Anticipation for elections at the federal, state, and local levels has dominated the political landscape over the past few weeks. There are many important proposals that will impact Lincoln, and some that can help shape Lincoln’s business community.

The Lincoln Chamber, following longstanding policy, does not endorse candidates or contribute to candidate campaigns. Rather, we work with whomever the voters send to office to build the economy and make our community one that is attractive to people and businesses. At all levels of government, we ensure the business community has a voice on policy issues that impact our future growth.

While we don’t engage in candidate campaigns, the Chamber is very involved in supporting issues that are on the ballot which support economic growth. This year, Amendment 1 is a top priority. If passed by voters, Amendment 1 would allow airports to use their existing revenues to develop and expand commercial air travel in the state. The state constitution currently prohibits airports and political subdivisions from using revenues to attract and ensure commercial air service. Passing Amendment 1 would allow airports to use revenue responsibly to attract new air service to increase the number of flights and destination options.

State Senator Eliot Bostar led the effort to pass LR283CA, the bill seeking to add Amendment 1 to the statewide ballot for the general election. It sailed to passage in the Unicameral during the 2022 legislative session with overwhelming support. A bipartisan coalition of business leaders and elected officials have come together to promote a ‘YES’ vote on Amendment 1, with Senator Bostar, State Senator Lou Ann Linehan and 1st District Congressman Mike Flood appearing across the state to promote voting in favor of the measure. The Chamber was a strong advocate for the passage of LR283CA, and we now encourage voters to pass Amendment 1 on November 8.

The Chamber has supported air service expansion in other ways. Recently, the Lincoln Airport announced the addition of nonstop flights to Houston. In support of this effort, the Chamber established the Greater Lincoln Air Service Support fund and contributed $250,000 for a revenue guarantee to secure that flight, along with a matching commitment from UNL, and a federal grant program. We applaud the work of the Airport Authority for their efforts to recruit service to Houston.

We are already looking ahead to the 2023 Legislative session on a diverse set of issues, including: tax reform, talent development, career and technical education, affordable housing and school funding. Additionally, the legislature appropriated $1 billion of federal ARPA projects in the 2022 session. Now, a year later, the business community will provide oversight to the use ARPA resources and propose changes where appropriate.

We are looking past the election to the work ahead with excitement and optimism. Economically vibrant communities all have supportive business climates that have a foundation of good public policy. Our Chamber policy team, led by Bruce Bohrer and Todd Wiltgen, is always ready to assist our businesses, our community and our state.

Working together, we are shaping a bright future for Lincoln.