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VOICES FOR LOCAL BUSINESS: How To Advocate For Your Business

Join Us For VOICES FOR LOCAL BUSINESS: How To Advocate For Your Business

VOICES FOR LOCAL BUSINESS: How To Advocate For Your Business

Are you effectively advocating for your business?  Do you know who to talk to and how to make your case?  In this time of heightened political activism and awareness, learn from professional advocate Kate Bradshaw about how we can work together to ensure that local government listens to the needs of our independent business community.  Kate will also update us on the current legislative session and the status of several key pieces of legislation that may impact your business.

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Speaker Bio

Kate A. Bradshaw
Kate BradshawKate Bradshaw serves as Director of Government Affairs for Holland & Hart LLP and is the principal of her own firm, Kate A. Bradshaw Political and Media Consulting.  Kate works with businesses in our community to develop comprehensive legislative and public relations strategies and represents clients before the Utah State Legislature, the Governor’s Office and Executive branch agencies.  She previously served as Vice President of the Utah Food Industry Association and the Utah Retail Merchants Association, as well as a government relations associate for Parsons, Behle, & Latimer and a Public Relations Officer for Zion’s Bank.  Kate is an Honors Degree graduate of Westminster College and has served as a congressional intern in Washington, DC.

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The Benefits of Branding Local

Social-Media-VP-Feb-2017-followupLocal First Utah is a nonprofit organization that works to educate the public, government, and business owners about the value and vitality of locally owned businesses to our economy and community. On February 22nd, Local First Utah Executive Director Kristen Lavelett gave a presentation on the Benefits of Branding Local. Lavelett detailed how independent businesses help keep millions of dollars recirculating in our Utah economy and how branding a business as locally owned, actively participating in the “buy local” movement, and engaging with other independent business owners has a profound impact on a business’s bottom line.


Kristen Lavelett, Local First Utah Executive Director

Kristen Lavelett is the Executive Director of Local First Utah, a nonprofit organization that works to educate the public, government, and business owners themselves about the value and vitality of locally owned, independent businesses to our economy and communities. A former journalist, curriculum developer and playwright, Kristen now leads the “buy local” movement in Utah, advocating for independent businesses on state, county, and city levels in both urban and rural communities. Her expertise in branding, campaign coordination, and collaborative enterprises have spurred economic development through place making in her hometown of Salt Lake City, and across the state of Utah.  She is a member of the Board of Directors for Urban Food Connections of Utah, and is an ex officio member of the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Business Advisory Board.

Political Sages Pignanelli & Webb Offer Insight On How The 2017 Utah Legislative Session Bills Might Affect Vest Pocket Businesses

On Friday morning (Jan. 20), Vest Pocket members and guests gathered for breakfast at Lamb’s Grill in Salt Lake to hear Deseret News political columnists Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb talk about upcoming bills affecting local independent businesses.

Pignanelli, an attorney, lobbyist, and political adviser, said the timing of the event on inauguration day was timely. “What happens at noon (today) is going to drive a lot of what happens during the (Utah) Legislative Session. Just the mere presence of Donald Trump is going to be driving a lot of bills and resolutions because of the perceived changes that may happen in the federal government.”

He added, “Whether it’s in health care, financial services, energy — you name it — that’s going to be driving some of the considerations.” Pignanelli said during this legislative session we can expect to see a battle between Rocky Mountain Power and the Solar Industry over a proposed change that would end net metering.

Pignanelli gave an update on a bill that is of special concern to Vest Pocket members; the Small Employer Retirement Program bill that was sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler from Woods Cross. “It didn’t pass (last year) but he’s going to introduce a new bill , Pignanelli said. “It will be similar legislation but (Weiler) says the treasurer won’t have so much influence in picking programs.” (Referring to the selection and management of retirement savings account providers.)

Other issues that Pignanelli expected to see debates around include:

  • Taxes – a possible gas tax increase and the online sales tax collection issue
  • A big infrastructure bill
  • A vigorous debate over new changes in the law governing non-compete agreements
  • A continued discussion around moving the homeless shelter in SLC
  • An examination of alcohol policies based on an alcohol bill filed by Sen. Jerry Stevenson
  • Air quality, perhaps incentives for cleaner vehicles
  • Some tweaking on health care
  • A fight over permitting of food trucks
  • A possible bill to lower the minimum number of employees required for a business to be subject to the Family Medical Leave Act
  • A change in how rental housing application fees are handled
  • Property management law amendments
  • A living wage bill to propose increasing the minimum wage to $15/hr. by 2022
  • Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act

The morning’s second speaker was David M. Davis, President of the Utah Retail Merchants Association, who talked about the (online) Sales Tax Fairness issue, a matter of great importance to many Vest Pocket members. Davis said the best solution would be if Congress passed a law to deal with the issue, but the only way something would get done at a federal level is if enough states do different things that it becomes too complicated to deal with for large online retailers. Davis outlined Senator Bramble’s upcoming sales tax fairness bill. He said it will likely include an “Economic Nexus” approach and “Affiliate Marketing Nexus” approach. Davis talked about the sales tax vendor compensation remittance credit and encouraged business owners to talk with their accountants to ensure that they are taking the proper sales tax collection credit.

