IN OUR NATION'S CAPITAL. More than 200 business, civic and community leaders from across Southern California joined together this week to urge federal legislators to rev "America's Recovery Engine." Southern California on the Hill - Access Washington, D.C. is hosted by a collaboration of nearly 20 Southern California business advocacy organizations. Above, members of the delegation in front of the capitol Tuesday. (View Photo Gallery)
Elected officials kick off annual trip to Washington, D.C.
Policies that foster job creation and stimulate business growth were a key focus of this year’s trip. During the four-day visit, the delegation met with more than 100 members of Congress and Obama Administration officials. “With the recent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, it is more important than ever for me and my colleagues to hear from Southern California business on the issues impacting growth and employment," said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). Above, Rep. Roybal-Allard, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Rep. David Drier (R-CA).
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein meets with entire delegation
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein discussed the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “This is an unprecedented time of jeopardy and is an unprecedented time of opportunity,” she said. Feinstein also discussed the water crisis in California and gave a call to action to business leaders to get engaged in this important issue. Above, Chamber President & CEO Gary Toebben with Feinstein.
Chamber meets with U.S. Secretary of Labor Solis
The Chamber, along with Mayor Villaraigosa, members of the L.A. City Council, and education and workforce leaders met with U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. One group — including the Mayor, UTLA President A.J. Duffy and Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines and Board President Mónica García — asked Secretary Duncan for his assistance in maximizing amount of stimulus funds that reach L.A. students. A second group discussed the Workforce Investment Act and job training programs in Los Angeles with Secretary Solis, who commended the Chamber for its leadership in creating a model the rest of the nation can follow. Above, Chamber VP of Education & Workforce Development David Rattray, Secretary Solis and LAUSD Board President García.
Water team discusses water crisis with legislators
The Water team met with members of Congress on California's water crisis and the restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta during a briefing hosted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. "Government, the legislature and all parties with a stake in the Delta have to sit down at the table and set up a time frame for a solution," said Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA). "Until then, we are only focusing on our own bits and pieces of the problem." Representatives Dan Lundgren (R-CA), Ed Royce (R-CA), Laura Richardson (D-CA) and former Rep. William Gray (D-PA) were also present. Above, Chamber Board Member Ron Gastelum, Cordoba Corporation; Chamber Board Chair Fran Inman, Majestic Realty Co.; and Chamber Board Member Gilbert Ivey, Metropolitan Water District, take a bite out of D.C. by eating cupcakes baked by Napolitano.
Business team talks about card check with Rep. Sestak
The Business team met with Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) to express opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, referred to as “card check,” which was introduced in both chambers this week. Sestak, who supports the legislation, described it as, "one of the hardest issues I've had.” The group also discussed the federal government's stimulus package with Sestak, who admitted that lawmakers have moved slowly, but promised to "find the surest, quickest way out" of the current economic crisis.
Global Initiatives team focuses on trade opportunities and FTAs
The Global Initiatives team discussed exporting opportunities of California firms in Latin America with U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service Acting Director General Rochelle Lipsitz and Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Operations William Zarit. The team also met with U.S. Commercial Service Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Walter Bastian and Regional Director for the Western Hemisphere Brian Brisson. Facilitating exports is more than just promotion of companies, Brisson said. The Chamber is working to train exporters in matters related to the actual mechanics of exporting. The group also discussed pending Free Trade Agreements to Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
Transportation team asks for goods movement funding
The Transportation team met with Joel Szabat, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy in the U.S. Department of Transportation, who spoke about the Administration's commitment to distributing stimulus money for transportation. Szabat described California as a poster child for high-speed rail. The team asked that there be a funding source for goods movement and asked for openness to new and creative funding for transportation.