The Fox Cities Chamber has grown as a leader in regional collaboration. As a key player in creating the Northeast Wisconsin Chambers Coalition (NEWCC), this Chamber teamed with others in the region to coordinate their public policy positions to strengthening the business climate by working collaboratively on these issues. The coalition includes the Chambers of Commerce from Fond du Lac, the Fox Cities, Green Bay and Oshkosh.
NEWCC was formed to create a unified regional voice in advocacy of public policy issues. The organization represents more than 6,500 member businesses, which employ more than 250,000 people.
Statistics show that the area between Fond du Lac and Green Bay outpaces the rest of the state —with the exception of Milwaukee — in population and employment. According to a 2003 Department of Administration estimate, the MSA population of Green Bay, Appleton-Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac County totals nearly 700,000, while the number of people employed in the civilian labor force reaches nearly 425,000.
At its first briefing session with area legislators and other government officials in May 2003, NEWCC identified key issues on which the organization would concentrate its efforts: Taxes and Spending, Health Care, and Regulatory Reform. Leaders of the Chambers hoped that this regional effort would increase the area's clout among legislators and elected officials representing the area. Understanding that in some cases, their respective communities competed for new development and economic opportunities, growth has significantly blurred the lines that traditionally divided these areas. Clearly, collaboration would provide a unified voice more likely to be heard in the seat of state government.
In June 2003, the coalition hosted a briefing and discussion on new federal ozone standards, pending non-attainment designations and the impact of these regulations on local businesses and the economy.
Currently, leaders of the coalition have also claimed a place among a much broader group of regional leaders committed to economic development in a 17-county area of Northeast Wisconsin. While contributing to this larger conversation, the Chambers in the coalition also will continue to break down issues of economic development into more local initiatives.
For information on the Northeast Wisconsin Chambers Coalition, contact the Fox Cities Chamber by calling 920-734-7101.