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U.S. Chamber Announces Campaign to Support Free Enterprise
June 10, 2009

U.S. Chamber Announces Campaign to Support Free Enterprise

‘One of the most important and necessary initiatives in our nearly 100-year history,’ Donohue declares

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced that it would develop a sweeping national advocacy campaign encompassing advertising, education, political activities, new media, and grassroots organizing to defend and advance America’s free enterprise values in the face of rapid government growth and attacks by anti-business activists.

“Supporters and critics alike agree that capitalism is at a crossroads,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “It’s time to remind all Americans that it was a free enterprise system based on the values of individual initiative, hard work, risk, innovation, and profit that built our great country. We must take immediate action to reaffirm the spirit of enterprise in America.”

The Chamber-led Campaign for Free Enterprise, announced at the Chamber’s board meeting today in Washington, will be a sustained, multiyear effort, including:
A grassroots campaign that will deeply engage the Chamber’s broad network of business and professional associations, state and local chambers, small business members, and local advocates.

A vigorous media, new media, and public education campaign in support of free enterprise, with a special focus on the economic literacy of younger Americans.

A highly visible national paid advertising campaign to include TV, radio, online, print, and other outlets.

An aggressive issue advocacy program, leading up to the 2010 elections, to educate citizens on the critical economic issues facing our country.

Active and effective lobbying to defend free enterprise values, advance pro-growth legislation and, where necessary, legal action to challenge unconstitutional and unlawful government regulations.
The campaign’s elements will be rolled out in stages and will be budgeted at tens of millions of dollars annually.

“Many union leaders, some environmentalists, and a growing force of anti-business activists are pushing governments at all levels to close trading markets, lock down capital markets, expand entitlements, and raise taxes and debt to unsustainable levels,” Donohue said. “We are going to activate free enterprise supporters, educate the public, and hold politicians accountable as we defend and advance economic freedom.”

“We’re launching this campaign because those who make or influence economic policy must understand that a productive, competitive private sector is not something they can take for granted,” added Donohue. “It is built on a system of incentives that offers opportunity and rewards for those who work hard and take risks. Take away those incentives through an avalanche of new rules, restrictions, mandates, and taxes and you will seriously undermine the wealth and job-creating capacity of the nation.”

“Dire economic circumstances have certainly justified some out-of-the-ordinary remedial actions by government,” he explained. “But enough is enough. If we don’t stop the rapidly growing influence of government over private sector activity, we will squander America’s unmatched capacity to innovate and create a standard of living and free society that are the envy of the world.”

“Free enterprise is not a perfect system, but it is the best system,” Donohue continued. “Through the Chamber’s work, we are continually striving to improve it and expand its benefits to all Americans. Through this new campaign, we will seek to preserve an entrepreneurial system that is still the envy of the world and make sure it survives for future generations.”

“Given the unprecedented challenges facing our economy, the Campaign for Free Enterprise is one of the most important and necessary initiatives in the Chamber’s nearly 100-year history,” Donohue said.

The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.



In case everyone does not know, the Van Andel family has been very active with the Chamber of Commerce. Jay Van Andel was past chairman. Steve Van Andel was also a past chairman and is currently on the Board of Directors.


[Image: vanandel.jpg]

Steve Van Andel
Past Chairman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Chairman, Alticor Inc.
Ada, Michigan

Steve Van Andel is a past chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He has served on the board since 1996.

During this time, Van Andel also was a prime architect of the recent global effort to develop the business strategy and restructure the operations of Amway Corp., culminating in the decision to create the sibling companies Access Business Group Inc. and Pyxis Innovations Inc. and join them with Amway and Quixtar Inc. under the Alticor banner. He currently serves as chairman of Alticor. He has been responsible for managing daily operations of the $5.1 billion company since 1995, when he was named Amway's chairman. Before that, Van Andel was Amway's vice president, Americas, overseeing the company's business operations in North and South America. He also served as vice president of marketing.

Van Andel is dedicated to the renewal of downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., lending his time and support to the Grand Action Committee; the Van Andel Museum Center of the Grand Rapids Public Museum; and the Van Andel Institute, a major health research center in Grand Rapids. He serves as chairman of the Advisory Board for the Acton Institute, and on the Dean's Advisory Board for the Seidman School of Business at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich.

In addition to the Chamber board, Van Andel serves on the boards of the Center for International Private Enterprises, Michigan National Bank Corp., Grand Rapids John Ball Zoo Society, the Borgess Metro Health Alliance, the Metropolitan Health Corp., the Metropolitan Hospital in Grand Rapids, and the American Management Association's Operation Enterprise.

Van Andel earned a bachelor's degree in economics and business administration from Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich. He earned an MBA in marketing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


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