. Jay Hoffman, chairman of the Labor and Commerce Committee, briefly spoke on the Illinois state legislature and passing a budget.  Illinois State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, a former East St. Louis city councilwoman, spoke on economic development efforts within the 114th district. She has adopted a “Buy American, Buy Local, Support Local Jobs” initiative championed by Rep. Hoffman that urges citizens to sustain, support, and create local jobs. Greenwood said she will also continue to look for ways to expand tax credits for working families and provide incentives to create jobs in Illinois.

    In closing, Rep. Marcus Evans, Chairman of the Transportation Committee, remarked on his work with the state legislature and the business community. Rep. Evans said his committee’s current priority is to regulate roads and bridges as well as look into better transportation options for those commuting in rural areas.

    Kevin Riggs, managing director at the Denton US, LLP, followed by moderating a question and answer section before adjourning.

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    Edmond Brown, President of Greater East St. Louis Business
    Development Association addresses the Illinois Public Affairs Network.

     
    (From left to right) Rep. Jay Hoffman, Rep. Latoya Greenwood, and Rep. Marcus Evans.