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A "Tony the Tiger" Day in D.C.

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Washington, D.C. delegation

Wednesday in D.C. was a Tony the Tiger kind of day – it was great.

We spent the day on Capitol Hill having meaningful and meaty conversations about many of our policy priorities, including Interstate 11, water infrastructure, health care reform, designation of Tule Springs as a national monument, immigration reform and travel and tourism issues.

We had substantive meetings with the members of our Nevada delegation including Senator Harry Reid, Senator Dean Heller, Congresswoman Dina Titus, Congressman Joe Heck and Congressman Steven Horsford. We appreciate their partnership in standing up for Southern Nevada’s interests and advancing legislation, even during these challenging times of gridlock and tight budgets, that will help our economy grow and create jobs.

We also sat down with several members of Congress from other states. Nevada and Arizona share several regional issues, such as building Interstate 11, addressing the drought and water resources, and making our entire region attractive to international business opportunities. So we are pleased that we sat down with Congressional representatives from Arizona. There are many opportunities to for business and public officials from both states work together to advocate for the policies and resources that will help the entire region grow. These conversations lay the groundwork for ongoing collaboration. In fact, Congressman Matt Salmon from Arizona suggested holding a summit with business and public leaders from Nevada and Arizona to discuss how to collaborate to solve water and drought issues.

Partnership is already happening with members of Congress from both states to move legislation regarding I-11 forward. We hosted a reception for the new I-11 Caucus, co-chaired by Congressman Steven Horsford and Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar. This new partnership between representatives from both states and their staff creates a broader, cohesive voice in Congress to find the resources to fund and finish the I-11 corridor connecting Las Vegas to Phoenix, leading to more trade, tourism and jobs.

But to pass legislation through Congress that will help Southern Nevada is going to require buy-in from members of Congress beyond Nevada and Arizona. We were very pleased to sit down with several members of Congress from other states who are key decision makers on legislation that is important to Southern Nevada. We started our day meeting with Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as with Congressman Jim Gerlach from Pennsylvania who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, to discuss I-11 and the benefits of investing in this infrastructure on job creation and the national economy.

We met with Congressman Rob Bishop from Utah, who sits on the House Committee on Natural Resource about scheduling a hearing on legislation to designate Tule Springs as a national monument, who was interested to learn about the economic and job creation benefits of this project.

Building broader relationships with decision makers at the national level, and better understanding of Southern Nevada issues and their importance to the national economy is critical to getting legislation passed, and the Metro Chamber is pleased to be taking a leadership role in this mission.