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Congressman Trone, Maryland and Washington Business Leaders Discuss Bipartisan Solutions Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

April 29th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Today, Congressman David Trone (D-MD) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) announced they were joined yesterday by members of the Maryland and Washington business communities to discuss challenges and solutions for businesses across the country during the COVID-19 outbreak. 


The event was organized as a part of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s American Congressional Exchange program, in which Members of different parties spend time in the other’s Congressional district. In October of 2019, Rep. Trone visited Rep. McMorris Rodgers in Eastern Washington, where they met with local leaders and business owners to discuss how they can work together to pass bipartisan solutions in Congress. Following the trip, the duo partnered on issues like broadband and tackling the opioid epidemic across the nation. Just last week, they introduced the bipartisan Girls Leadership, Engagement, and Development (LEAD) Act to promote girls’ leadership and participation in civic and political processes through U.S. foreign assistance.


“During the COVID-19 outbreak, working across the aisle is more important than it has ever been before,” said Rep. Trone. “Building off of our relationship that we started last year during my visit to Washington state, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and I were able to hear directly from local businesses across the country today and see what we can do to make things better. I want to thank the Bipartisan Policy Center for bringing these important groups together and showing the value of working together during these unprecedented times.”


The call was led by Jason Gromet, founder and president of the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and featured opening remarks by Reps. McMorris Rodgers and Trone. The group of leaders then held a conversation with members of the business community where they discussed access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for businesses, broadband access, and various roadblocks some have had when trying to access loans from the Small Business Administration. They also discussed best practices for COVID-19 communication and how to incorporate the education community into further relief passed by Congress. 


The Members were joined by individuals from the Maryland and Washington business communities:



  • Jennifer Walsh, Executive Director of The Greater Cumberland Committee
  • Ms. Timi Hadra, Partner, IBM
  • Jim Kercheval, Executive Director of the Greater Hagerstown Committee
  • Rick Weldon, President and CEO – Frederick County Chamber of Commerce
  • Dr. Andrea Chapdelaine, President, Hood College
  • Gigi Godwin, President and CEO – Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
  • Leslie Ford Weber, Board Chair – Montgomery County Chamber of Comm, SVP, Government and Community Relations, Johns Hopkins University



  • Christa McDonald, President, Colville Chamber of Commerce
  • Doug Kyle, COC V.P.; Rosemary Shaw, Director, Colville Together
  • Alisha Benson, CEO, Greater Spokane Inc.
  • Cara Coon, V.P., Communications & Public Affairs; Michelle Hege, Board Chair, President/CEO, DH Communications Strategies
  • Kristin Kemak, Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce 
  • Matt Van Vleet, Van Vleet and Associates, public affairs firm
  • Kyle Tarbet, President/CEO, Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce 
  • Bill Clemens, Regional Community Manager, Pacific Power

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