It seems people are getting more and more interested in the political process. For this reason, and the fact it was brought up in the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook, it’s a timely topic.
Should chambers be endorsing political candidates?
Chambers have always been pro-business and selecting to endorse candidates who share their beliefs is a strong proactive move in the community. You’re likely already supporting legislation and working in government affairs, so why not get in front of the selection process instead of merely at the back after a choice has occurred?
But if you’re thinking about endorsing, there are a few things to consider first.
Chamber Considerations for Endorsing Political Candidates
Chambers are split on this issue–to endorse or not. Here’s a glimpse of the recent conversation that occurred among the chamber pros on Facebook.
Do you need a PAC to endorse and what does that mean for your status?
You don’t need a PAC to simply give your endorsement to a candidate. If you were giving money, a PAC would be the way to go and you need to check with a tax advisor about what that would mean to your chamber status.
Is that a conflict of interest if you have an elected official on your board?
This largely depends on their voting rights but since endorsements will be based on the candidate’s business rating, it’s much less subjective than you would assume. Plus, endorsements wouldn’t be voted on. They’d be based on the candidates’ pro-business stances.
Do you have to endorse in every race?
If there’s not a candidate that fits your pro-business ideals, don’t endorse. You want the chamber endorsement to be something coveted by candidates. If you throw endorsements around, it won’t be.
Shouldn’t the chamber be non-partisan?
Endorsing a candidate doesn’t make you partisan. If you have a list of things you look for in a candidate, publish that (in some form. Doesn’t have to be a list; could be a statement.) so that people understand what constitutes a chamber endorsement. Generally, you’re looking for someone who supports business in the community but there may be other qualifications too.
Are you endorsing candidates? Join the conversation here.