Regional Chamber Releases Polling - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Regional Chamber Releases Polling

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The Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership used new polling technology at its annual meeting this fall and they're just now releasing the data.

With just a click of a keypad, a key person from each member organization represented was able to cast a vote and bar graphs of the results could be seen immediately on big screens. At the meeting 121 people were voting.

People could vote their minds anonymously without any repercussions, something chamber president Barbara Chaffee says is important in a city the size of Erie.  "It helps to have that gut reaction of what each individual feels," said Chaffee. She's pleased they can vote how they really feel on an issued without fear of losing or offending clients.

Here are a couple of outcomes:

70% of those polled favor making Pennsylvania a "Right to Work" state.

But almost 60% also favor raising the minimum wage from its current $7.25 an hour, although not as high as the $15 an hour currently the focus of a national lobbying effort.

When asked if all 13 Erie County school districts should merge into one big district as is the case in Miami Dade County, Florida, 51.3% said yes, 33.3% said no, 15.3% were unsure.

After listening to a presentation from Dr. Jay Badams, Superintendent of Erie's Public Schools, 90.2% of those polled said they favor investing up to 300 million dollars over 8 - 10 years to renovate and "right-size" the district's buildings, provided those funds can be leveraged without raising taxes.  They also supported the most aggressive of the three long range plans under consideration by the school board.

The polling even found 69.9% said they support the legalization of medicinal marijuana in Pennsylvania, 26.5% said no, 3.5% were undecided. 

The chamber represents 10 segments of the community from manufacturing and health care to education, non profits and professional services, with those in professional services the largest group represented in the polling.  Of those polled, 66% are men, 33% are women, and most responding fall in the 35 to 59 year old age range.

The questions also examined ideas such as merging the region's transportation related authorities to save on administrative costs, and asked questions about the Affordable Care Act.  The data gathered may drive change in the local area, and according to Chaffee, information can and will be shared with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Great Lakes Metro Chamber. 

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