The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is looking pretty good for a 156-year-old.

During its annual meeting Friday, March 29, President and CEO Veronica Horn detailed the successes of the past year and highlighted some of the projects and programs the chamber is looking forward to in the year ahead. She said 2018 was a year of change for the Chamber, with  the retirement of past president Bob Van Deventer and her acceptance of the position, a strategic planning session which realigned jobs among staff members, bringing two new staff on board, a renovation of the offices at 515 Washington Ave. in Saginaw by Shaheen Development and taking the organization it a different direction.

Horn is setting her sights on upcoming projects for the next couple years.

“Transformational legislation with Good Jobs for Michigan, we still have a keen focus on health in the Great Lakes Bay Region… we have now gotten approval for four new psychiatrists at the CMU Medical School, which may help the Caro Center out in Tuscola County… Passage of the Career Technical Education millage was critical for this county.”

A new state administration can sometimes mean economic uncertainty, but Horn is confident Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her staff are receptive to the county and region’s needs.

“We’re already on the ground and we’ve met with the governor, we’ve met with the lieutenant governor, hosted the lieutenant governor here in Saginaw County… We made it very clear that the Great Lakes Bay Region is a force to be reckoned with.”

Horn says the Whitmer administration is focused on urban community redevelopment, which the Saginaw County Chamber has a lot of experience with.

Horn is also excited President Donald Trump, who held a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan Thursday, March 28, has reversed his decision to cut funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The president’s budget proposal called for cutting 90% of the $300 million program, which is responsible for providing resources to target threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem, including invasive species, chemical contamination, harmful algae blooms and to ensure safe drinking water and recreational opportunities.

Horn says she applauds the efforts of Congressmen John Moolenaar, Jack Bergman, Bill Huizenga and Dan Kildee for their efforts in fighting for the funding. She says more infrastructure on the Great Lakes can only enhance the shipping and recreational industries.

During the meeting, the Chamber also presented awards to individuals and organizations which exemplify the Chamber’s goals and ideals. They are as follows:

  • Chamber Ambassador of the Year – Tony Holstine
  • Diplomat of the Year – Leslie Bilodeau
  • Chairman’s Award – Covenant Healthcare
  • Chamber Challenge Award – Covenant Healthcare