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    LB Area Chamber Endorses Gov. Schwarzenegger's Reelection

    (October 3, 2006) -- Just days after he vetoed a bill endorsed by the City of Long Beach that would have levied a fee on cargo containers shipped through the Ports of LB and L.A. to fund clean air projects, rail cargo projects and port security, the LB Area Chamber of Commerce endorsed incumbent Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's reelection. Chamber endorses Schwarzenegger, Sept. 06
    Byron Schweigert, Chamber Board Chair; Lori Lofstrom, Chamber Vice Chair for Public Policy; Governor Schwarzenegger; Matt Kinley, Chamber Chair-elect; Randy Gordon, Chamber President/CEO. Photo source:

    We post below the verbatim the text of the Chamber's Gubernatorial endorsement -- the first ever in the group's 118 year history -- from its advocacy website

    Upon the recommendation of the Chamberís Political Action Committee, the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted to endorse the second term for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger -- unequivocally recognizing that Governor Schwarzenegger is the candidate best equipped to promote a pro-jobs agenda for Long Beach and the state. The Board of Directors now stands with the Governor to continue their shared work to reduce the cost burden on employers and halt the growth in government spending in Sacramento.

    The Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has maintained a long-standing policy not to endorse candidates in statewide elections with rare exception. Such an exception hasnít arisen in the Chamberís 118 year history. The difference between the candidatesí positions on jobs and economic growth is immense and too significant not to act upon. Governor Schwarzenegger rode to the rescue of California small businesses in 2004. For four years prior, the state had been reeling from a costly energy crisis and a state government in total disarray. Four years later, according statistics provided by the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency, unemployment for Los Angeles County fell by a dramatic 42 percent while Governor Schwarzenegger has been in office.

    In June 2004, the Governor signed the Long Beach Chamber-supported workers compensation reform package Senate Bill 899 into law during a Long Beach law signing ceremony. Since that time, workers' compensation rates have been falling to the relief of businesses in Long Beach and throughout the state. The Governor has resisted every legislative attempt since then to reverse this historic success.

    "This is a historic moment for the Long Beach business community." stated Randy Gordon, Long Beach Chamber President and CEO citing the Chamber's unprecedented decision to endorse its first statewide constitutional officer since the Chamberís founding over 118 years ago.

    "We make this move today because too much is at stake in this election. California cannot afford to go backwards to the dark days of an annual, helter-skelter barrage of taxes, fees and regulations. We need a focused vision that will balance the needs of employees and employers alike. We believe Mr. Schwarzenegger has the political will and courage to help every Californian realize the golden California dream," Gordon added.

    "California's future is at stake," stated Byron Schweigert, Chairman of the Long Beach Chamber Board of Directors. "It's time for bold leadership and that's why the Chamber Board voted the way it did today. The Governor's record is clear, under his leadership, average workers' compensation rates have fallen by more than 50 percent; indeed, it is impossible to overstate the importance Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been to California small-business owners," Schweigert continued.

    Gordon concluded, "In making this announcement, the Chamber stands up for the average taxpaying citizen of Long Beach. We are proud to partner with the Governor in continuing to bring economic vitality to every Long Beach citizen. Our action today acknowledges the Governor's actions in taking California from the brink of bankruptcy to economic vitality. Before Governor Schwarzenegger was elected, the state budget deficit was out of control, companies and jobs were fleeing the state. Now, jobs are being created, unemployment is down, and the state's business environment is glowing again."

    Conspicuous by its absence was any mention of Gov. Schwarzenegger's veto of the container fee bill (SB 927)...which LB Mayor Bob Foster -- whose election was strongly backed by Chamber -- had publicly urged the Governor to sign. When the veto came, the Chamber issued a statement saying it was "is pleased to hear" that Gov. Schwarzenegger had killed the measure.

    "This fee would have amounted to a tax that would have driven up the price of consumer goods for working Americans shopping in retail stores in virtually every state, not just California. This would have been a tax on consumers, not foreign entities," the LB Chamber said. The Governor "showed that he is serious about keeping the Long Beach economy strong and healthy with his veto of the Chamber opposed SB 927. We concur with the Governor, in that this bill is laudable in its intentions; however, SB 927 is flawed in its construction, application, lack of accountability and failure to coordinate with other public and private financing sources while ignoring opportunities to leverage additional funding," the Chamber said in a Sept. 22 statement.

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