I have yet to discuss the Chamber's endorsement of Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, the first mayoral endorsement in the organization's history.
GMCC President Jennifer Alexander says the endorsement is an indication of the organization's increased engagement in politics that has taken place over the past seven years. The group has gradually increased its involvement in campaigns, starting with Common Council races, then County Board races and finally the mayoral race.
Four years ago the organization was still reluctant to get involved in the mayor's race, which pitted Cieslewicz against a Republican businessman, Ray Allen. "We weren't ready and our relationship with the mayor was different at that time," says Alexander, noting Cieslewicz's previous support for a municipal minimum wage initiative, among other policies that were not in line with the Chamber's agenda.
Alexander lauded Cieslewicz for a variety of policies in the past four years, including his opposition to mandatory sick-leave, his support for revamping the city's zoning code, the Edgewater development and high-speed rail. In addition, she praised him for maintaining a Aaa bond rating as well as a solvent rainy day fund.