Delegates on the Bay Area Council’s annual Sacramento Advocacy Day trip on Wednesday got the ear of the Governor and top Legislative leaders during an afternoon of substantive, face-to-face meetings focused on the Council’s highest priority issues. This annual trip is extremely important to advancing the Council’s policy priorities, nurturing relationships among Council members and with our state’s top decision makers and gaining valuable insight into California’s complex political process.
Gathered in the Horseshoe at the Capitol, Council members shared their issues directly with Governor Brown and Legislative leaders. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, introduced by Andrew Giacomini, Co-Chair of the Council’s Government Relations Committee and Managing Partner of Hanson Bridgett, led off the afternoon with discussions about high speed rail and the California Environmental Quality Act, both among the Council’s top priorities this year. Michael Covarrubias, Chair of the Council’s CEQA Committee and Chairman and CEO of TMG Partners, talked about the importance of CEQA reform in improving California’s business climate. Michael Rossi, the Governor’s senior jobs advisor and a member of the California High Speed Rail Authority, also focused on high speed rail (see related item below) and foreign trade. The Council has been working closely with Mr. Rossi in recent months to provide support for the Governor’s plans to open a California trade office in China, where the Council operates an office in Shanghai.
The Governor joined the discussion on high speed rail, whose fate will be decided by the state Legislature in the coming weeks, and expressed his enthusiasm for growing California’s foreign trade. Gov. Brown also spoke about his 12-point pension reform plan and discussed the tax measure he is working to get on the November ballot. After a lively discussion with the Governor, Council Chair Janet Lamkin introduced Nancy McFadden, Executive Secretary to the Governor, who outlined the Governor’s priorities for the coming year. Again, two of the issues — CEQA reform and pension reform – are aligned with the Council’s priorities. Tom Torlakson, Superintendent of Public Instruction, talked about his optimism for improving education quality in California. Anne Stausboll, CEO of CalPERS, was less optimistic in her briefing on the fiscal challenges currently facing the nation’s largest public pension fund. Jim Bourgart from Council member Parson Brinckerhoff introduced Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, who commented generally on the state’s often-maligned business climate and its negative impact on economic growth. Caroline Rodman of Council member T.Y. Lin introduced Sen. Mark Leno, chair of the powerful Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, who shared his ideas on addressing the state’s fiscal problems.
Council delegates closed out the day with a reception and dinner at Ella Dining Room & Bar with many members of the Bay Area Legislative Caucus. The group was also treated to a surprise dinner guest when Governor Brown stopped by, taking time to sit and talk with members at almost every table. The Council extends its heartiest thanks to sponsors T.Y. Lin, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Blue Shield of California for making this important visit happen. For information on how to get involved in the Bay Area Council Government Relations Committee, please contact Matt Regan at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 415-946-8710.