Local Leaders Advocate for Regional Issues in Washington
October 2, 2018
By Ana Gomez Salcido
A group of 140 business and community leaders from San Diego and Baja California traveled to Washington D.C. to advance key issues related to jobs, commerce, and the regional economy. It was the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 12th annual “Mission to Washington D.C.” which gathered delegates to the nation’s capital for three days beginning September 30. The delegation met 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.
“Being in Washington and sharing our stories is critical to advancing the policies and projects that grow our economy and help make San Diego a great place to do business,” said Jerry Sanders, Chamber President and CEO. “The industry experience and perspectives our delegation brings raises our region’s profile, and informs legislators of the very real, local implications of what they’re doing in Washington.”
The delegation represented a diverse mix of industries, organizations, and elected officials from both sides of the border including San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum. Additional notable delegates include Sue Saarnio, U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana; Marcela Celorio, Consul General of the Mexican Consulate in San Diego; Todd Gloria, California State Assemblymember; Oscar Escobedo, Secretary of Tourism in the State of Baja California; Steve Vaus, Poway Mayor; Barbara Bry and Mark Kersey, San Diego City Council members; Maribel Ivette Casillas, Tijuana City Council member; Mark West, Imperial Beach City Council member; and representatives from various businesses and organizations, including Kaiser Permanente, Woodward Logistics, Cox Communications, Qualcomm, San Diego State University, Sempra Energy, Rancho Guejito, Deloitte, Charter Communications, and the Union of Pan Asian Communities.
Delegates met with federal legislators and agency representatives that lead policy development in a variety of areas including housing and homelessness, international trade and cross-border commerce, healthcare, defense and veterans, and workforce development.
Key priorities for the delegation included a trilateral trade deal and Congressional approval of a new trade agreement, preservation of HUD funding for homeless services and pursuing new options for affordable housing and homelessness services, border infrastructure projects including the Calexico-Mexicali Port of Entry, funding for the Tijuana River Valley sewage issues, leveraging federal government resources to promote, protect and expand San Diego’s defense industry.
Local delegates met with Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer; Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., Geronimo Gutierrez; and with representatives of other agencies including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense.
The San Diego Regional Chamber is the only Chamber to lead annual binational delegation trips to the U.S. and Mexico capital cities.