Underwood Fights for More Support for Small Businesses, Works to Ensure Supporting Organizations Including Local Chambers of Commerce, Trade Associations, and Farm Bureaus Receive Relief Funding

April 16, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON— Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) continued her fight to get funding for Illinois small businesses affected by the coronavirus by pushing for additional relief for organizations that support small businessesIn the letter to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy, Underwood advocated for the community networks that northern Illinois small businesses rely on. In addition to expandindirect funding for small businesses, Underwood urged House Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy to make resources available to local chambers of commerce, trade associations, farm bureaus, and other community organizations that play an important role in Illinois’s economy 

As this pandemic has unfolded, our local chambers of commerce have been working tirelessly to support the small businesses they serve and help them survive this crisis. Trade associations have been integral to maintaining supply chains and sharing best practices for conducting essential business while minimizing risk to employees and customers. And our farm bureaus are a critical resource for the small farms that feed America’s families,” Underwood wrote.  

“Small businesses are the backbone of our community. We need to help them through this crisis with adequate funding and resources—that includes ensuring these supporting organizations can stay afloat at the very moment when they are most needed,” Underwood said. 

Full text of the letter can be found here.

Local officials and business leaders from the 14th District are in support of Underwood’s work to bring additional relief for the community networks. 

“As the President & CEO of the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, we are in the battlefield daily within our community to guide and navigate our business community through this journey, together; however, our funding is based on membership dues, sponsorships and events and given the current environment,  payment of membership dues has significantly declined and the ability to host events, which creates sponsorship opportunities, has come to a complete halt. To that end, without revenue coming into the Chamber, we will only be able to sustain our organization so long.  We are beyond busy right now, as you can imagine, to support our business community, however, we had to temporarily furlough most of our staff, since our revenue has significantly declined,” said James J. Di Ciaula, President & CEO of St. Charles Chamber of Commerce. 

 "Grain producers in the 14th district are coming out of the 2019 crop year having been set back by tariffs that have cost market share and a devastating crop growing season. Now the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the market and collapsed the oil market causing ethanol production to be stagnated. The livestock industry has been hard hit by loss of exports and production plants closed due to infection of workers at the plants causing hogs and cattle to lose value and our dairy producers are especially hard hit with loss of market, and value leading to milked being dumped on to fields with no place to go. The need is there as many organizations have been affected by the pandemic. We would welcome any relief that could involve the county farm bureaus in the 14th congressional district including Dekalb, Kane, Lake, and McHenry counties. We are thankful for the work of Congresswoman Underwood in these trying times," said Mark Tuttle, DeKalb County President and District 1 Illinois Farm Bureau Director.