On the first day of our journey East, Santa Clarita Valley leaders arose early and headed to a morning briefing and breakfast with the Senator Dianne Feinstein. The audience consisted of students from Pepperdine University in Malibu, high school students from San Diego County, and local education administrators, to name a few. Discussing local issues that pertain to both the nation and Santa Clarita, our delegation had the opportunity to stress the importance of topics such as foreclosures, spending and the national budget deficit.
Following the breakfast briefing, the group met with key representatives from the Department of Transportation and the House Transportation Committee to discuss the impact of the high speed rail in Santa Clarita and the expansion of the I-5 freeway carpool and truck lanes. As Santa Clarita representatives learned on the Sacramento trip earlier this year, the initial high speed rail cost estimate was around $9 billion, which is roughly $90 billion shy of the actual cost estimate.
After meeting with representatives from the Department of Transportation, the group met with Jim Coon, Staff Director at U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to share input on transportation issues.
Our group had the opportunity to meet with House Majority leader Eric Cantor, Congressman Buck McKeon and his staff. Cantor and McKeon briefly discussed the issues Congress faces with their attempts to pass bills, what the near future holds for our nation and how this will affect Santa Clarita. The group of SCV leaders also captured a photo on the steps of the Capitol Building just before lunch at the Capitol Hill Club.
As they traveled through the capitol, the group ran into several notable figures, including presidential candidates Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann, who were making an announcement endorsing Mitt Romney for the presidency.
The afternoon consisted of multiple meetings with a handful of key representatives from the Work Force and Education Committees discussing education spending, budget cuts and local unemployment.
After the final meeting on the first day, McKeon was introducing his Military Appropriations Bill on the House Floor to Congress where the group had the privilege of sitting in the House Gallery.
The productive day was capped off with dinner at the Capitol Club with McKeon and a special briefing from Senator John McCain. Also stopping by to share their insight was California State Senator Tony Strickland and California Congressman Jeff Denham.