Led by OCBC Chair Julie Miller-Phipps of Kaiser Permanente, OCBC launched the annual One Voice, Two Capitols advocacy trip to Washington, D.C. on April 23-25, representing over 20 businesses and organizations in Orange County, joining forces with the Association of California Cities–OC. The delegation met with agency Secretaries, both California’s Senators, and members of the House leadership advocating for Orange County’s priority issues including transportation, water, education and trade issues, and raising the profile of the County.
In advance of the official start to the trip, a small group met with Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. The ability for business and labor to work together to support economic growth was underscored by Disney and Kaiser Permanente, and OCBC’s innovative programs like LEA were recognized by the Secretary.
The full day of advocacy began with a briefing from the US Chamber on labor, trade and transportation issues. The delegation then took to the Hill to meet with Senator’s Feinstein and Boxer, a first for the delegation! Transportation funding remains a priority and we had the opportunity to hear about announcement of the Senate conferees while in our meeting. Another highlight of the day was a brief meeting with Congressman Paul Ryan who shared the philosophy behind the Republican budget plan.
Additional meetings were held with leadership and members of the House Transportation & Infrastructure and Energy & Commerce Committees, Subcommittees on Health, Trade, and Water. During these visits the OCBC team discussed federal transportation reauthorization and the importance of keeping the environmental reforms intact, as well as advocating for the reestablishment of earmarks or “congressional directed funds” for infrastructure projects. In addition, the delegation discussed Water Resources Development Act funding related to local reservoir projects, the Earthquake Insurance Act.
Rounding out the very full agenda were briefings by Administration officials, starting with John Wecker, Economic Unit Chief, Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs with the U.S. Department of State who offered a fascinating glimpse into China’s economic development efforts and how its changing demographics could impact its future. Following, was a briefing by Dr. Elizabeth Fowler of the National Economic Council and Special Assistant to the President on Health Care who reviewed the federal health care plan, and finally Salin Geevarghese, senior advisor with the Sustainable Housing & Communities program at HUD, who offered a surprisingly fresh look at HUD’s programs which was particularly informative to our City Council partners on the trip.
Overall, a successful trip that should lead to more attention for Orange County in the months to come. For more information contact Kate Klimow, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs. CLICK HERE for trip photos. For more information contact Kate Klimow, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs.