News & Updates

Mission to Washington D.C. 2017 Recap

Regular communication with our leaders at the local, state and national level is critical to making San Diego the best place to do business in California. Great progress was made during our annual delegation trip to Washington, D.C. which took place September 24 – 27, 2017.

This year’s delegation was the largest, with 163 business leaders, community partners, and public officials from San Diego and Mexico. This included four mayors, nine city council members, representation from both the U.S. and Mexican Consulates, county supervisors and leadership from the California state legislature and the State of Baja. The large delegation produced a diverse representation of industries and interests.

This year we had the unique opportunity of introducing San Diego to a new presidential administration. We met with members of Congress from outside our region and state, which helps inform a broader audience of our issues and strengthens our advocacy efforts.

Over three days more than 40 meetings occurred with a lengthy list of accomplishments and action items, highlights include:

  • Jerry Sanders and Mexican Ambassador Geronimo Gutierrez

    The importance of NAFTA to our regional economy was expressed across various meetings on the cross-border track including with our San Diego Congressional Delegation, Department of Commerce, Mexican Ambassador, and was the topic of a Congressional panel discussion which included Congress members from San Diego, Texas and New Jersey. There is support across the board for keeping NAFTA, which concluded the third round of negotiations on September 27. Invitations to visit the San Diego-Baja region and see first-hand the impact of cross-border trade were extended to all officials we met with on the cross-border track. Sen. Kamala Harris, CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, and representatives from the Department of Commerce agreed to the visit and the Chamber team will be following up to coordinate.

  • Funding for workforce development and higher

    Delegates with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

    education initiatives such as the reauthorization of the Higher EducationAct and expansion of Pell Grants were the top priorities in meetings withSecretary of Education Betsy DeVos and meetings with leadership from the Department of Education and Department of Labor.

  • We continued advocacy for our region’s fair share of The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s homelessness funding formula in meetings with top HUD leadership and Sen. Kamala Harris.

    Meeting with Senator Kamala Harris


  • The Tijuana River Valley pollution issue was discussed in meetings with the EPA, Department of State, Customs and Border Protection, Congress, Ambassador of Mexico, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Significant progress was made in gaining commitments from both federal agencies and legislators to seek funds to remedy the long-standing problem in a coordinated binational effort.
  • Regional water issues, including water recycling, storage, and potable reuse projects, were topics of conversation with the Bureau of Reclamation and EPA.

    Meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein

  • Delegates representing our region’s military interests met with the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Assistant Secretary of Defense, and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. The meetings were well received and productive in covering a range of priorities including the elimination of state income tax on military retired pay, 2018 budget, BRAC, and integration of the F-35 aircraft into MCAS Miramar.


We look forward to continuing the conversations started in Washington and advancing these priorities that are critical to our regional business community. If you’d like to read more about our activities in the nation’s capital, check the trip hashtag #SDinDC on Twitter.

Community Partner of the Month: The Arc of San Diego

What started out as a small association of parents concerned by the lack of resources for their children with disabilities in 1951 has now grown into one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the San Diego region. Services once limited to addressing the needs of children now empower over 2,500 children and adults with disabilities throughout their lifespan to live as vibrant, contributing members of their communities.

From early intervention that assists toddlers in reaching developmental milestones to day programs that connect seniors with their communities through volunteer service, to employment placement support for adults seeking jobs in the community, our programs sustain the important work begun over 65 years ago.

The Arc of San Diego is the largest and most comprehensive providers of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in San Diego County. We continue to be guided by the same sense of purpose as our founding families: to support and empower people with disabilities to achieve their life goals.

We are proud of our rich tradition of developing and implementing innovative, solution-oriented programs that meet the needs of children and adults with a wide-range of intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy. Our programs and services enable people with disabilities to maximize their potential, live meaningful lives, and become integral members of the community.

Whether the goal is to live independently, obtain employment, reach developmental milestones, or access community resources, those we serve have access to over 20 locations in San Diego that provide uplifting environments, essential skills training, ongoing support, and hands-on, community integrated experiences. For more information about our organization visit

Member Spotlight: Interpreters Unlimited

Since 1970, Interpreters Unlimited, Inc. has served the limited-English speaking and Deaf community of San Diego. Our goal is to provide solutions where language is a barrier to communication. With IU, you can provide your clients, patients or students with an interpreter on-site, by telephone, or video to enable communication in their language of choice.

How Our Services Work:

  1. Let us know what type of service you need, the target language, name of your company or organization along with the date and time for an appointment.
  2. We’ll provide you with a fast, free quote!
  3. We’ll find the best-fit interpreter who meets your needs based on language/industry specialty and availability.
  4. OR our translations manager will locate a translator and provide a time-frame to translate any company document.

As this year’s recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minority-Owned Business of the Year, we are determined more than ever to our local community. Two recent initiatives with Deaf Community Services of San Diego and the Syrian Community Network of San Diego are breaking down language barriers to these populations to help kids and families prepare for the 2017-2018 school year.

Industries we Serve:

  • Government Departments
  • School Districts and Universities
  • Hospitals and Medical Facilities
  • Law Firms
  • Corporations and Private Companies

When companies need a professional language services provider, they trust Interpreters Unlimited. We offer flexible appointment scheduling, HIPAA-compliant interpreters, and technology, as well as, 24/7 customer service and a 99% fill rate for all appointments.

The services we provide include foreign language interpretation, American Sign Language interpretation, and document translation.

Contact IU today for a free quote and visit our website for more information about how we can help you.

Interpreters Unlimited, Inc.
(800) 726-9891

Ribbon Cutting Marks the Opening of Neal’s Cafe

Neal’s Cafe, located at 4465  University Avenue is San Diego’s newest spot for gourmet artisan desserts and trendy drinks. The official opening was on September 9th with a ribbon cutting. Guests were greeted with great drink specials throughout the day.

To learn more and view the entire exciting menu, please visit

10News LEADership Award Recipient Tony Perez

Tony Perez is honored with the 10News LEADership Award for starting Operation Game On, which uses golf as a form of rehabilitation for returning combat-injured troops suffering from physical and mental disabilities.

International Tribute Dinner to Honor Ambassador Marcela Celorio

The International Tribute Awards Dinner recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact in the binational efforts bridging U.S. and Mexican economies. This year’s celebration will take place on Wednesday, October 25, at the Omni San Diego Hotel in the Gaslamp.

As the Chamber’s marquee international event, this dinner welcomes over 200 elected officials, business, and community leaders from the U.S. and Mexico. This year, the Chamber will present the 2017 Binational Leader Award to Ambassador Marcela Celorio, who serves as Mexico’s Consul General in San Diego. Celorio’s leadership, commitment, and loyalty to the region is appreciated in her successful efforts to strengthen political, economic, and cultural relationships between both countries. Since her appointment as Consul General, and later as Ambassador, she has been dedicated to protect the life quality and economy of Mexicans in San Diego, as well as to developing binational collaboration.

Reserve your seats or full table here. Sponsorship opportunities also available.

Last Chance to Sign up for the Chamber Delegation to D.C.

Be sure to apply now for the Mission to Washington D.C September 24 through 27. Don’t miss your chance to meet the nation’s top policy officials and experts while creating meaningful relationships with San Diego’s most influential business leaders.

If you’re still thinking about joining, take a peek at some of the senior-level officials and influencers we will meet with in D.C.:

  • John Garamendi, California’s 3rd Congressional District
  • Eric Swalwell, California’s 15th Congressional District
  • Joe Kennedy, Massachusetts’s 4th Congressional District
  • Tony Fabrizio, Republican Pollster & Strategist, Principal of Fabrizio, Lee & Associates
  • Mimi Walters, California’s 45th Congressional District
  • Geronimo Gutierrez, Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S.
  • Anna Palmer, Senior Washington Correspondent and co-author of POLITICO’s Playbook
  • Rob Engstrom, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs & Federation Relations for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Delegates will also have priority access to the White House tour on Wednesday morning and a late night Capitol visit. The Capitol tour features a very exclusive, behind-the-scenes look of the national landmark, led by Congressman Juan Vargas.

Major Housing Package to Be Decided By State Legislature

The California state legislature will be taking votes in the coming days, on three major pieces of legislation to address the housing affordability crisis. Those bills are SB 2 (Atkins), SB 3 (Beall), and SB 35 (Wiener). The Chamber has been active in supporting SB 2, by Senator Toni Atkins, which creates a sustainable fund for affordable housing. Previously, affordable housing was built using redevelopment agency funds however since the elimination of redevelopment in 2012, it has become increasingly difficult to finance affordable units, thereby exacerbating our current crisis. SB 3 by Senator Jim Beall is a $4 billion general obligation housing bond that the Chamber’s Infrastructure, Housing & Land Use Committee supported and SB 35 by Senator Weiner seeks to streamline the development process at the local level.

Senator Feinstein Visits Chamber for Good Government Series

Senator Dianne Feinstein provided an update on key federal issues, entertained questions from Chamber members, and engaged in a robust dialogue on a broad range of issues including North Korea, the future of healthcare reform and trade. In a full room with fifty attendees representing varied industries, the Senator provided frank views on the current political climate and provided San Diego’s business leaders with an inside perspective on how things get done in the Capitol, and how she has grown to be such an influential Senator during her tenure. We look forward to meeting with the Senator and continuing the conversations on our upcoming trip to D.C.