Kansas Chamber president Alan Cobb stopped in Pratt on Thursday to talk about the state organization's mission to represent all businesses large and small in legislative issues.
When Kansas Chamber president Alan Cobb drives from Wichita towards Pratt and other westward destinations, he remembers his connections to Kansas farmers and this part of the state. Though he spends the majority of his time on the job in Topeka working to improve the economic climate for the benefit of Kansas businesses large and small, it is his small- town connections that help him keep his priorities straight.
"I used to work in the grain elevators at Bushton and Frederick summers when I was in high school and college," Cobb said Thursday when he stopped in Pratt for a brief visit. "I think of those days when I am driving out here and I see the combines headed south for harvest. A part of me always wants to go with those custom harvesters."
A part of Cobb has also been involved in Miss Kansas events in Pratt through the years, as he is a brother to former Miss Kansas Nancy Cobb Kistner, who lives in Haviland.
"Pratt is a special place to me," Cobb said. "I've been here many times before. It's small towns like this we work hard to support, because every tax bill that gets passed in Topeka will affect individuals and big and small business in places like Pratt, Bushton and all across the state. We have to do better in legislating the bread and butter issues that affect everyone."
As president of the Kansas Chamber, Cobb takes it personal when misinformation is used to sway legislative leadership in Topeka.
"I'll be honest," he said. "It's a challenge working with Governor Kelly so far. I don't see her fulfilling her promises of being a bridge builder and passing a tax bill that makes sense for the people of Kansas. Her recent veto of the proposed tax bill based on her expressed desire not to go back to Brownback politics just didn't make sense."
Cobb said his job in Topeka was to help clarify policy in the capital building and to support candidates, based on their voting records, who were working to promote business and investment in the Kansas economy. Both large and small businesses remain the center of focus for Kansas Chamber members as they strive to remove barriers of growth and economic strength.
"We continuously lead efforts to pass pro-business legislation by drafting language, building coalitions, testifying on each bill, engaging in direct lobbying and working to pass the right bills that benefit all Kansans," he said.
Cobb said he was in Pratt to visit with several business leaders, listen to their input about policies and issues at the statehouse in Topeka and secure support from Chamber members. He came from a meeting earlier in the day in Garden City where his mission was the same, to make connections with real people with real issues and a desire to make Kansas a thriving business economic environment for the benefit of all.