Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 7, 2012

Chamber launches 'Advocacy' website

By Paul Hooper
Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce

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The year 2012 is seeing a groundbreaking modernization in how the Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce is utilizing Information Technology and Social Networking, promoting local businesses and supporting our community.

After engaging in social networking through Twitter, Facebook and Constant Contact, the Chamber now takes another step forward by launching an Advocacy Site.

While Twitter, Facebook, Constant Contact and the Chamber website maintain a direct line of communication between the Chamber, its members and those outside our community with approximately 60,000 views per month), the Advocacy site provides businesses and local residents with a direct wire to their local, state and federal elected officials.

The Chamber recognizes our role in the community to help our members and businesses to prosper and grow. One way the Chamber looks to do this is to be a “facilitator” and “communicator” of information. This website seeks to mobilize the pro business community behind the issues that are most consequential to economic growth. With so much uncertainty and regulation facing the business community today, Advocacy.Corsicana.org serves as a platform for small businesses to take action in the legislative process and stay educated on the issues that directly impact their interests. You can also access this website on the Chamber’s website, www.corsicana.org.

Advocacy.Corsicana.org  offers:

•  Up to date information on state and federal legislation.

•  The ability to easily contact your local, state, and federal officials on the issues you care about.

•  Access to a variety of voter resources, such as polling place information, voter registration forms, absentee ballots, and zip code identification of your elected officials and candidates.

•  The Chamber’s positions on local and national issues.

The Advocacy site is an approach developed and backed by Free Enterprise Network (FEN). As the name of the organization implies, FEN stands for pro-business and low tax policies to create jobs and grow our economy on a large scale. The FEN cares for and supports small mom-and-pop shops as well as large corporations.

The Corsicana Advocacy site is providing a forum where our local entrepreneurs, business owners and residents can educate themselves in areas of their interest and importance to their business, employees, family and community.

In detail, the Corsicana Advocacy site offers the following tools:

•  Legislative Tracking: Our users can research and track bills at the state and federal level.

•  Dynamic News Feeds: Tailored to the individual issue or legislation, our users can inform themselves through a list of links to reliable, trustworthy news sources.

•  Social Media Feeds: The Advocacy Site is populated with social media updates from the main Chamber website, that is local Events, Twitter and (coming soon) Facebook.

•  Quick Polls and Surveys: Users of the site can participate in polls related to key issues concerning us all.

•  Voter Resources: The Advocacy Site offers forms, links and information for voters, like absentee ballot and voter registration. It also provides state and federal candidate lookup tools so you can educate yourself about the candidates competing for your vote.

•  Communication Tools: Through the Grassroots Action Center registered users of the site can send letters to their elected representatives about important issues. The Action Center makes this very simple by filling in all the required information. All the user has to do is formulate their message or concern in a few sentences. Additionally, the Chamber will soon offer pre-formulated form letters in relation to important key issues. Our users can either sign off on these form letters or even alter them as they see fit and then send them. So that you can find this, click on: Take Action-User Profile-Directory for Officials (state & federal)-Compose your Message (options to send are: Email, Fax, and Letter).

The Advocacy site has recently been enhanced through another update (provided directly by the Free Enterprise Network), offering additional tools and resources directly related to the Nov. 6 elections.

Registration is free and without any obligation whatsoever. To register, click on the “Take Action” tab in the main navigation of the site.

You will be notified whenever the Chamber is addressing a key issue through a drafted letter to an elected official. Of course, registration does not mean you sign off automatically on all letters drafted by the Chamber; your expressed action is required after notification by logging on to the Action Center and sending the letter, provided you support the cause.

The administrative backend for the Advocacy site is provided by the Free Enterprise Network. The Corsicana Advocacy site was built with additional technical support and consultation from local web development business Enantiomeric.

Please take a time to visit this new site at http://advocacy.corsicana.org/  looking through all that is available. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me here at the Chamber.

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Paul Hooper is president and CEO of the Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce. He may be reached by email at phooper@corsicana.org.