Changing Chairs (Without the Music) in the Senate

Washington insiders and business interests in several industries are keeping a close eye on what happens as a result of last month’s death of longtime Massachusetts senator Edward Kennedy. The question is who will be the new permanent chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut), who guided health care overhaul legislation through HELP as acting chairman, must decide whether to remain as head of the Banking Committee or make the move to HELP. He cannot serve as chair for both.

Bankers are apparently hoping Dodd makes the latter choice. They say Dodd has taken a hardline approach against their industry in an effort to boost his sagging poll numbers as he approaches re-election. If Dodd moves on, Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) would likely be offered the Banking Committee chairmanship. Johnson would be expected to be a more moderate influence on the panel.

An outside possibility has Iowa’s Tom Harkin giving up leadership of the Agriculture Committee to take over HELP.

Stay tuned. Decisions should be made soon.

Helping Members Get the Word Out: Chamber Launches Communications Help

Who knew media lists, press release templates and the like would be so popular?

The Indiana Chamber unveiled a members-only Communications/PR Resource Center on Monday. The reason: provide some basic assistance to those looking to successfully communicate their message.

We’re certainly not replacing your public relations, communications or marketing firm. But in addition to media contact information and advice on forming press announcements, the service offers:

  • tips for effective e-newsletters and starting a blog
  • style guidelines for written communications
  • a communications helpline

A handful of members responded in quick fashion — one indicating it was the best news received on this Monday — with strong interest. And that’s the goal of many Chamber benefits — do what we can to help you do business better.