What started in 1997 with a few people with some great ideas, has transformed into the premier business organization of the Parish and one of leaders in our region.
Today, we represent more than 900 companies in working to improve the business climate and create business initiatives and opportunities. We have proven that through our business advocacy, we can be a strong force in tackling quality of life issues.
From our initial roots, we have stood strong on public policy beginning with the need to keep the 504 area code in our part of the region. We have been there on critical tax issues such as the one in 2004 that created money for teacher pay raises when neighboring parishes and states were luring our best teachers away. Incidentally, this is just one of dozens of initiatives that we have championed for our public education system.
We led the way, once the money was secured, in pushing the state’s department of transportation and development to begin the expansion of the Huey P. Long Bridge with our “Hurry the Huey” campaign. In 2000, we created a tourism bureau known as the Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau and later secured a hotel/motel tax to adequately fund the tourist promotion organization.
As we have grown, we have created other important venues and organizations along the way. In 2001, we recognized the need for a Political Action Committee (PAC). This has allowed us to put strength in endorsements of pro-business minded political candidates. Our Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, began in 2007. This foundation has been the backbone of the workforce development grants that were a catalyst in the rebuilding after Katrina. The Foundation is also the namesake and founder of the Jefferson Chamber Foundation Academy; a high school that gives Jefferson students a second chance at graduation. The JCFA is now autonomous from the Jefferson Chamber.
Working with our partners at JEDCO, GNO, inc, the Regional Planning Commission and others, our organization will continue to be a great influence in legislation, planning, and “big picture” type thinking. Whether local, state or federal, legislators respect our positions and passion for policies, laws and principles that support our mission of Improving Business – Improving Lives.