MUHLENBERG COUNTY (10/19/13) — Dave Adkisson, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, was the guest speaker at the Thursday, Oct. 17 meeting of the Greater Muhlenberg Chamber of Commerce held at the Central City Convention Center.
Adkisson, well known for decades throughout western Kentucky, became the mayor of Owensboro at age 34, after graduating from Harvard.
Thursday, he knew just how to break the ice to the packed audience at the convention center.
"You have a great thing going. As I go around the state, I hear many cities and counties talk about how the Central City and Greenville chambers have been so active after they combined into the Greater Muhlenberg Chamber,” said Adkisson. “I know this is quite a feat because I grew up hearing about the rivalry between Central City and Greeenville. Now here you are, today, eating lunch together."
After a round of applause and laughter, Adkisson told the crowd how the chamber is perceived around the state.
"But seriously, other counties are now taking a play from your book, and merging chambers throughout the state," he said.
Turning to the legislature in Frankfort, Adkisson noted that "the state chamber has six full time lobbyist. Now I know, if you watch the news, lobbyists sometimes are not considered in a positive light. But our job at the chamber is to educate legislators on issues that directly affect your businesses, and the progress of the state of Kentucky."
Adkisson said through the work of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, many legislative victories have been made.
Those include Public Employee Pension Reform, which "despite significant opposition from public unions and misinformation, Gov. Beshear and a bipartisan group of legislators were able to forge an agreement and pass the Chamber's top priority. These reforms will result in a savings of $10 billion over a 20 year period."
Other victories in Frankfort in the area of education reform include university bonding, raising the dropout age, early graduation and teacher evaluation, he said.
Adkisson also emphasized that the sure cure for many of the tight budget woes that affect just about every part of state and county governments, can be dealt with through the public and private sectors working together.
"One example of this is the new health care requirements,” he said. “If you call the state's help line, your call is not answered by a government employee. It's answered by someone from Xerox Corporation. This is prime example of how the private sector can assist the state in cutting costs."
During 20 years of service in Kentucky, Adkisson held several statewide leadership posts including chairman of the Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education, president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executive, co-founder of Leadership Kentucky and chairman of the Kentucky Center for Public Issues.
Adkisson apologized that he had to leave early to attend U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's meeting at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.
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