Sedona Chamber of Commerce Supports the Tradition of Candidate Forums



July 1, 2022


Patriotic holidays pop up throughout the year, but the one that brings the most joy is the Fourth of July – Independence Day. On that day in 1776,  thirteen English colonies, acting as the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, approved a declaration asserting their sovereignty and independence from England. The Declaration of Independence soon led to the Revolutionary War, the forming of the Constitution and ultimately the United States of America, a free nation the likes of which the world had never seen. Phrases now embedded in the American consciousness ring out from the document: “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” “all men are created equal,”  and that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.”


Eighty-seven years later, Lincoln cited the Declaration at Gettysburg in the first line of his most famous speech. Using birth metaphors to express the newness of the idea, he described the Fourth as the moment “our forefathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty…”


Today, few of us can imagine living any other way. That’s one reason we at the Chamber wholeheartedly support the tradition of candidate forums, one of the purest expressions of (Gettysburg again) “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”


On June 26, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Northern Arizona, we co-sponsored a forum for Sedona City Council candidates at the Sedona Performing Arts Center. Moderated by the League, the format included written questions from citizen attendees.


On Wednesday, July 6, we’re doing it again, this time with candidates for Mayor, also at the Performing Arts Center from 5:30 to 7 p.m. When you think of the local issues you care about – from transportation to recycling – chances are city government has an impact. So take this opportunity to question the candidates and make an informed decision that reflects your opinion. The future of Sedona depends on your involvement.


We are hearing from our members that the usual summer slowdown is hitting Sedona businesses harder than expected. Post Memorial Day activity has slowed, and many of your business-owning neighbors are anxious about the rest of the summer. I hope you will make it a point to spend your shopping dollars in Sedona and help local businesses stay open. Sedona’s small businesses provide jobs and support for thousands of local households, not to mention collecting and remitting the sales taxes that pay for the public services we all use. When they are hurting, we are all hurting.


The past two years are not a good reference point for Sedona tourism. COVID created “artificial demand”, as volumes of people amassed at many of the nation’s outdoor-oriented destinations, Sedona included. This is one of the main factors that contributed to our higher visitation levels the past two years. Now, with other domestic and international destinations vying for the travel dollar, we are seeing a slow down due to increased competition. Add to that high gas prices and a possible reluctance to road trip, you can start to understand why Sedona is slumping. It is certain that when visitation slows, the 71% of Chamber businesses that rely on tourism feel the effects very quickly.


To that end, please support our local merchants this weekend and this summer. Being the incredible community that we are, we need to work together and sustain each other. Thank you in advance for shopping local and patronizing our businesses.


Finally, some holiday trivia: Thomas Jefferson, the author and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, had a broad range of interests, including being a bit of a weather nerd. On July 4, 1776, he somehow found time to buy a thermometer from a Philadelphia merchant. A sophisticated scientific instrument back then, it sold for the equivalent of $300 today. Jefferson compulsively kept notes of daily weather, and with his newest thermometer (he had 20), he recorded a 1 p.m. temperature on the Fourth of July of …wait for it….76!


I hope you enjoy a fabulous Fourth!

Michelle Conway, President/CEO
Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau