On Friday, the Montana Chamber of Commerce wrapped up the second week of its Montana Business Agenda (MBA) Tour.
We stopped in Laurel, Billings, Colstrip, Miles City, Glendive, Sidney, Glasgow, Butte and Anaconda.
The MBA Tour is an opportunity for us to share with the public our successes during the Session and it was a chance to update attendees on our ten-year strategic plan, Envision 2026. But more importantly it was a chance for us to hear about what business concerns locals had.
One of the most pressing concerns in eastern Montana was infrastructure and connectivity, especially with news that Verizon Wireless was terminating contracts in rural Montana.
“Keeping all of Montana connected is important, not only from a business perspective, but for emergency services, too,” said Webb Brown, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce. “We’ll be working with providers and others to see how we can maintain quality access.”
Bridger Mahlum, the Montana Chamber’s government relations’ director, said he was encouraged by the turnout in Butte and Anaconda.
“Excellent discussions ensued regarding the bed tax in Butte and the impact of the fire season on Anaconda, but workforce is the foremost issue in these communities,” he said. “With the local job service office closing in Anaconda and several other towns this fall, the need to find creative solutions to find qualified talent is crucial.”