contentsNebraska Chamberads

History and Mission of the Nebraska Chamber

The State Chamber’s history dates back to Nov. 14-15, 1912, where a meeting of business executives in the former Rome Hotel in Omaha founded the Nebraska Manufacturers Association. In 1937, the membership was broadened and the organization’s name was changed to Associated Industries of Nebraska (AIN). In 1960, the association helped organize the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce. Six years later, the two groups merged to become the Nebraska Association of Commerce & Industry (NACI).

The NACI acronym was used for more than 20 years. At the organization’s 76th annual meeting, held in February of 1988, members ratified the name change to the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry. This helped clarify that the organization was clearly Nebraska’s state chamber of commerce, while also upholding the organization’s roots and strong ties to the manufacturing sector.

Today, the Nebraska Chamber represents thousands of corporate members statewide, with businesses of every variety and size as members. The State Chamber also has more than 60 local chambers of commerce as members, along with more than 75 state-level trade and professional associations.

Located just a half-block from the historic Nebraska State Capitol, the State Chamber’s professional staff works effectively with Nebraska lawmakers, as well as state agencies, on issues affecting business.

What we do best
A recent membership survey revealed that the Nebraska Chamber’s legislative activity and updates were very important to 90 percent of the members. Other surveys of State Chamber members found that:

• More than 97 percent agreed the Nebraska Chamber is effective in representing the state’s business community.

• More than 98 percent agreed the Nebraska Chamber communicates effectively and informs members about state and federal issues that could impact the private sector.

When the Nebraska Legislature is in session, the State Chamber’s primary focus is on representing the business community on major issues before the Unicameral. Four registered lobbyists lead the organization’s efforts to educate and inform state lawmakers regarding business interests on key legislation.

The State Chamber keeps its members regularly informed on legislative activities and bills that could affect the business community. State Chamber members receive a weekly legislative report – a thorough summary on major bills of interest and recent activity in the legislature. The State Chamber’s weekly legislative service contains specific information on crucial votes, the status on bills before the legislature, upcoming hearing dates and other pertinent information.

The State Chamber also keeps its members up-to-date through its popular News Update (sent electronically to all members), as well as with electronic alerts on key votes and issues in the Unicameral. The Chamber continuously looks for timely and cost-effective methods to keep its members well informed on the latest developments and to help them stay in touch with elected leaders.
The Nebraska Chamber’s Public Affairs Council, comprised of registered lobbyists of member companies and associations, meets every week during sessions to coordinate activity and share information vital to the business community. Local chambers of commerce subscribe to the State Chamber’s conference calls during the legislative session. The State Chamber Annual Meeting, held in the early weeks of the legislative session, allows members to discuss their priorities with the state’s important decision makers.

After state lawmakers conclude their session, Nebraska Chamber members receive a complete summary of the session, a voting record examining key votes of all state senators, and information regarding important ongoing issues.

Every autumn, the State Chamber coordinates a series of legislative forums with approximately 30 local chambers of commerce across Nebraska. State senators and legislative candidates are invited to participate in these forums. In addition to updating chamber members on legislative issues, the Nebraska Chamber staff conducts a survey of business leaders.

The State Chamber’s activities are not limited only to the Nebraska Legislature. The staff is in close contact with Nebraska’s federal delegation and their aides. Every spring, the Nebraska Chamber conducts a Washington, D.C., Fly-In, in which any State Chamber may participate. Moreover, in recent years, the Nebraska Chamber has partnered with the Lincoln and Omaha chambers to host the popular Federal Legislative Summit held at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum near Ashland.

Member Participation
The State Chamber’s long history of accomplishments is due to the interest and participation of its members. Either by serving on the Nebraska Chamber’s Board of Directors, or one of the Chamber’s 12 policy councils, or utilizing Chamber-sponsored events, seminars or publications, member participation is a hallmark of our organization.

In a recent survey, 98 percent of the members said they would recommend joining the State Chamber to a non-member business.

State Chamber policy councils meet to develop policies on issues affecting Nebraska businesses. The State Chamber Political Action Committee allows members to visit with legislative candidates and determine whom the PAC should endorse. Growth of the State Chamber-PAC and success in elections has helped the State Chamber take a leadership role in state politics – focusing on recruitment and support of business-friendly candidates, while helping energize the employees of Nebraska businesses to vote.

In addition to participating in the State Chamber Annual Meeting and its legislative forums held statewide, Chamber members can take part in federal congressional events, special workshops, and international business development visits.

previous topic
next topic
Town Square Publications