Chamber officials say that, as part of its effort to protect more than 30 pro-business members of Congress in competitive races, they also may provide direct mail and phone-bank support to the Connecticut candidates.
A spokeswoman for the business group, Linda Rozett, said today that it already has begun advertising on Connecticut television stations on behalf of Simmons...
When I reached Simmons for comment, he had this to say:
"I am thrilled that the Chamber and it's hard working business leaders have seen fit to support me. I will continue to work for creating opportunity, lowering taxes and bringing labor and management together for a common good."
This is certainly good news for Simmons. With over 95% of the chamber's membership consisting of businesses with fewer than 100 employees it certainly means something for them to support him. Some other facts I found: Small businesses employ roughly half of all private sector employees and are responsible for the creation of 60-8o% of net new jobs annually over the past ten years; so this certainly carries some weight with it. Those numbers don't lie. If they are backing him it most certainly shows that he supports small business and small business owners. Rob has always had a strong record here and it is nice to see that they recognize it.
After doing some research on the Chamber's website, this seems to be part of a much larger voter education effort. According to their website, they are launching what they are calling a "Vote for Business Bandwagon".
This is from the press release on their website.
The United States Chamber of Commerce today unveiled the newest component of its 2006 election outreach efforts, the "Vote for Business Bandwagon" bus, which will embark on a month-long trip to key states and congressional districts during the August Congressional recess for candidate endorsement events with U.S. Chamber members and voter registration drives.
"This tour takes our voter education efforts to a whole new level," said Bill Miller, Chamber vice president and national political director. "By partnering with state and local chambers and our members in targeted areas, we will be able to mobilize and educate voters for the critical mid-term elections."
The bus, which is colorfully decorated specifically for the Chamber, is outfitted with more than a dozen state-of-the-art computer workstations and a satellite uplink which will allow Chamber staffers to process voter registration forms and provide important information on early voting and absentee ballots.
The tour will begin in Maryland and will cover 12 states during August, where the bus will be the centerpiece of voter registration events, grassroots activist training, and press conferences announcing Chamber endorsements for critical House and Senate races. In addition to holding events with Chamber members, the bus will also be visible at sporting events and state fairs.
"The goal is to educate, motivate, and turnout our members this fall," said Miller.
I found it interesting that the US Chamber is getting this active in the election. While they have endorsed candidates in the past they have never been active to this extent. I have a feeling that we will see this bus in Connecticut at some point, perhaps in the Second Congressional District.
The Chamber has a similar efforts in place for Nancy Johnson and Chris Shays and has backed Joe Lieberman. While they haven't ruled out commercials or mailings for Lieberman in the General election (as they did in the primary), they haven't decided to do so yet.
Don Michak, Business Lobby Backs Lieberman, 3 GOP Reps . Journal Inquirer, 08/17/2006
U.S. Chamber Launches Vote for Business Bandwagon . 08/01/2006. US Chamber of Commerce