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December 16. 2012 8:28PM

Legislative symposium to focus on business topics

NASHUA - Local business owners plan to meet with state representatives before the legislative session begins to discuss important topics impacting their success.

About 45 legislators from southern New Hampshire plan to attend the 2013 Legislative Symposium in January at the Crowne Plaza hotel.

Hosted by the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, the event will include a panel of business professionals hoping to address key issues that may be discussed at the State House in the coming year.

"This event was created three years ago to help our legislators in Concord who may sometimes find themselves in a bubble when voting on issues that can significantly impact our business community," said Chris Williams, president of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.

The panel will debate three general topics - taxes and fees as they relate to New Hampshire businesses, employee health care costs and energy costs and regulations, Williams said.

"Now more than ever, small and large companies in greater Nashua are worrying about the ever increasing costs of health care," he said.

He said the best time to express concerns about these issues is before state representatives are presented with proposed bills that could alter health care costs either positively or negatively.

State representatives from Nashua, Merrimack, Milford, Amherst, Litchfield, Hudson and Hollis are invited to participate in the 2013 Legislative Symposium and Reception planned for Jan. 7.

"This is sort of a primer for legislators, especially since many of them are newly elected and have not yet met the rest of their delegation," said Williams.

Panelists will include representatives from BAE Systems of Nashua, ARC Energy of Nashua, St. Joseph Hospital of Nashua, a certified public accountant from the area and a local insurance agency.

"Once things get underway in Concord, there isn't really an opportunity to sit down with legislators and talk about these important matters, and business leaders are sometimes removed from the debate," said Williams.

"I am a political junkie at heart, and this is one of my favorite events each year that I host."

In the past, about 120 people have attended the symposium, which is open to the public and followed by an informal reception.

The symposium was originally designed to be held every other year, but because of positive feedback from legislators and business owners, Williams decided to organize the event annually.

It is even more important this year because Nashua's legislative makeup has been turned upside down, said Williams, adding there are many new faces in the delegation. Nashua's delegation, which has been predominantly Republican for the past two years, now has 23 Democratic members of the House of Representatives and just three Republicans - a similar ratio that existed in 2008.

A total of 16 incumbents were ousted from their seats in the Nashua delegation.

Tickets to the symposium, which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 7, at the Crowne Plaza, are available for $30 for chamber members, and $40 for non-members.

There is complimentary admission for legislators.

To reserve a seat, call Nicole Power at 881-8333, or email her at NPower@nashuachamber.com

khoughton@newstote.com



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