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Nearly 100 strong, they descended on the state capitol earlier this week, a band of political, industry and civic leaders from the Huntsville area to listen – and to be listened to.

The annual Montgomery Trip hosted by the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce provided insight into the state government and an avenue to voice concerns on issues that affect our area, as well as networking opportunities.

“We’re fortunate to have so many people who took time off from their jobs to make this trip,” Mayor Tommy Battle said. “Having a group that large and involved really gets the attention of the State Legislature. There is strength in numbers when we show up there and ask for consideration for the needs of North Alabama.”

“It’s amazing to see so many people from Huntsville go to Montgomery and advocate for Huntsville and Madison County,” said Harrison Diamond, Business Relations Officer for the City of Huntsville. “It’s a testament to our corporate citizens. They know what happens in Montgomery affects us here.”

Having a group that large and involved really gets the attention of the State Legislature. There is strength in numbers.”

In turn, what has happened here at the polls has affected Montgomery, and in a positive way, believes Cassie Scott, Director of Corporate Development at Quadrus Corporation.

“I felt like North Alabama has gotten it right with elected officials we have placed in Montgomery,” Scott said. “Each of them spoke with such conviction and authority about what they wanted to do, about not only doing the best thing for their community but doing the best thing for the state as a whole.

“The collaboration and communication from our elected officials is what resonated with me. We should be really proud of putting the right people down there.”

Local legislators meet with group

The group heard from local legislators Sen. Arthur Orr, Speaker of the House Rep. Mac McCutcheon and Minority Leader Rep. Anthony Daniels. Also on the agenda were Clinton Carter, Finance Director for the Alabama Department of Finance; Dr. Ed Richardson, Superintendent of the Alabama State Board of Education; and Gov. Kay Ivey.

“I enjoyed hearing Speaker McCutcheon speaking about a more long-term view on budgeting as opposed to year-to-year. I think that’s critically important.”

“At breakfast Tuesday morning with Arthur Orr as the speaker, the impact of the room filled with Huntsville business leaders was eye-opening and positive,” said Shannon Drake of Still Serving Veterans. “The ability to speak to our state leaders in a relaxed setting allowed for better conversations.”

Beyond the enlightenment and exposure to the officials, Scott finds an added benefit to this trip, and a similar one to Washington, D.C., later in the year.

“You leave knowing what to do and how to get involved and you leave with a network of like-minded professionals you can rely on to help get the job done,” Scott said. “The networking on top of the education is a no-brainer to do it again the next year when it comes up.”

Drake, making her first such trip, echoes the sentiment.

“I had been told for several years that I needed to attend due to the networking opportunities but the timing never worked out,” she said. “After this week, I will definitely make a point of attending in the years to come.”