Each year the Salt Lake Chamber visits Washington, D.C. with business, community and state leaders. This trip represents a unique opportunity to connect local leaders to members of our federal delegation and the nation’s capitol.

Here are the highlights from the final day of the 2016 edition of the trip:

Hail to the Chiefs: A Discussion with the Utah Federal Delegation’s Chiefs of Staff

img_8267The fourth day of our Washington, D.C. Trip started with a panel featuring the Chiefs of Staff from Utah’s Federal Delegation.

These hard-working staff members described what their positions entail, the difficult, but satisfying challenges associated with life on Capitol Hill, and how they hope to strengthen the relationship between their offices and the Utah Business Community. Each chief of staff mentioned two specific ideas:

  1. Utah’s Delegation, as a whole, “punches above its weight.” This happens, they shared, because of the powerful positions and committees that each member of the delegation sits.
  2. Utah’s Delegation is more closely aligned in their federal priorities than most states, allowing for greater accomplishment.

Guarding our Nation’s Capitol

Following our meeting with the chiefs of staff, we had the privilege to hear from Major General Errol R. Schwartz of the Washington, D.C. National Guard. Major General Schwartz was appointed in 2008 and re-appointed in 2009 by Presidents George W. Bush and Barrack Obama respectively.

During our discussion Major General Schwartz described his responsibilities, how he interacts with President Obama, and how he works to keep millions of people safe during major events like presidential inaugurations.

Immigration and the 2016 Elections

img_8279Ali Noorani, who heads the National Immigration Forum, spoke to our group about the impacts of immigration on the 2016 elections. He shared that Utah leaders, through the Utah Compact, have led the nation in smart immigration reform.

Towards the end of his remarks, Noorani describe the important role religious leaders play in changing the perceptions associated with immigration reform. He finished by quoting a passage from a recent LDS General Conference address delivered by Elder Patrick Kearon on refugees, stating that thought leadership like that makes a marked difference on such a difficult issue.

For your Eyes Only: Global and National Hot Spots

img_8285Our concluding speakers for the trip were Representative Chris Stewart and Damon Nelson, Staff Director of the House Permanent Selection Committee on Intelligence.

Mr. Nelson shared his thoughts straightforwardly, starting with, “The world is on fire.”

He continued by describing that, by virtue of the committee that he and Representative Stewart sit on, they are frequently briefed on terrorist and military activity throughout the world. They receive classified information on things like the material found on Hillary Clinton’s email server, the nuclear activities of North Korea, and the movements of Isis.

Representative Stewart ended with a stern, yet positive thought. He explained that America is still the most powerful military force in the world, but that if the nation does not take these things seriously, we find ourselves (and many currently do find themselves) in an extremely difficult situation.

Learn More!

To learn more about the Chamber’s annual Washington, D.C. Trip, follow Salt Lake Chamber social media and search #SLChamberDCTrip