A Thermometer Tells You What the Temperature Is…

The Frisco Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Legislative panel discussion at a luncheon, titled “Open and Uncensored: What Did & Didn’t Happen in the 85th Session.” The panel discussion, held on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at the Westin Stonebriar, allowed a conversation between state and local elected officials and North Texas business and community leaders.

Charles Gressle, CEO of Medical City Frisco and Medical City Plano shared, “Medical City Frisco is proud to partner with the Frisco Chamber of Commerce to bring together elected officials and the leaders of our business community. It is important that our elected officials hear from those they represent, especially those who are working to keep our economy strong and vibrant.” Medical City Frisco was the presenting sponsor of the event.

Garver LLC, John Paul II High School, and Parkhill, Smith & Cooper were Advocacy Partners for the luncheon. In addition, businesses within the community sponsored tables. “We are grateful to our sponsors that make these events such as these possible,” said Christi Wilson, Director of Events at the Frisco Chamber of Commerce. “We continuously look for ways to educate the business community on key issues.”

In June 2017, the Texas Legislature wrapped up its 85th Session after a tense 140 days with many issues left unresolved.  The panelists were asked questions that probed beyond the typical political sound bytes on the issues that matter the most to Frisco and to the business community.

“The 85th legislative session showed different perspectives/groups having differing opinions on key legislative issues facing business AND residents – property tax reform, school finance, and local control,” said Tony Felker, President/CEO of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce.  “It’s important for our elected officials to hear from our business community and answer the tough questions on how they represent the specific needs and concerns of those who work to keep our economy strong and growing.”

Julie Fine, an Emmy award-winning political journalist with NBC 5, moderated the panel of elected officials including Texas State Representatives, Representative Justin Holland – District 33; Representative Matt Shaheen – District 66; Mayor Jeff Cheney, City of Frisco; John Classe, President of Frisco ISD Board of Trustees. The panel also included Chris Wallace, President of Texas Association of Business (TAB), which is based in Austin.

The chance of Amazon’s next headquarters being in Texas, property tax, transportation, and school finance were all topics of the discussion with many questions coming from the audience via text. School funding and property tax reform were key issues. Mayor Jeff Cheney praised the partnership with Frisco ISD, stating that he views the school district as one of the city’s biggest economic tools and the number one reason people move to Frisco.

When asked what was needed from the Legislature to attract businesses to Texas, Chris Wallace boldly stated, “Let’s stick with core issues that impact our daily lives, personal and professional, such as education reform, which will lead to real property tax reform, and not unnecessary distractions.” Wallace went on to mention other core issues such as transportation, healthcare, and energy.

The Legislative session meets every two years. The Frisco Chamber will continue to keep the lines of communication open with elected officials, voicing the needs of Frisco’s unique and rapidly growing community. “Years ago, the Frisco Chamber was viewed as a thermometer,” says Felker, referencing an analogy he uses often. “A thermometer tells you what the temperature is but doesn’t do anything about raising or lowering the temperature. We strive for the Frisco Chamber of Commerce to be the thermostat in the business community, the instrument that can make things happen!

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