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Valley Leaders Take Issues To Washington

This week, San Joaquin County Supervisor Chuck Winn and City of Stockton Vice Mayor Elbert Holman are joining elected officials from all eight San Joaquin Valley counties to meet with White House officials and key federal legislators during the annual “Valley Voice” advocacy trip to Washington D.C.

The delegation traveling to the nation’s capital is known as the San Joaquin Valley Regional Planning Agencies Policy Council, and represents the boards of each metropolitan planning organization (such as San Joaquin Council Of Governments), and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

The Regional Policy Council is advocating for major federal investments to the highway system, increased funding for air quality initiatives, passenger rail improvements, and additional policy requests. This week’s advocacy trip, led by City of Woodlake Mayor Rudy Mendoza, the chair of the policy council, formally kicks off on Wednesday morning in a meeting with Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia and ends Thursday afternoon, Sept. 13 at the Department of Transportation.

“Transportation is changing rapidly in California and throughout the nation. It is imperative that we share our priorities and concerns with Congress, our representatives, and the administration as they develop their plans for the future,” San Joaquin County Supervisor and Policy Council Vice Chair Chuck Winn said. “Joining together, we provide a stronger message.”

All told, the group of about 30 elected officials and associated staff members have scheduled meetings with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs; Senators Feinstein and Harris; House Majority Leader McCarthy; Congressmen Costa, Denham, McNerney, Nunes, and Valadao; the Department of Transportation (DOT); and the US Department of Agriculture.

This year, continued development and expansion of the San Joaquin’s rail service is high on the list of priorities as is Highway 99 development and goods movement. The officials also want federal agencies to support administrative and legislative policy changes that enhance transportation planning in the region.

“Having an adequate transportation system to support a multibillion dollar Ag industry, along with being able to comply with the clean air act and support a rapidly growing population, is essential in the San Joaquin Valley,” stated City of Stockton Vice Mayor Elbert Holman. “Working together with the other members of the Policy Council sends a strong message of collaboration that is needed in order to be successful.”

More information, including highlights of the funding, policy, and legislative requests and the full delegation for Valley Voice 2018, can be found at

San Joaquin Council of Governments is a joint powers authority comprised of the County of San Joaquin and the cities of Stockton, Lodi, Manteca, Tracy, Ripon, Escalon, and Lathrop. The agency serves as the federally-designated metropolitan planning organization, the state-designated regional transportation planning agency, the implementing agency for the habitat conservation program, the local transportation authority (overseeing Measure K, the local half-cent transportation sales tax), and as a technical resource for the San Joaquin region.