Annual fact-finding mission offers multiple benefits to participants.
If you want to know what’s going on in
Sacramento , get on the bus. The 2009 KHTS Tour of Sacramento is scheduled for March 23 and 24 and a few seats are still available.
For the last three years, community leaders have traveled up north to see government at work first hand, visiting representatives and specialists in issues such as water, education, transportation that directly affect the Santa Clarita Valley and many participants say they’ve seen a real difference after they return. This year's trip is being sponsored in part by KHTS radio, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth and AT&T.
“We go to
Sacramento for three reasons,” KHTS owner Carl Goldman explained. “First, it lets community leaders get a better understanding how government works. It’s a huge eye-opener. We’ve also seen the power of having a cross-section of community leaders sit in a room advocating for a major key issue to our legislators. They have a significantly different influence than lobbyists.
“When COC lobbies, it’s one thing, but when an entire group of community leaders advocates for an issue, it has an entirely different impact,” he said.
After being welcomed to
Sacramento by tour co-sponsor, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, the group had a two-day blitz of meetings and tours centered around the Capitol.
The 55-member gathering had a chance to hear from – and ask question of – Caltrans Director Wil Kempton, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, Senator George Runner, California Association of Water Districts legislative director Ron Davis, Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines, Education Committee member Martin Garrick, Assembly water advisor Alf Brandt, education lobbyist Susan Stuart and Assemblywoman Audra Strickland.
This year, meetings have been scheduled with Assemblyman Roger Niello, California Community College Chancellor Jack Scott, Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, Assembly Transportation Chair Mike Eng, Assembly Health Committee Vice-Chair Nathan Fletcher, Senator Tony Strickland and Assemblyman Jared Huffman, chair of the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.
Through the years, the tour has paid off for both local participants and legislators.
“Two years ago, we had a visit from a Democratic assemblyman who was head of education for the Assembly. He was so taken by our group, he was blown away by how innovative the ideas were,” Goldman said. “At the time we were working on the
Center at College of the Canyons and pushing for a lab technician training program. He asked to visit the campus and he and Cameron came down and spent the whole day at COC. That kind of reaction alone is reason to do it every year.”
“It’s become an incredible networking tool for everyone. People share ideas while they’re sitting on the bus and get a chance to talk to each other,” he concluded. “It’s a powerful way to network.”
For details and costs of the 2009 trip, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org