The chamber’s smaller tent
When it comes to Western Colorado Congress’ membership in the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, think square peg in a round hole.
The two organizations simply are not a good fit with each other, especially these days when they are on opposite sides of important local issues such as the new state oil and gas regulations and the rezoning of Brady Trucking property along the Colorado River.
Since the chamber, like WCC, is a private organization, it certainly has the right to tell a member group it is no longer welcome.
We expect Western Colorado Congress would have similar issues if, say, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association sought to be a member of WCC while it actively opposed WCC policy on key issues.
Despite all that, the chamber’s handling of this issue was not the most adept. With no advance discussion, Chamber President and CEO Diane Schwenke personally delivered a letter to WCC Executive Director Heather Tischbein, informing her that WCC’s membership in the chamber had been terminated.
More importantly, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce has long maintained a big-tent philosophy. Although chambers of commerce are often viewed primarily as promotional organizations for private businesses, the Grand Junction chamber has reached out to include nonprofits, government representatives and others among its members.
With the recent action to terminate Western Colorado Congress, the chamber’s tent appears considerably smaller, and other members may be wondering how well they fit with the chamber.