Monday, March 21, 2011

Join us at our Legislative Reception on March 24th

As a former journalist, I used to get the same feeling from politics, especially the run up to a big election. I never quite understood how so many of my friends and loved ones could get so jazzed about a big game, or – gasp! —the latest gossip spewing from the reality television show du jour, but paid little mind to something that actually had a true impact on their lives.

That’s why I am absolutely tickled pink with the uproar Gov. Rick Snyder has caused with his state budget proposal. Not because I necessarily agree with his vision for the “new Michigan,” rather that he actually has found a way to engage regular folk in the conversation of what kind of state do we want to live in. Not only are people paying attention, but they actually are weighing in on the issues, which is fantastic.

I am hopeful this important dialogue continues when the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber hosts our Legislative Reception Thursday evening at The Townsend Hotel in downtown Birmingham. The governor’s proposals stretches much further than how state government will operate; they have a huge impact on our cities and school districts as well which look to Lansing for critical funding.

The governor did his part with his budget proposal. Now, the balance of the work rests with our elected state representatives who have to approve the budget, and our local municipal and school leaders who will be left to figure out how to run our schools, cities and villages with whatever funds they receive from Lansing.
So, if you want a chance to offer your two cents worth on what should be spending priorities and what should be cut from the state budget, you have your chance on Thursday evening. The fun starts at 6 p.m. and elected officials representing every level of government have confirmed their attendance. Visit the Chamber’s Web site at for more details and to register.

I can’t wait for Thursday’s discussion, and I hope you join me. Besides, you can always DVR the American Idol results show.

Joe Bauman is President of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. He welcomes feedback at

Monday, March 7, 2011

What's in store for us? Ask the legislators

Michigan clearly is at a tipping point in terms of the types of support, programs and services that we as residents can expect from our state government. Radical change is the order of the day, and even our elected leaders are having a difficult time articulating what lies ahead for our great state and its people.

Newly elected Gov. Rick Snyder campaigned on a platform of ending “business as usual” when it comes to state government and, boy, did he ever deliver on his promise. The fiscal reforms he has called for in his proposed budget are so sweeping that he seems to have managed to alienate just about every interest group fighting to maintain its part of the budget pie.

To help further the discussion on what the future holds for our state and region, the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber is hosting a Legislative Reception, 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Townsend Hotel in downtown Birmingham. The event will allow our members, guests and the general public an opportunity to speak one-on-one with their local elected officials to share their thoughts and offer feedback to the men and women representing them in the various branches of government.

On top of that, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, state Sen. John Pappageorge, state Rep. Chuck Moss and several members of Oakland County government also have confirmed their attendance. And, best yet, the evening comes without a single speech or formal program; rather, just an opportunity to speak directly with those charged with running our schools, cities, villages, townships, county, state and country.

Learn more about the event and find registration information on the chamber's website