Last week our Chamber team, together with 130 business and community leaders from San Diego and Baja, were in our nation’s capital to advocate for jobs, commerce, and the regional economy as part of our annual “Mission to Washington, D.C.” trip.
Our delegation included local elected officials, policy experts, and business leaders from both sides of the border representing various industries and interests that are vital to our region’s economy. From education to energy, healthcare, trade and veterans, each delegate played an important role in ensuring our nation’s decision makers understand the issues facing our binational region.
Right now, each federal executive department is transitioning for the next administration – this includes preparing a set of policy recommendations which will guide the decisions of our next Commander-in-Chief. The meetings were an opportunity to provide input on the recommendations.
Because San Diego is so far from Washington, it’s not easy for us to have a presence there which can lead to the needs of our region getting overlooked. That is why this trip is so critically important. It gives us the opportunity to join together with a unified voice and meet with our nation’s leaders so they can better understand the policy decisions that will allow our region to thrive, regardless of who becomes our next President.
A few highlights from our work on the Hill:
- Continuing our advocacy efforts to amend the federal funding formula for homelessness, delegates met with the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). We’ve been successful in convincing HUD to consider updating this formula, thanks in part to the great support from Congressman Scott Peters, and this meeting gave us the opportunity to push the department to adopt changes before this administration’s end.
- Thanks in large part to CONNECT, delegates met with the Department of Transportation and received an inside look at the future of autonomous vehicles while discussing strategies for businesses to stay ahead of regulations.
- In a meeting led by Supervisor Ron Roberts and SANDAG, we also had the opportunity to update and thank Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez for their $1 billion investment into the Mid-Coast Trolley Extension and $59 million of grant funding awarded for SR-11.
- One of our newest Chamber members, Baja California Railroad, met with several executive departments – including the Department of Commerce, Department of State, and Department of Homeland Security – and was able to both educate and garner support for their new binational railway.
- The US Trade Representative’s Office praised San Diego for being a leader on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and one of the first chambers to express support. We will continue our efforts to ensure TPP is passed before the end of President Obama’s administration.
- San Diego will be the first city to participate in Hidden Heroes, a new initiative from Senator Elizabeth Dole which will provide resources for military caregivers and spouses.
- The Department of Education agreed to prioritize the year-round Pell grant, which is a top concern for the Chamber’s Education & Workforce Development Committee.
- Delegates met with the Mexican Ambassador to the United States to hear Mexico’s perspective of the presidential campaign and its impact on relations between the two countries. As a result of the meeting, Jerry Sanders and Mayor Faulconer will support the ambassador with his national campaign to promote positive business relations between Mexico and the United States.
- Thanks to one of our delegation sponsors, Dentons, Chamber delegates also met with campaign strategists and legislative experts to receive a comprehensive look at the 2016 election in the age of big data and technology.
Thank you for your continued support of the Chamber and the work we do to advance our region. For more policy updates, be sure to sign up for our Policy Update newsletter.
A hearty thanks goes to the following sponsors who made this trip possible:
For a complete list of photos, be sure to check out our #SDinDC hashtag on Twitter.
— Bill Trumpfheller (@trumpyski) September 25, 2016
— Peter Callstrom (@PeterACallstrom) September 26, 2016
— David Alvarez (@AlvarezSD) September 26, 2016
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) September 26, 2016
— 211jo (@211jo) September 26, 2016
— Sophie Barnhorst (@SophieBarnhorst) September 27, 2016
— Jill Nguyen (@GJNguyen) September 26, 2016