WEC sponsors legislative forum in Dothan
Area business owners discussed key topics with officials ahead of the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 Regular Session at the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs and Issues breakfast.
State Senator Donnie Chesteen and state Reps. Paul Lee, Jeff Sorrells, Dexter Grimsley, and Steve Clouse addressed topics like the state’s prison system, the economy, a proposed state lottery, and rural broadband expansion. Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC) was one of the primary sponsors of the event.
“Wiregrass Electric Cooperative is heavily involved in economic development efforts, and this event plays a role in them,” says WEC Chief Operating Officer Brad Kimbro. “From this event, the business community can learn and anticipate changes that could affect them or help them grow. Promoting business expansion, which helps the communities we serve grow, is another way we show members ‘You Are Our Reason’ for operating.”
Dean Mitchell, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, says the annual event also allows business leaders to voice their opinions on state and federal policies in a variety of ways. An interactive electronic poll at the beginning of the breakfast provides legislators some insight, as does the question-and-answer session that concludes the event.
“We want to make sure that we share with legislators our thoughts,” Mitchell says. “They’re all super supportive of businesses and are willing to help us.”
The Eggs and Issues program also strengthens the relationships between business and government officials, which paves the way for the development of significant economic projects. Collaboration among multiple entities have led to several recent major industrial developments — like the 317,000-square-foot FedEx warehouse currently under construction in Dothan — and other key construction efforts like the expansion of Alabama Highway 52.
“We have a great coalition of elected legislators, and what makes them effective is how well they work together,” Kimbro says. “Without a large city in the region, we’re at a disadvantage. The only way to have a chance for significant funding is to work together. Communication is key.”
Since WEC and the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce possess the shared goal of growing the Wiregrass, it only makes sense for WEC to sponsor events like Eggs and Issues, Kimbro says.
“We couldn’t do events like this without our members and event sponsors,” Mitchell says. “They understand the value of cooperation. They understand the importance of having these events. Our partners help us do what we do throughout the year. Wiregrass Electric Cooperative is a standout partner.”