Stephen D. Haner, a newspaperman-turned-political operative-turned-lobbyist, is leaving the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to open his own public-affairs shop.
Haner, 50, steps down July 31 as the organization’s vice president for public policy to “establish a consulting firm to represent clients on state government affairs and public-relations projects,” the chamber said in a written statement yesterday.
“It goes without saying he will be missed,” Hugh D. Keogh, the chamber of commerce’s president and chief executive officer.

Don’t bet on it. There are plenty of moderate Republican businessmen who think Haner’s stewardship was a disaster for the Chamber, which is why other ad hoc groups have been forming to push for a more responsible approach to state spending.