A group of local business owners have announced the formation of the Yellowstone Area Chamber of Commerce. The group was formed in response to a growing belief among business owners that common-sense, pro-business solutions are often secondary policy goals of other business organizations, announced Sam Loveridge, who has been named as the new organization’s Executive Director.

The group will educate and advocate for proven and business-centric policy prescriptions that create a positive environment for businesses and economic growth, said Loveridge.

As indicated by its name the Yellowstone Area Chamber of Commerce is being formed more as a regional organization to represent business throughout eastern Montana and west to Bozeman. It has a non-profit 501-C6 tax status and has filed with the State of Montana. “We are a completely sovereign organization. No special interests or massive company or political party will dictate what they want to see from us. If something is good for all business, we will support it; that is what we are going to fight for every day,” said Loveridge.

While a temporary organizational board of directors has been formed, they will be meeting this coming week to form an official board and to identify some legislative priorities going into the Montana State Legislature, which begins this month. They will also be hiring a lobbyist to represent their membership during the legislative session. The YACC plans to lobby for legislation that will spur innovation, competition, and free and open markets. A more specific list of priorities will be announced within a week or two.

Over the coming months, YACC will be recruiting businesses in the Yellowstone area that also seek to create a stronger climate for business in the area. Since their announcement the organization has responded to membership requests and Loveridge said that they recently sent out 40 invoices and will have about 100 members. By year’s end, they hope to have 1000 members.

“The Yellowstone Area Chamber was formed because businesses deserve a voice—they deserve someone fighting for them every day.” Loveridge emphasized, “Our goal is to create a strong, innovative, and competitive marketplace where businesses prosper, grow, and employ more people.”

The goals of the new Chamber will be:

* Free-market solutions—not more taxes, bureaucrats, and regulations.

* A straightforward and equally applied tax code that neither favors nor burdens specific businesses or industries. 

* The repeal of unneeded regulations and bureaucratic red tape that disincentives growth and starting a business. 

* Accountability for elected officials who serve the people—not special interests. 

* An education system built for the 21st century where our best and brightest can find good-paying, fulfilling jobs in the area.

The Yellowstone Area Chamber of Commerce will provide members with opportunities to network with other local businesses, build relationships, and find new customers and vendors. YACC will also connect prospective employees with member-businesses and provide opportunities for businesses to market their goods and services. 

To join YACC or for more information call Loveridge at 406-670-8522 or by mail to: P. O. Box 81545, Billings, Montana 59108 or visit YellowstoneChamber.org.