The Mayfield/Graves County Chamber of Commerce was recently recognized by statewide leadership for its work to communicate important local issues to legislators in Frankfort and its 2019 dinner that recognized local farmers and agricultural businesses.
After being nominated in various categories for the 2020 Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives (KCCE) Excellence Awards, the local chamber earned an Excellence in Advocacy award for the community’s 2019 legislative agenda, and then took the Special Event award for its Farm to Table Dinner.
“They’re definitely something to strive for to get that state recognition for the work we do,” said Denise Thompson, president and CEO for the Mayfield/Graves County Chamber of Commerce.
Awards are presented in five categories based on annual dues income. Mayfield/Graves was awarded in Group 3, which represents annual dues income between $150,001 and $250,000.
Mayfield/Graves was one of only two winners in the Excellence in Advocacy category. The Christian County Chamber of Commerce was nominated and won in Group 5 (annual income dues more than $650,001) for its policy advisory committee.
Thompson explained the 2019 legislative agenda outlined areas where local leaders would work with Frankfort officials, such as transportation, tax and pension reform, and restaurant and local option sales taxes. She added that their legislative agenda was even included during a KCCE conference session on advocacy efforts.
“What works for ours is it really is the whole process. We’re communicating with other community leaders — tourism, the city, county and economic development,” Thompson explained. “We’re all getting together to decide on those agenda items as a community, so when we go to Frankfort they know this is something our entire community wants and it’s not a pet project for one organization or one person or business.”
The agenda items, as well as other local chamber information, are presented to legislators and when the General Assembly is in session, the chamber helps gather local officials to go to Frankfort to meet state leaders face to face.
“We go over the agenda items and it helps to give us feedback,” Thompson said.
The annual Farm to Table event had been a breakfast function, but switched to a dinner in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a 2020 Farm to Table was not held. Still, Thompson said the event and recognition is a testament to the local agricultural community.
“We’re really proud of that award,” she said. “I think we’re fortunate to have such a supportive agricultural community in Graves County. We have a lot of people who help us put on the event and help us with new ideas each year to make it a little more special every year.”
Other Special Event awards were presented to the Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce for a 2019 Bourbon Chase Community Host, the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce Shop Small Saturday event, the Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Luncheon, and the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce EmpowerHer Conference.