Fort Bend Chamber stays out of political controversy

SESHADRI KUMAR
Keri Schmidt
Fort Bend County Judge KP George last week insinuated that local chambers of commerce were advocating against what he called Texas anti-voting, Jim Crow 2.0 bills.

George tweeted the following, but Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce has come out with a statement saying it does not take any position on this political issue.

KP George tweeted this: “This year, Ft. Bend considered joining the @GHPartnership as a dues-paying member, but due to their deafening silence on anti-voting, Jim Crow 2.0 bills we will NOT be moving forward. Thanks to @SylvesterTurner, @LinaHidalgoTX, nonprofits, businesses, & all for speaking out.

In earlier tweets, George said: County Judge KP [email protected] May 6

We are facing the most divisive political struggle since the civil rights era. There is a responsibility for all of us, as a community, as organizations, as representatives of the people to speak out against these flagrant attempts at voter suppression.

County Judge KP [email protected], May 6

Even in light of these Jim Crow 2.0 bills, we have seen an outpouring of advocacy against them ranging from nonprofits, individual businesses, community groups, and the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce.

Asked about the chamber’s position, Fort Bend Chamber President Keri Schmidt, issued the following statement:

A Message from the President & CEO of the Fort Bend Chamber



With a population of near 800,000, Fort Bend County is home to seventeen cities, small to large, each with its own unique flavor and outstanding characteristics. We respect the evolving diversity of our county and embrace this strength, understanding that diversity fosters innovation and creativity in our businesses thereby increasing performance. Our diversity includes all aspects including a broad spectrum of individuals that represent all facets of the political spectrum.



The Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce has a 45-year history of supporting the businesses of Fort Bend County. Our 5-star accreditation (2014 – 2019) also requires that we educate and advocate on government affairs at the local, state, and federal levels. Our Governmental Affairs Team, comprised of seven voting members and one ex officio nonvoting member, advocates on behalf of the membership on local, state and federal issues affecting job creation, economic development and the overall vitality of the region. Ongoing efforts include:

• Holding candidates’ forums, get out the vote campaigns, and providing information on issues impacting Fort Bend County

• Producing public policy legislative agendas

• Building and maintaining strong relationships with our local, state, and federal elected officials

• Serving as the trusted table for discussion by maintaining a non-partisan position on issues.



Our advocacy website, FortBendVotes.com, is another valuable resource; that provides relevant information and serves as a vehicle for grassroots participation and connection to elected officials. The site has news and tracking on state and federal issues, voter resources, our public policy guide and how to take action. We encourage our members to use the FortBendVotes.com to communicate with their elected officials.

Concerning current legislation pertaining to voting rights, our Governmental Affairs team has been following the legislation. As of this date, no formal recommendation has been made but the Chamber remains very sensitive to potential outcomes that would create obstacles in preventing citizens from exercising their vote or increase voter apathy.

The Fort Bend Chamber believes the right to vote is a fundamental right of American citizenship and essential to our democracy. All citizens should have ready and easy access to vote. It is critical that this right is upheld—not only in Presidential elections, but in all elections at the federal, state, regional, and local levels.

Working together we can make a difference.