Chamber getting the business

by Walter Pierce

Granger firm outraged by chamber PAC's endorsement of Perry in Senate 26 race. More heat is being applied to the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce following an endorsement by the chamber's political action committee of state Rep. Jonathan Perry in the state Senate District 26 election Saturday. Perry, a Republican in his first term in the state House, is facing Democrat Nathan Granger, a businessman and member of the Vermilion Parish Police Jury.

In an email obtained by The Ind, Jody Broussard, a senior vice president at Granger's business, Quality Companies, gives the chamber the business:
Dear Sirs:

Yesterday, we were notified of Empower PAC's recommendation to endorse Jonathan Perry over local businessman and one of our principals, Nathan Granger, in the upcoming election for the Louisiana Senate Seat District 26. ...we truly find this endorsement offensive, not only to Quality Companies, but to the Lafayette business community as a whole.

Nathan Granger and Troy Collins founded Quality Construction & Production, LLC in Lafayette in 2001. What began as a very small business with a shoestring budget has blossomed into one of Acadiana's top 50 privately held companies in both 2009 and 2010, employing nearly 500 Louisiana residents on a regular basis. QCP has also been recognized nationally in magazines such as Entrepreneur and Construction Today for its success and growth. These articles not only shine a bright light on QCP; they also highlight the business environment in Lafayette. QCP has always been active in the community through its numerous charitable works. Based upon the information below pulled straight from the chamber's website, it would seem that Mr. Nathan Granger lives the creed promoted by the chamber, while the chamber does not!

"At the heart of the local economy and the backbone of the nation's economy, you'll find a chamber of commerce. Celebrating and promoting the diversity and uniqueness of their communities, chambers of commerce form the fabric of America.

Chambers are the primary source for businesses and individuals seeking information on the business climate in a community. Representing the vocal point for businesses, chambers often are the catalyst for business opinions and represent business needs in the community. As the collective voice, chambers speak from a much broader economic framework than individual businesses or politicians ever could.

The work of local chambers of commerce is vital to the community's business life. Chambers provide bottom line programs for businesses large and small. They fight for pro-business legislation and form public and private alliances. With the support of chambers, small businesses open their doors ... prosper ... and grow."
How can the Chamber claim to help small businesses "open their doors ... prosper ... and grow," and not support a Lafayette small businessman in an election against an attorney with no connection to Lafayette? The Empower PAC's press release outlining its rationale for supporting Perry over Mr. Granger is laughable. It notes Mr. Perry's 91 percent voting record with the chamber during last year's legislative session while completely ignoring Mr. Perry's 70s percentile ratings in the two sessions preceding last year's. It also points to Perry's stances on education and regionalism issues, but fails to provide any details regarding those stances. Given that Mr. Granger's wife is a teacher, and Mr. Granger's education and experience are primarily in business (Mr. Granger earned an MBA from USL), I truly doubt Mr. Perry's stances on education and regionalism are more in line with business interests than Nathan's!

We would like to invite the chamber's political arm to reconsider its endorsement of Mr. Perry over Nathan Granger. Should the chamber and its political arm continue with its endorsement of Mr. Perry, it will alienate QCP and our family of companies.

We would appreciate your kind response to this correspondence by close of business tomorrow.

Jody Broussard
Senior Vice President
Quality Companies