Chamber Delegation Heads for Home Happy with DC Trip

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Thursday was the final day for the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce delegation in the nation's capital. They ended their stay with a quick morning photo shoot with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, then packed up and headed back to Texas.

As they boarded a shuttle bus Monday to head towards their hotel, the delegation could easily see and more easily hear a Washington, DC METRO train speed past at Reagan National Airport. Those trains travel at speeds upwards of 80 miles-per-hour.

The delegation may have travelled faster this week, with dozens of meetings wtih Texas and national power players, and one basic delivery.

"You're repeating the same story every time you go in, but it gets better with each recitation," said Ron Gay, a College Station councilman and delegate on the trip.

"I'm impressed with what we've been able to get done and with the two-way communication," added Ben Hardeman, a delegate and Bryan councilman. "We've told them some things. You expect them to listen, and they have very carefully."

By all accounts, the Congressional delegation and their staffs have spoken back.

"Many of the issues that affect us in Bryan-College Station affect the state of Texas, and it's helpful to talk to other representatives," Hardeman said.

"I think it just shows the dedication of this group," said Carol Gravis with the Chamber. "I think it just shows the dedication of this group. It is an amazing group, and you don't see many communities sending groups like this, particularly year after year."

This seventh trip for the Chamber of Commerce focused on issues like dwindling transportation dollars as regional growth necessitates new roads, nursing shortages, rising numbers of employed uninsured, and even the ability to supply city water to newly-annexed areas.

"If there was any surprise there, it was that a lot of folks were not really aware of that particular issue, but are willing to listen and discuss potential solutions," Gay said.

"We learned a lot by doing this," Gravis added, "and we believe we were pretty concise in the way that we laid out our legislative action plan. We have something to leave them with."

"They won't make decisions in the next few weeks on those issues they weren't aware of before, but we planted the seed and we'll stay in touch with them," Hardeman said, "and we'll be back next year and communicate more and more with them.