With Political Changes, Big Opportunity for Business

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From redistricting, term limits and demographic shifts to a wave of legislative retirements, California’s political landscape will undergo sweeping changes during what promises to be a historically busy 2022 election season. How it all plays out will have significant impacts for the state’s business environment and economic recovery. That’s why Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman traveled to Southern California this week for the ninth annual Political Forecast event hosted by the powerful Los Angeles County Business Federation “BizFed,” a massive grassroots alliance of business networks that unites more than 215 chambers of commerce, trade associations, minority business groups, economic development organizations and business improvement districts to advocate for job creation and the overall health of the economy. BizFed members represent 410,000 employers with more than 5 million employees across LA County, representing a broad range of business sectors and perspectives. Political Forecast 2021 featured three panels of speakers with equally diverse perspectives:

  • Darry Sragow, Publisher, California Target Book
  • Ace Smith, Partner, Bearstar Strategies
  • Courtni Pugh, Partner, Hilltop Public Solutions and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s political director against the recall 
  • Joe Mathews, Editor of Zócalo Public Square
  • Carolyn Williams, Co-Chair of the LA County Citizens Redistricting Commission
  • Frank Cárdenas, Executive Director of the LA City Council Redistricting Commission
  • Ellie Hockenbury, Deputy Executive Director and Communications Director, CA Republican Party
  • Ajay Mohan, Executive Director, Orange County Democratic Party
  • Robb Korinke, Principal, GrassrootsLab

The Bay Area Council and BizFed share many of the same priorities, including adding affordable housing, reducing homelessness, improving California’s business climate, tackling economic inequity, expanding connectivity and building climate resilience. The political changes afoot in the coming years offer an opportunity for groups like the Council and BizFed to play a bigger and more influential role in advancing sensible solutions and holding political leaders accountable for making progress. But only if we work together, something that hasn’t been a strong suit for the statewide business community over the years. During the event, Wunderman met with top business leaders including BizFed Founding CEO Tracy Hernandez, who has mobilized the Southern California business community to organize and unite since launching BizFed in 2008.

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