The difference between chambers
Editor’s Note: The following is an e-mail sent by Robin Comstock, president of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, to chamber members over a TV ad sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the John Sununu-Jeanne Shaheen U.S. Senate race. The ad, which calls Shaheen “a taxing machine,” makes fallacious claims about her record, including the charge that she “admitted she would have signed the first state income tax.”
Dear GMCC member:
I write today to personally respond to the numerous inquiries you have made about the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce relationship to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Several of you have contacted me, and members of my board of directors, over the course of the last several days, to let me know you are concerned about the ad campaign the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running in relation to the Senate race between Governor Jeanne Shaheen, and Senator John Sununu.
Confusion about the roles of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and community Chambers of Commerce are not new. Through the years, concerns about the relationship between the two entities have frequently been raised. So please allow me an opportunity to explain the difference between the two organizations.
The U.S. Chamber is a national business advocacy organization that regularly lobbies on issues they determine to affect the national business community. Consistent with their mission, they regularly endorse candidates that represent their priorities and objectives.
Our Chamber serves a very different role and has objectives and strategic goals centered on the needs and interest of the local business community. Consistent with most other local community-based chambers of commerce, we do not, nor have we ever, endorsed a particular candidate in any political campaign. Furthermore, I do not see that practice changing in the foreseeable future.
The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has always been and will continue to be a non-partisan business advocacy organization. As a convener and unifier of members of our community, our success hinges on our ability to attract all people from all walks of life with a broad arrange of belief systems that arise from varied ethnic, cultural, political and religious experiences and opinions. We are successful in our community because at our core, we believe our role is to bring members of the community together to enable us to facilitate a cooperative dialog that results in consensus on matters that improve the nature of conducting business in our community and region.
In closing, I want you to know that we have not been involved with the U.S. Chamber ad campaign in any way; nor will we engage with the similar campaigns in the future. We are not a division, department, or associate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on any level. We are totally independent from them and their program of work; and we are totally removed from their lobbyist and other PAC related efforts. In addition neither I, nor anyone from my office was briefed on the ad, or contributed to its development in any way.
Robin A. Comstock
President & CEO
Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce