News & Updates

News Release: Chamber Led Delegation Makes the Case for San Diego in Washington D.C.





USMCA, transboundary pollution, homelessness, and defense among key priorities

SAN DIEGO (Sept. 19, 2019) – A group of more than 160 business and civic leaders from San Diego and Baja California are headed to Washington D.C. to advance key issues related to jobs, commerce, and the regional economy. This is the largest group ever to take part in the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Mission to Washington D.C.” which brings delegates to the nation’s capital for three days beginning September 22.

“Our delegation is working to rally federal support for the projects and policies that directly affect business and the people living and working in the Cali-Baja region,” said Jerry Sanders, Chamber President and CEO. “With such a large, diverse group we’re not just telling our nation’s leaders that these issues are important to our region, we’re showing them who it matters to and why. It’s a powerful message.”

The 162-member delegation represents a diverse mix of industries, organizations, and elected officials from both sides of the border including San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. The delegation will meet with government officials, agency representatives, and policy makers to enhance understanding and advance policy that creates the best environment for businesses and neighborhoods to thrive.

Two issues of high importance during the trip are the Tijuana River Valley transboundary pollution and the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. On transboundary pollution, the delegation will meet with the Mexican Ambassador Martha Barcena, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of State, and members of Congress to discuss infrastructure projects and legislation that provides funding to move those projects forward. This includes the Tijuana River Valley Pollution Solution bill package and HR 132.

Delegates will also meet with Speaker Pelosi’s office, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador C. J. Mahoney, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and other members of Congress to push for ratification of the USMCA. For the new trade deal to take effect, it must be ratified by each country’s legislature. Mexico was the first country to ratify the deal in June.

In full, the three-day agenda includes over 30 meetings covering a variety of areas such as housing and homelessness, healthcare, defense and veterans, transportation, border infrastructure, and workforce development. Additional key priorities for the delegation:

  • Federal government support and funding for innovative local strategies to address homelessness
  • Border infrastructure projects including Otay 2, cross-border railroad, expedited cargo processing
  • Leveraging Federal government resources to promote, protect and expand San Diego’s defense industry

Delegates will meet with:

  • San Diego Congressional Representatives Susan Davis, Mike Levin, Scott Peters, Juan Vargas
  • Acting Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella
  • Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Assistant Secretary for the Department of Energy
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Veterans Affairs

Additional notable delegates:

  • Sue Saarnio, U.S. Consulate General, Tijuana
  • Ambassador Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego
  • San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox
  • San Diego City Council Members Jen Campbell, Chris Cate, Mark Kersey, Monica Montgomery and Vivian Moreno
  • Tijuana City Councilmembers Ivette Casillas and Monica Vega
  • Imperial Beach City Councilmembers Paloma Aguirre and Mark West
  • Coronado City Councilmember Bill Sandke
  • And representatives from various businesses and organizations, including: the Union of Pan Asian Communities, San Diego State University, Kaiser Permanente, Cox Communications, Qualcomm, Sempra Energy, Rancho Guejito.

The San Diego Regional Chamber is the only Chamber to lead annual binational delegation trips to the U.S. and Mexico capital cities. As the largest member-supported business organization in San Diego’s binational region, the Chamber serves as the leading voice for the business community and presents a united effort on the community’s behalf. The largest local chamber on the West Coast, the San Diego Chamber represents approximately 2,500 businesses and an estimated 300,000 jobs.

About the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

The San Diego Regional Chamber is the hub for connections and collaboration among the regional business community, and uses that clout to advocate for public policies and candidates that support economic growth and the creation of jobs for all businesses. As the largest local Chamber on the West Coast, representing approximately 2,500 businesses and an estimated 300,000 jobs, the San Diego Regional Chamber is fighting to make San Diego the most business-friendly region in California. For more information, please visit or call 619-544-1300.



Media Contact: Alison Phillips
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
P: 619-544-1381 C: 805-886-8594

2019 Mission to Washington D.C.

Join the largest binational delegation to Washington, D.C. to voice your business needs and collaborate with San Diego’s business leaders while meeting with the nation’s top legislators and policy officials. From Sunday, September 22 to Wednesday, September 25, attendees will have the unique opportunity to participate in high-level meetings, gain access to our country’s key decision-makers, and network and make invaluable connections! September 18 is the last day to apply, do not wait – sign up today. Notable meetings include:

  • Acting Secretary of Labor
  • Mexican Ambassador
  • Pentagon Tour & Briefing
  • US Customs and Border Protection
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner

State Legislature Tackles Remaining Bills in Final Days

Before ending their legislative year, both houses of the California legislature tackled over 400 bills in advance of the September 13 deadline. In his first year in office, Governor Gavin Newsom has introduced a bold budgetary plan, with significant increases for homeless funding for local governments, and affordable housing tax credits. Further, the Governor did ultimately sign highly controversial bills addressing vaccinations, but will have a very active upcoming legislative session when the legislature reconvenes. Some bills, such as Chamber-supported SB 50 (Wiener) were held as two-year bills and still have uncertain futures. The Governor has until October 13 to sign or veto bills.

Education and Workforce Roundtable Briefed on SDPOA’s Childcare Efforts

At the Chamber’s Education and Workforce Committee on August 21, the President of the San Diego Police Officers Association (POA) briefed the group on the POA’s effort to provide late-night low-cost childcare services for police offers. Detective Schaeffer noted that as San Diego faces a shortage of police officers in the workforce, the POA is using childcare as an attraction, productivity, and retention tool for employees. Read the full article.

