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Leaders head to state capital

70 drive to Sacramento to meet with legislative representatives

Posted: March 20, 2009 10:29 p.m.
Updated: March 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

About 70 Santa Clarita Valley business leaders will load onto a bus Monday morning headed for a two-day Sacramento road trip.

State Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, KHTS AM-1220 Radio and AT&T are hosting the fifth annual trip.

"The purpose is two-fold," said Carl Goldman, KHTS co-owner. "Number one, to allow the leadership here in Santa Clarita to get a better understanding of what's happening in Sacramento. More importantly, to pinpoint the major issues impacting Santa Clarita and (those issues) Santa Clarita can have an impact on."

Officials from College of the Canyons, Castaic Lake Water Agency, various school districts, local real estate interests, Chamber of Commerce, Valley Industrial Association, city of Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Department, The Signal newspaper and many more will attend the trip.

Meetings with representatives give the local leaders a chance to exchange their concerns and hear from their representatives, Goldman said.

"We try to pull in a broad section," he said. "We get Democrats as well as Republicans, business and educators and nonprofit leaders."

"We advocate for College of the Canyons, a lot of their programs," Goldman said. "It's one thing when COC goes up on their own, and different when 70 leaders go up. Politicians are blown away by this ... very few communities do this."

Included among the topics will be challenges of the state budget, education, transportation and water.

Joan MacGregor, president of the College of the Canyons Board of Trustees, said she's interested in exploring how the federal stimulus bill and the state budget will impact community colleges.

"Workforce development training was part of the federal stimulus bill, and we want to see how it's going to come down through the state and how it will help us at (COC) to provide workforce training for students," MacGregor said.

MacGregor, who is a returning member of the trip, said there is a lot of bonding between those who attend the trip as they share their concerns.

"The biggest factor of this trip is to work with key people in the community, business leaders, other educators, legislators, to present a united presentation of what our needs are," she said.

Ed Colley, a Castaic Lake Water Agency board member, is ready to learn.

"The primary reason (I am going) is to learn and see if there's anything going on that I can do to help the statewide issues," Colley said.

For Colley, it's about learning with a little lobbying mixed in.

"I know that statewide, we're finally, after many decades, beginning to get the political will to move forward with fixing the problems of the (Sacramento River) Delta and other storage issues," he said.

"If there's a possibility I can play a small role in encouraging folks in Sacramento to move forward in a positive way, I'd certainly do that."

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