The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber acts as the voice of business in Oklahoma City. The Chamber represents thousands of businesses of all sizes and all industries in Oklahoma City’s 10-county region. The Chamber’s goal is to work to create a business climate that attracts new investment and enhances growth and expansion opportunities for existing companies.
Although Oklahoma City is the 25th largest city in the United States (measured by population), the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber is one of the top five largest chambers of commerce. Each year, in collaboration with its members, the Chamber develops a robust, yet targeted legislative agenda representing the issues that the Chamber’s Government Relations team will actively engage elected officials on. The Chamber’s 2020 agenda includes over 70 federal and state items, representing policy priorities across a range of issue areas including education and workforce development, healthcare, transportation, energy, criminal justice and more.
“Everything we advocate for here at the Chamber is focused on creating a positive business environment in Oklahoma City. You’d be surprised by the range of issues that touch on our mission as an organization,” says Derek Sparks, Senior Manager of Government Relations for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “And, we need to have a voice on each one,” says Sparks.
Since 2013, POLITICO Pro has helped streamline the Chamber’s work and provides a single source of reliable information. “POLITICO Pro is my one-stop-shop. I don’t have to go aggregate dozens of sources, I just follow Pro. Everything I need is right there in my inbox or when I log in to the platform,” says Sparks.
Over the last eight years, the Chamber’s Government Relations team has leveraged POLITICO Pro to help the Chamber navigate a range of issues including advocating for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank Act, navigating the reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Act, which resulted in $643 million in federal funding for Oklahoma, and most recently understanding how the Coronavirus pandemic and related relief packages would impact businesses in Oklahoma City.
With the help of POLITICO Pro, Sparks and the Chamber’s government relations team can track policy developments in real-time as they unfold, understand the impact they have on the Chamber’s agenda, and create a strategy to advance their policy priorities.
In 2015, the Chamber successfully advocated for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank Act, which impacted many chamber members like Boeing, by getting former Congressman Steve Russell “from being a hard no all the way to yes,” says Sparks. “If I hadn’t had POLITICO Pro’s reporting on this issue on hand for our meetings with the congressman, which was a subject being underreported in general, I wouldn’t have had a substantial enough understanding of how things were developing. Ultimately, we were able to show the Congressman how valuable Exim is to some of our major members and POLITICO Pro’s reporting was key to that.”
Most recently, the Chamber’s government relations team has had to completely rethink their 2020 agenda in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. “We have the double-whammy in our state between the Coronavirus pandemic and a historic downturn in oil and gas prices,” which accounts for at least 35% of the state's budget, says Sparks. Through this crisis, Sparks was able to rely on POLITICO Pro for in-depth, actionable intelligence, “While working remotely, Pro’s reporting has been invaluable...it provides continuity, consistency, stability and even a sense of normalcy. It’s the inside baseball that I devour and allows me to know what's going on and to keep our members up-to-date.”
“And, to top it off - the customer service is phenomenal.”
This content was produced outside of the POLITICO Pro newsroom.