Progress Made to Adopt Housing Goals in Regional Needs Assessment

On September 6 on a weighted vote, the SANDAG board accepted the methodology that dictates the numbers of housing that each local jurisdiction will be expected to plan for. The Regional Needs Housing Assessment (RHNA), is a state-required process whereby local governments determine how many homes they must plan for over the course of eight years. Months ago, the Chamber was part of a coalition to ask the board not to request a lower allocation from the state, and instead accept the originally proposed 171,685 new units, which we were successful in advocating for. The most recent vote is to accept the way in which those new units are calculated and distributed, which the Chamber was also present in speaking to.

Energy and Water Committee Updated on Community Choice Energy

At the Chamber’s Energy & Water Committee’s September meeting, the group was updated on the City of San Diego’s Community Choice Energy program development by the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer. The City of San Diego is in the process of negotiating terms of a JPA with other cities/jurisdictions which would minimize risk to their General Fund. The City of San Diego is moving forward with a Community Choice Energy program to help meet their Climate Action Plan Goals.

Otay Mesa East Border Update at Infrastructure, Housing, and Land Use Committee

At the August meeting of the Chamber’s Infrastructure, Housing, and Land Use Committee, the group was briefed on the Otay 2 status and next steps. Otay 2 is the new planned border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana. Although the crossing will allow cars and pedestrians, it is largely designed for truck and commercial vehicle usage. Currently, SANDAG is working on developing the State Route 11 freeway in response to increased demand from the new crossing. This port is important in reducing overall wait times.

America and Our Trade Partners Still Waiting for the USMCA

Chamber meeting with Senator Ana Guevara to discuss USMCA

Trade policy unquestionably impacts our local economy which depends on an integrated supply chain valued at $2.5 billion and supports more than 110,000 San Diego jobs. Viewed as the most consequential trade policy in our time, The United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, USMCA, must be brought forward for a vote in Congress in order to take effect.

As part of our outreach and advocacy efforts for the USMCA, the Chamber and the San Diego and Imperial District Export Council co-hosted a special roundtable discussion on the trade agreement with Ana Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Operations at the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Administration. Deputy Assistant Secretary Guevara highlighted that our economic relationship with Mexico benefits and strengthens U.S. companies while creating local jobs and generating savings for families. Ratification of the USMCA is vital to strengthening the economy, growing jobs, and supporting communities on both sides of the border.

To help bring this forward for a vote, please contact your Congress members and urge them to pass the USMCA trade agreement today. The time is now for Congress to act and to take advantage of all that USMCA has to offer.

Cross Border Business Forum Recap – A taste of CaliBaja’s Brewery Industry

Recognized as the Craft Beer of America, San Diego County is home to 130 craft breweries producing over 1 million barrels of beer during 2017. San Diego provides a diverse selection of brewery styles and sensations across the country and has brought back 45 medals from the Great American Beer Festival since 2014. The craft beer industry supports 6,275 jobs in San Diego County and produced an economic impact of $1.1 billion in 2017. South of the border, Baja California’s brewing scene comprises more than 80 craft breweries and continues to grow, strategically positioning as a complement of the Baja Med culinary experience. This opened the door to a new kind of partnership for CaliBaja, allowing breweries such as SouthNorte to open the first independent American brewery with a tasting room and full-time brewing operations in Mexico.

The Cross Border Business Forum featured industry experts joined by Diana Puetz, Director of Public Affairs for the San Diego Padres, who served as moderator for the panel:

  • Brandon Richards | CEO, South Norte Brewery, San Diego
  • JJ Feregrino | Founding Director, Baja Brewmasters & Co-Founder, Cerveceria Colibre, Tecate
  • Amy Spackman | San Diego Chapter Leader, Pink Boots Society
  • Alfredo Rodriguez | Co-Founder, Cerveceria Icono, Mexicali
  • Alan Celis | Co-Founder, Cerveceria Doble C, Ensenada

Panelists shared best practices and lessons learned from the challenges they each faced as entrepreneurs, from permits and licensing to dealing with distribution and setting a competitive price point where commercial beer brands are in advantage. They also shared stories of cross-border collaboration, highlighting the importance of connecting cultures across our region and coexisting in a binational tourism market.

In addition, the Pink Boots Society and SouthNorte recognized the need to encourage, promote, and empower women in the craft beer industry and shared information about how they each have programs that provide assistance to women to venture into the industry and succeed. The forum was broadcasted via the Chamber’s Facebook page and is available here.

Please save the date for the upcoming Cross Border Business Forum will take place on Wednesday, October 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Tijuana.

International Tribute Luncheon – Save the Date!

The Chamber’s annual International Tribute Luncheon provides an opportunity to recognize outstanding individuals and businesses that have made a significant impact on the binational efforts bridging U.S. and Mexican economies. Previous awardees include Mexican Ambassador Marcela Celorio for Binational Leader of the Year; Mexican Customs (Servicio de Administración Tributaria) & U.S. Customs and Border Protection for Cross-Border Collaboration; and Cross Border Xpress (CBX) for the Change Maker Award.

Save the date for this year’s International Tribute Luncheon, which will take place Thursday, November 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Omni San Diego Hotel.