Chamber News

Nominations are now open for the Chamber of Commerce 2015 Annual Business Awards. Nominations are being accepted in the following categories. Please click here for award categories and nomiation forms. Deadline for nominations is August 14, 2015.

Annapolis, MD (September, 2014) – The Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce (AAACCC) announced today that Cathy Shaw has joined their team as Director, Marketing and Communications. She is responsible for the AAACCC’s overall communications, marketing, and membership development efforts with a focus on advancing the organization’s strategic objectives and serving member needs.

Small Business Digest

Maryland grants residents access to two of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation, and, on average, it is the wealthiest of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In short, it offers ample opportunity for young families to settle down and raise their kids ... Read more!

With an annual median household income of $71,122, Maryland is the richest state in America, 24/7 Wall St. said, citing U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) ... Read more!

BUSINESSWEEK - The agency is waiving its upfront, 2 percent loan-guarantee fee for those smaller loans and reduce a monthly guarantee fee paid by the lenders by 3/10 of a percent. The SBA didn’t announce an end date for waiving the fees. The changes mean small business owners borrowing $150,000 will no longer have to come up with $2,550 in upfront fees at the time the loan closes. That will help many of the Main Street retailers, service businesses, craft breweries, and car dealerships that apply for SBA-guaranteed loans ... Read more!


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Chamber Advocacy Principles

Consistent with the vision, mission, and core values of the Chamber of Commerce, the Government Matters Committee formulates positions and advocates on City, County and State legislation that impacts businesses in the City of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County and the State of Maryland.

Nonpartisan Approach

The Chamber of Commerce is nonpartisan in its approach, and does not endorse or oppose legislation based upon political party philosophies or political party sponsorship. Nor does the Chamber of Commerce endorse or support candidates for public office. All elected and appointed officials are welcome to comment and provide information on legislative issues pending before the Government Matters Committee and the Chamber's leadership as they deliberate.

Source of Credible Information

Furthermore, it is our philosophy that chambers of commerce should be resources of credible information that support business concerns, not tainted by political ideology, partisanship, and electoral politics. Elected and appointed officials in all levels of government need to have confidence that chambers of commerce are pragmatic in their approach to issues of importance to businesses. They also need to know that chambers of commerce support a sound process more than ideologically driven motives when identifying workable solutions to problems facing businesses and the broader citizenry.

Diverse Membership

The leadership of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce believes that the Chamber's role as a business organization is to welcome and nurture a diverse membership from all political, ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. In doing so, we serve as a forum where business people from these various backgrounds can come together and work on real solutions for the challenges that face businesses and the broader community they serve.

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Legislative Positions

Chamber of Commerce positions on pending legislation before governing bodies are determined by the Legislative Committee of the Chamber of Commerce. Those positions reflect the Annual Legislative Agenda prepared by the committee and approved by the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Members of the 2013 Legislative Committee for the Chamber of Commerce

Chairperson: Linda Schuett, Linowes and Blocher

Andrew Bing, Kramer & Associates
Harry Blumenthal, Blumenthal, Delavan, & Williams
Walter Childs, Linowes and Blocher
Craig Distelhorst, National Institute for Conflict Resolution
Bradley Freedman, Freedman Capital Advisors
Brian Goff, Insurance Solutions
Bonnie Johansen, Constellation Energy
David Miles, The Drawing Board, Inc.
Geoff Mitchell, Geoffrey S. Mitchell, LLC
Hannah Powers, Alexander & Cleaver
Kevin Tracy, McNamee Hosea

Follow the links below to view Chamber of Commerce positions on legislation pending before the current session of the Maryland General Assembly, Anne Arundel County Council, and Annapolis City Council.

2013 Maryland General Assembly
Clicking on the link below will provide the viewer with the Chamber of Commerce positions on pending legislation in both the State Senate and the State House of Delegates during the 2013 Maryland General Assembly.

Chamber position on pending legislation

Below are links to pending legislation introduced or co-sponosred my members of the Anne Arundel County Delegation to the 2013 Maryland General Assembly.

District 21
Senator James C. Rosapepe (D)
Delegate Benjamin S. Barnes (D)
Delegate Barbara A. Frush (D)
Delegate Joseline A. Penna-Melnyk (D)

District 30
Senator John C. Astle (D)
Delegate Michael E. Busch (D), Speaker of the House
Delegate Herb McMillan (R)
Delegate Ronald A. George (R)

District 31
Senator Bryan W. Simonaire (R)
Delegate Don H. Dwyer (R)
Delegate Nicholaus R. Kipke (R)
Delegate Steven R. Schuh (R)

District 32
Senator James E. DeGrange, Sr. (D)
Delegate Pamela G. Beidle (D)
Delegate Mary Ann Love (D)
Delegate Theodore J. Sophocleus (D)

District 33
Senator Edward R. Reilly (R)
Delegate Cathy Vitale (R)
Delegate Tony McConkey (R)
Delegate Robert A. Costa (R)

Anne Arundel County House Delegation Bills
Anne Arundel County Senate Delegation Bills











2013 Anne Arundel County Council
Follow the links below to view legislation pending before the Anne Arundel County Council, and legislation which the Chamber of Commerce has taken a position on.

Pending County Council Legislation
Chamber position on pending legislation


2013 Annapolis City Council
Follow the links below to view legislation pending before the Annapolis City Council, and legislation which the Chamber of Commerce has taken a position on.

