We ended 2017 by submitting our application to become a 5 Star Accredited Chamber of Commerce. In 2017 we received a 4 Star level from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and it is our desire to join the few 5 Star chambers, out of the 7000 chambers in the United States. In 2017 we survived a hurricane and a 500-year flood. Recovery is not complete but, to help in the recovery, the chamber’s education foundation distributed almost $500,000.00 to our college and our public schools. All that money was made possible by contributions from our members, with $324,000.00 coming from Golden Pass LNG. It is an example of the willingness of our industries to help Port Arthur and a perfect example of how a chamber partners with members to benefit our city.
Other successes in 2017 was the creation of our Contractors Business Group and our Hispanic Business Council. Both task forces resulted in an increase in membership, diversity and economic development for the chamber. These two groups will continue to grow and, hopefully, encourage other business groups to take advantage of the chamber and form similar interest groups. These efforts are not to divide but to involve all businesses of all races in the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce. These groups work to breakdown barriers between groups and educate each on how to use the chamber to increase their business.
Although it will not happen until 2020 the U.S. Census effort has begun. There are training seminars planned for this year to involve as many people as possible in the Census effort leading up to 2020. Getting everyone counted is financially important to our city because population is a key to getting federal monies. In the last census many Hispanic residents refused to be counted because they had been told the information would be used to deport them. I expect the same tactics to be used this time. I hope our chamber and city can work together to educate all our residents of the importance in being counted. The chamber will be sending a staff member to several of the planned training seminars to determine the best method of using our members to encourage all residents to register. There are indications that Port Arthur may lose residents, due to Hurricane Harvey, so having all remaining residents be counted is extremely important to our ability to attract our fair share of government funding. Money is not the only reason. The population also determines the number of Representatives that each state has in Washington. The more Representatives we have, the better represented is Texas. As you can see, now, more than ever, is the time to be counted.
If you want to be part of this effort and you believe what we are doing is important, call Paige Snyder at 409-936-1107 Extension 3 and be counted. Join the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce