Elected officials and staff from all eight San Joaquin Valley counties will be meeting with key federal legislators during the annual “Valley Voice” advocacy visit to Washington, D.C. this week.
The delegation traveling to the nation’s capital has meetings slated Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 9 and 10, and is known as the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council. It represents the boards of each regional planning agency, or metropolitan planning organization (MPO) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
Among the local elected officials attending is Stanislaus County Supervisor Bill O’Brien, who represents Oakdale and Riverbank on the county board. Also attending will be supervisors from Merced County, Tulare County, and Madera County, mayors from Patterson, Los Banos, Kerman, Woodlake, California City, Madera and City of San Joaquin. City council members from Corcoran and Bakersfield are also a part of the delegation.
The main purpose of the visit is to advocate for major transportation and related initiatives for the San Joaquin Valley. Water quality, supply and reliability will be an added priority this year given the severe drought and adverse implications for the San Joaquin Valley’s regional economy.
“Our highways and Interstates are vital to the economic growth of the San Joaquin Valley. Goods and services here are directly tied to the state, nation and global marketplace,” noted City of Madera Mayor Robert Poythress, Chair of the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council. “The success of one Valley county weighs heavily on the success of another. Our ability to work together sends a strong message about our regional collaboration and importance we place collectively on transportation, economic development, and water.”
Other priorities for the 2015 Valley Voice trip include advocating for a long-term transportation bill that would provide stability to the highway trust fund.
The visit is scheduled to include meetings with Senator Boxer, Senator Feinstein, House Majority Leader Congressman McCarthy, Congressmen Costa, Denham, McClintock, McNerney, Nunes and Valadao; Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Mendez, Department of the Interior, the Federal Highway Administration and Senate and House staff from public works, transportation, infrastructure and the environment subcommittees.
More information about the Valley Voice effort is available at the Regional Policy Council website, www.sjvcogs.org.