Pending City Council Legislation
Chamber position on pending legislation


U.S. Congress & Federal Legislation
The Chamber of Commerce follows certain legislation pending before the United States Congress that may affect businesses in Maryland. Follow the link below to view federal legislation which the Chamber of Commerce is following and has taken a position on.

Chamber position on pending legislation


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Chamber Economic Development Initiatives

A balanced and equitable tax base is the hallmark of a resilient economy able to withstand fluctuations brought on by cyclical economic forces. It is also one of two primary goals of any well-planned and executed economic development effort. The second goal is to promote predictability and consistency in the relationship between business and government as each performs its responsibilities of meeting the needs and expectations of consumers and citizens. In order for businesses to succeed and prosper there must be a fair amount of predictability in the marketplace. Those in and out of government who pursue ideological crusades and impulsive agendas impacting the marketplace undermine that stability and predictability.

Issues of land-use, the environment, and government efficiency in areas where they interface with business have the potential of undermining marketplace stability and predictability if government chooses to act unilaterally without consulting those affected, and shows indifference to the economic impacts of its actions and decisions.

Our elected and appointed officials in government should take great care not to promote policies or legislation that will undermine the assessable tax base of our City, County, and State. Promoting legislation or policies that weaken or diminish the assessable tax base runs contrary to sound fiscal management.

The Chamber of Commerce counsels against regulations that exceed standards already set by a higher level of government and urges that economic impact analyses be performed before regulations are promulgated or legislation enacted.  Where possible, regulatory processes should be streamlined so as to encourage new business development and promote the retention of current businesses that are planning for expansion.

Below are links to the Chamber's Economic Development Committee, Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation, and the Annapolis Economic Development Corporation:

Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee

Co-Chairmen: Rick Morgan, President/CEO of CommerceFirst Bank & Dick Franyo, Owner of Boatyard Bar & Grill

Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation

Annapolis Economic Development Corporation

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Chamber Workforce Development Initiatives

The pressures of rapidly changing technology and increased regional competition require an ongoing investment in the State’s, County’s, and City’s workforces.  Public and private initiatives should partner to foster programs designed to supply a well-trained and available labor force for employers. Moderately priced housing and alternative transportation options from residential areas to places of employment are important initiatives and are addressed later in this document.

Adequate funding for workforce development programs in our vocational and secondary schools, public/private workforce development initiatives, and post secondary educational institutions is essential to meet the growing demands for a skilled and life-long learning workforce. The Chamber of Commerce supports incentives that allow workers with obsolete skills to be retrained for available jobs and programs that provide unemployed or underemployed citizens with advanced job skills that meet the County’s and City’s growing workforce demands.

The future success of our society and our economy rests with the children we are educating today in our public and private schools, community colleges and universities. These young people will become the future leaders, entrepreneurs, and skilled employees needed to maintain our competitiveness in an ever-changing world. Educational issues affecting the quality of secondary and post secondary graduates entering the workforce, and issues affecting the availability of teachers and educators in our public school systems, are paramount if we are to compete in an increasingly competitive economy. Those issues also extend to the importance of funding public education.

We need to prepare today’s students for meeting the needs of the immediate present while exploring new and innovative programs for future generations who will enter a workforce different from that to which we are accustomed. It is essential that standards exist to reliably assess student performance prior to graduation from high school and to provide for teacher accountability to ensure that students are adequately educated to succeed in the workplace of today and tomorrow.

Another important aspect of workforce development and workforce readiness is the availability of affordable housing for middle and lower income working families. The Chamber of Commerce is guided by the vision that in order to be a vibrant, attractive and economically prosperous community, Anne Arundel County must strive to create and maintain a diverse community of workers.  This necessitates the creation and preservation of a housing market with a broad range of housing options for all income levels.

Below are links to the Chamber of Commerce Workforce Development Committee, Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation, Anne Arundel Community College, and Anne Arundel County Public Schools:

Chamber of Commerce Workforce Development Committee

Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation

Anne Arundel Community College

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

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Chamber Environmental Initiatives

The increasing degradation of the Chesapeake Bay has generated well-founded concerns over the environmental impact of past land development activities and future land development plans in jurisdictions bordering this important body of water. Some advocates supporting restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, and protection of its coastal land and wildlife habitats, defend their concerns with well documented scientific studies, while others are no growth advocates who mask their intentions with the cloak of environmentalism and diminish the credibility of well intended groups seeking solutions to the Bay’s present predicament.

The environmental stress on the Chesapeake Bay has its origins from use and misuse over many decades, and even centuries. Recently, the Bay’s health has focused on new development and redevelopment around the Bay and its tributaries, and on nitrogen content and discharge concerns.  Business and industry have stepped forward to assist in this effort and are actively a part of the solution to improving the quality of the Chesapeake Bay and not the source of its stress. Our quality of life in Anne Arundel County is dependent upon a healthy Bay, and our ability to retain and attract new business to the area is dependent upon our quality of life.

Restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed is everyone’s responsibility in Maryland and our home county of Anne Arundel. Businesses and residential communities have joint accountability in protecting the environmental health of our Bay. Failure to address the existing environmental stress on the Chesapeake Bay from past residential and agricultural development is ignoring a large contributor to the Chesapeake Bay’s unhealthy condition. Imposing excessive fees and restrictions on new development and redevelopment projects in an effort to restore the quality of the Bay, while ignoring past inequities, is engaging in a fruitless effort that will lead to disappointing results.

Below is a link to the Chamber of Commerce Environmental Committee:

Chamber of Commerce Environmental Committee

Chairman: Susan Ford, Attorney - Council, Baradel, Kosmerl & Nolan, P.A.