Cathie Roemmich wants to “put Alaska at the table,” when it comes to discussing national issues. She was given the perfect opportunity this week to do just that.
Juneau Chamber of Commerce CEO Roemmich was recently selected for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100, a group of local and state chamber CEOs from across the country that advises the U.S. Chamber’s board of directors. Roemmich is one of 11 new additions to the committee.
She said she was approached by U.S. Chamber leaders to be part of the committee before and after she graduated from the chamber’s Institute of Organizational Management. She was honored to be asked, she said, but she wasn’t sure she was up for it.
“At first I was hesitant; I knew it was more responsibility as far as travel,” Roemmich said. “But then I did more research about how important it would be for us to sit at that table.”
Alaska needs more of a voice when it comes to business and economic matters, she said. And because Alaska only has three representatives in Washington, D.C., every single advocate for the state helps, she said.
“You need to be at those tables, especially if you disagree with what they’re doing,” Roemmich said. “To be able to put our issues out there first hand is quite an opportunity.”
She said she plans to focus on natural resources, fishing, mining, tourism and small business while sitting on the committee. She also wants to advocate for environmentally responsible development, she said.
“As Alaskans, we care more than anybody about our environment,” Roemmich said. “We have to be able to responsibly develop, because that’s all we have.”
As a part of the Committee of 100, Roemmich will travel to two committee meetings per year. The meeting location changes each time, so the committee meets all over the country, she said. She’s excited to head to Washington, D.C., for her orientation on Sept. 21.
“I’ve never been to Washington, D.C.,” Roemmich said. “Always wanted to go, so it’s a big deal for me.”
Roemmich has been with the Juneau Chamber of Commerce for eight years. She said when she started she didn’t know exactly what she was getting into, but she “instantly fell in love with the job I get to do.” Since Roemmich started heading up the Juneau chamber, the state chamber has named it Outstanding Chamber of the Year twice.
She said she’s excited to represent Alaska’s business interests and “get our message out there.” All personal honors aside, that’s the most important part, she said.
“Chambers from all over the U.S. stand in line to be on this committee,” she said. “It’s a darn big deal.”
• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (907)523-2294. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/katecmoritz.