Where our Policy & Advocacy team is focused heading into a busy 2024
The Board of Trade is excited to begin 2024, expanding upon previous years’ work with new and varied policy and advocacy efforts. In 2023, we substantially expanded its policy footprint in the region by adding staff members Kyle McColgan, SVP of Policy, and Tyler Kirby, Policy Analyst, in addition to Daniel Flores, VP of Government Relations. In the coming year, the Board of Trade will be bringing Holland & Knight on board to represent the Board of Trade in the District of Columbia in a continuation of 2023’s efforts working with McGuireWoods Consulting and G.S. Proctor & Associates in Virginia and Maryland respectively. We worked to expand upon its convening role through programs like the Regional Policy Leadership Series and the Capital Region Transportation Forum, which brought together transportation leaders from across the region in conversation with our members, facilitating regionalism and collaboration between the private and public sectors to address concerns around talent acquisition and retention and the long-term viability and sustainability of public transportation.
The coming year will see the Board of Trade focus on fostering regional collaboration and cooperation to overcome mounting funding difficulties within the region, allowing for necessary changes that will preserve and better the business environment. Only through addressing the interrelated issues of crime, downtown revitalization, and the success and long-term sustainability of regional public transit will the region’s unrivaled resources, especially the quality and size of its workforce and unique relationship with the federal government, continue to bolster the region, keeping it near the apex of the market.
The ability of the region’s business environment to compete with emerging competitor cities around the nation rests on the ability of its jurisdictions to work together, not only with one another but with the private sector. Only through collaboration can the region address many of its endemic problems, now being brought to the fore as the world experiences unprecedented economic and political shocks and tectonic shifts, which fundamentally change the shape of the local, national, and international economies. As work from home becomes more engrained in post-pandemic work culture, the region must reimagine how commercial real estate incentivizes regional residents to remain in and move to the region’s core. Doing so will require a multimodal approach that addresses long-term funding issues for WMATA and significant road projects like the American Legion Bridge, distressing crime trends that depress tourism and recreation within the district, and necessary improvement to the region’s general business environment to incentivize investment and disrupt negative emigration trends among the most desirable young professionals out of the region.
With legislative sessions in Virginia and Maryland underway, the Board of Trade will continue to advocate for maintaining and improving the region’s business environment, connecting policymakers and leaders with one another and with the region’s business community. Collaboration across sectors, private and public, and across jurisdictional boundaries, remains necessary for this continued elevated status of the Greater Washington region, nationally and internationally. Only through intersectoral and inter-jurisdictional communication can we expect a risk-averse and sometimes slow-moving region to adapt to the new, constantly changing environment, and maintain its appeal and competitiveness relative to the nations and the world’s emergent competitor markets.