With all eyes on November, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce is expanding its civic engagement efforts to encourage Santa Monica residents and businesses to get involved and stay involved in the upcoming citywide election, and beyond.
Over the coming seven weeks, the Chamber plans to complement its member and community engagement activities with a robust voter education and registration campaign, targeted especially at newer voters and the technology community.
The Chamber kicked off this effort last week by hosting voter registration tables at its 19th annual New Heroes Celebration and at Cross Campus, the co-working office space that is home to a number of start-up companies and entrepreneurs.
Many of the young tech-sector workers and business owners at Cross Campus were excited about the prospect of registering to vote and going to the polls in Santa Monica for the first time.
“Providing businesses and residents with an avenue for civic engagement has always been at the heart of the Chamber’s mission,” said Santa Monica Chamber President, Laurel Rosen, adding, “We want to ensure that all Santa Monicans have an opportunity to make their voices heard in the upcoming election. Especially important are young voters in the tech community, whose participation is critical to our city’s future. We want to remind them that just like the Internet, democracy never shuts down.
The Chamber will continue to register new voters until the October 20 voter registration deadline, and will host a number of public events to educate and engage residents on the top issues at stake in the election, and introduce them to the many candidates running for leadership positions.
Those events will include a candidates mixer on October 15 at Pacific Park and a candidates forum with the Santa Monica Mirror on October 21 at Cross Campus. Both events will be open to press.
The Chamber is also strengthening its ties to the technology community by partnering with Social Media Week Los Angeles to offer all Chamber members free admission to that organization’s four-day conference (September 22-26 at The Broad Stage).
Carl Hansen, the Chamber’s director of Government Affairs, said he was working to encourage younger residents, who in the past haven’t been very involved with local politics, to become informed and to vote.
“It is essential that they understand the important issues our community is debating now and how that impacts them – particularly the future availability of housing and alternative transportation,” Hansen said.
Julia Ladd, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Chair, said for nearly 90 years, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce has been the “go to” resource for advocacy, education, and resources for Santa Monica businesses and for the community overall.
“This year is no different: we remain one of the most effective organizations in the city by continually expanding our presence and serving as a voice not just for businesses, but for all residents,” Ladd said. “We are excited to broaden Santa Monicans’ civic participation through November 4 and beyond.”
For more information on the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, visit smchamber.com.