The Advocates: DC Fly-In Updates

The 2022 DC Fly-In was a success! We had the opportunity to meet with every member of the federal delegation including a special business roundtable with Congresswoman Nancy Mace in Charleston before we left for the trip. We began each meeting with the federal delegation thanking them for their support on the harbor deepening and Lowcountry Rapid Transit.

Talking Points

  • The Chamber supports funding to complete the Mark Clark Extension.
  • The Chamber supports the expansion of the Coast Guard installation in North Charleston. The 10-year project will double the size of the Coast Guard’s footprint in the Lowcountry, making it their largest presence on the East Coast.  
  • Our Chamber realizes attainable housing is not just a Joint Base Charleston and Coast Guard issue. It’s a regional, state and national issue which also impacts our military members. We support any change in formula to increase funding for our military personnel in high cost areas like the tri-county region.  
  • To enhance the retention of DoD civilian and federal employees, the Chamber supports the establishment of a special locality pay area for federal employees in the Charleston-North Charleston MSA and encourages incorporating economic factors, such as cost of living, into the methodology for determining locality pay. 

Key Updates From Leaders

  • Congressman Clyburn showed an interest in the work we are doing on broadband through the One Region Roadmap. We will be following up with his staff member, who is dedicated to broadband, to share the final report and look for ways we can partner on bridging the digital divide.  
  • Senator Lindsey Graham made a specific ask of the Chamber to host an event in September. He wants to talk to the business community about the importance of military funding. With increasing inflation and China’s increasing military power, it is important that military funding does not become a partisan issue.  
  • Overall, the Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force were appreciative of the Charleston business community’s efforts on housing and education. At each meeting, top military leaders emphasized the importance of these efforts and the support from the community.  
  • The Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force praised our lobbying efforts to exempt military retiree pay and spousal licensure reciprocation.
  • Leaders at the Coast Guard reported that the new base is coming along on schedule. They will be staggering the cutters between now and 2034. Right now, they are undecided about the future of the Tradd St. property. They may hold onto it if they need additional storage space.

A special thank you to the 27 attendees that were able to join us on the trip, including representation from Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties, as well as Charleston County School District, Goose Creek, Mount Pleasant, Hanahan, City of Charleston and the City of North Charleston. 

We hope you will join us in DC next year!

Bailey Vincett, Government Relations Coordinator
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