WASHINGTON (WLFI) – Local meet national. The first stop of the annual trip by Greater Lafayette Commerce to the Washington, D.C. was to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where policy analysts updated the delegation on the latest for a trio of legislative issues, energy, transportation and immigration. One piece advocated locally is making sure Purdue students who come on a visa can stay once they graduate.
“They’re optimistic that this is actually going to occur. For us, that’s a great thing,” West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said.
“Our position papers really support what they have been arguing for and working for in Washington, D.C.,” said Greater Lafayette Commerce President and CEO, Joe Seaman.
However, just as important as talking is actual legislation, passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the President, something that hasn’t happened all too frequently in the last couple years.
Dennis believes something can happen this year.
“I believe so. I believe so, because I think it seems to be a hot button topic and hopefully they’ll be able to get something done,” Dennis said.
But, County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh has another opinion.
“No. Though it was encouraging that we’ve seen a farm bill. That was something we hadn’t seen in the last few years,” said Murtaugh.
After a visit with Brian Lamb at C-SPAN headquarters, the next stop was a trip to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a party group tasked with trying to take back control of the Senate this November.
No one quite knew what to expect going in. What the delegation got was an insider’s look at nine Senate races up for grabs around the country and how Republican strategists believe they will take back the majority.
“I thought it was really, really interesting. I’m a political junkie myself and so, to hear how they are talking about the different battleground states and their strategy, I think it was very interesting,” Murtaugh said.
It was the first time the delegation has ever visited. The Committee said it was the first time they have ever been visited by a local chamber of commerce group.
Dennis said for a group tasked with creating a good business environment locally, it’s still valuable to get a political insider’s views of national politics.
“I think for our representatives that came to D.C. to hear the level of understanding of how things work, how the people are brought forward to be a candidate and how they are elevated,” said Dennis. “I think it’s important for people to understand that.”
On Thursday’s agenda, the D.C. delegation is scheduled to meet with Sen. Dan Coats, Sen. Joe Donnelly, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, as well as the National Democratic Senatorial Committee.
News 18′s Dan Klein will have live reports from Washington D.C. on News 18 at Five, Six, and 11.