Political consultant and lobbyist LaVarr Webb wrapped up the Legislative Warm-up breakfast by saying he thinks that the current legislative session will be a very interesting one. Webb said he thinks that many Utah legislators will wait on some big issues like public lands and Medicaid to see what starts to happen in Washington before making decisions locally on those issues. Webb said the topic of a 2018 ballot initiative for a tax increase for education funding will be a big deal during the legislative session. Webb said since we Utahns have more children per capita than any other state in the country, the issue of excellence in education and education funding overshadows many other initiatives. “ I don’t think we can become the number one education state in the country (by) spending the lowest per pupil in the country”, Webb said. He said that the sales tax on online sales like the tax that has now agreed to collect for the State of Utah could help contribute to education spending, perhaps reducing the need for the tax increase ballot initiative.

During the opening and closing of the breakfast, Vest Pocket President Jon Parry spoke and encouraged all local, independent business owners to get involved. “I encourage each of you to think about what issues that are important for you and your business and let’s get active!”

Pignanelli added that the Utah legislature does a really good job with their website in helping keep people in Vest-Pocket-Legislative-Featuredthe loop. “You can go on the website and follow a bill and even get alerts on your phone”, Pignanelli said. “I would encourage you to follow the bills”. He added, “Legislators do rely on hearing from the small businesses in the district and they want to make sure they’re not having a negative impact.”

When asked about the most effective time for small business owners to reach out to legislators for an in-person meeting to introduce yourself, Pignanelli said the best time is when the legislature is not in session. “I always encourage people to reach out to a legislator (prior to the start of the session) and set yourself up as a resource”, Pignanelli said. “Let them know what you do and what you care about.”

Pignanelli says that during the legislative session, e-mail probably isn’t the best way to reach out to legislators since they receive thousands of emails and the input gets aggregated. He recommends hand-written correspondence or a phone call. “If you hear about something and you’re nervous about it, or you really support it, I would call that legislator and let them know”.

Parry noted that a big part of Vest Pocket’s mission is advocacy and that means engaging with other Vest Pocket business owners to weigh in with legislators on important issues. “Only if we get active and we actually use our voices is this organization going to have the full impact that we know it can.”

How you can get involved

  1. Become a member of Vest Pocket
  1. Follow what’s going on in the legislature be frequently visiting the following sites:  – General – Numbered Bills/New Bills – Bill Tracking – Reading Calendars

  1. Let Vest Pocket know what issues you’re most concerned about and ask for the group’s support

PAST EVENT: 2016 Holiday Mixer

Vest Pocket Annual Holiday Mixer

Join with all the great people in Vest Pocket and our partner organization Local First the evening of Thursday, December 8, 2016, as we socialize over great food and drink from local companies and celebrate the holidays! Come enjoy the festive atmosphere at Cactus & Tropicals.

Reacquaint yourself with old friends and meet business owners and professionals who are part of our local independent business community as we close out 2016 and look forward to 2017!  Please RSVP and invite your other business owner friends to join, too.

Admission:          FREE to Vest Pocket members and guests

Location:             Cactus & Tropicals, 2735 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City

Date & Time:      Thursday, December 8 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

PAST EVENT: “Building a Team in Your Business: How To Get All Your Employees To Work Together!”

Building a Team in Your BusinessThe truth is that getting employees to all work together for the benefit of the company is challenging. The best employees want to be team members and accomplish big things for their employers. Does your business have a true “team” of employees, or only employees working individually? What can you do to create and maintain a real team of employees to help take your business to the next level? Join Vest Pocket on November 16th for its next lunchtime educational event when Adam Robison, Managing Partner for the Business Minds Research and Development firm, provides practical guidance on how to build your employee team in an insightful and engaging presentation.

Lunch will be provided.
Speaker Bio

Adam Robison

Adam RobisonAdam was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan and wrestled on scholarship for Brigham Young University in Provo, UT where he graduated on the dean’s list with a B.S. in Economics; later he added a minor in chemistry.  He has extensive experience in the selling profession having sold for Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company as a pharma rep where he placed in the top 10% of the company. Later he sold insurance first for New York Life, then for Beneficial Financial Group as a sales manager, and finally for Bankers Life and Casualty as the District Sales Manager and Territorial VP.  After his time in life insurance and financial services he opened and operated his own private hedge fund.  Today Adam serves as the Managing Partner for the Business Minds Research and Development firm as a revenue consultant.  Adam and his beautiful wife Ashley are the proud parents of 7 children: Lincoln, Cayson, Trystan, Lily, Ashlyn, Luke and Finn.

Join Us For Our October Breakfast Social Event on October 19th

Breakfast Social Event

Join us for breakfast on Wednesday morning, October 19, at 8:30 AM, as Vest Pocket returns to Lamb’s Grill downtown for a fun breakfast-time social event. Come and visit with other business owners over a nice breakfast and listen to a representative of Sandler Training offer tips about improving your business networking skills to grow your business. Come prepared to do a short, 60 second talk about your business.

Register now to reserve your seat.

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