SAN ANTONIO – Every year the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce participates in SA to DC — a trip for local leaders to go to the nation’s capitol and advocate on our city’s behalf — and this year was full of key priorities.
Dave Petersen, the Interim President and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, joined leading SA to discuss the trip’s history, goals, and logistics.
“We’ve got at least 12 different issue teams, everything from aerospace, cybersecurity, education, workforce development, manufacturing, energy, health care, on and on, including military affairs. And each team has its own separate and distinct priorities. So our councils and committees meet throughout the year, and they come up with those priorities that we take to DC,” Petersen said.
One hundred fifty business leaders and local officials made this year’s S.A. to DC trip with top-tier priorities.
“Probably our military focused on military installation and missions, ensuring that we continue to be military city USA and that the Department of Defense knows that we’re there are efforts. We’re also focused on infrastructure investments in the community. We’ve had several major projects, including the international airport via Metropolitan Transit Works Development Authority, that all hinge on Department of Transportation funding. And we also advocated on the importance of investing in infrastructure in the fast-growing quarter fastest in the nation between San Antonio and Austin,” Petersen said.
This trip is not new. It has been happening for years and has been very fruitful for the San Antonio community.
“We’ve had great successes in the past that were part of this trip. And, you know, it’s hard. You can’t say that this trip was the reason that these things happened, but you can certainly say that this was a key contributor, Speaker of the House Ryan, a few years ago when he met our group, he said, you know, it really sends a message when you get that many people in the room. And so this year, we’ve advocated with the Department of Defense for innovative ways to support the DOD in the Air Force with the Port San Antonio in 2015, we were able to get funding for the new federal courthouse. 2021 Via was included in the president’s budget for the first time in 2020. The US Army Corps of Engineers, work plan included the final $26 million reimbursement to Bexar County for advancing a portion of the federal share of the Mission Reach,” Petersen said.
Regarding logistics, there is an entire schedule that takes months to collaborate, plan and execute.
“We go and meet with the members of our congressional delegation, their staffs. We meet with leaders of other congressional conferences, and we sit across our capitol in both the Senate and the House office buildings and meet with folks. We also tack a trip on the start of the of the visit to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, which is the home of Air Combat Command, which is the lead command for 16th Air Force, the cyber Command here in San Antonio. And Thursday, after the main body of the trip departs, we do. That’s where I talk about the Department of Defense. We spend an entire day in the Pentagon meeting with Army, Air Force, and other Department of Defense leaders,” Petersen said.
You can learn more about the trip and the Chamber of Commerce HERE.