District 1 Update
A Mission to China
Recently, I was asked to journey to Mainland China to explore economic development opportunities. The goal was to begin the process of establishing a “Sister County” relationship with Fujian Province. Fujian Province is located in the western part of China and borders the South China Sea. During the visit I was accompanied by Mike Holmes, former Auburn City Councilman. Mr. Holmes is a former United States Navy Captain who was stationed as a Chinese liaison with the Chinese Navy in the early seventies and who has maintained long standing ties with the Chinese government.
We traveled to the provincial cities of Fuzhou, Nanping and Xiamen. Although the population is ten times that of Placer County, Fujian Province is similar to Placer County with rolling hills and forest areas, and is why the province was selected for a sister relationship. In addition, our economic, agricultural and educational pursuits are similar. Our delegation of two met with various provincial government officials in each city and we were also able to meet with representatives of a private university.
While in Nanping, we visited one of the world’s largest alkali battery factories that deliver 1.3 billion batteries to China and Europe, and a braided wire factory that also supplies both China and Europe with various sized electrical transmission wire. Interestingly, both factories were highly automated and located in hilly agricultural zones.
Among the things we discussed with Chinese officials were the mutual exchange of culture, education, arts and economics. There are many areas of mutual benefit between the sister cities. Topics of benefit that were discussed included tourism, educational exchange (student and teacher exchange), agriculture, viticulture, forest management and technology.
One of the educational opportunity areas of specific interest to the Chinese in educational opportunity was Warwick University. We met with groups of Chinese city officials who recognized Warwick for its educational excellence. I was very proud to represent to the Chinese that the only Warwick Campus on the planet, outside of the original Coventry, UK, location, will be in Western Placer County.
Our trip concluded with the delivery of the request to begin the sister city process. This is a formal process in which Fujian officials will travel to Placer County to meet with area officials, after which both Placer County and the province sign official agreements establishing a formal relationship. The process takes about a year to complete.
I found the Chinese people, both in general and those with whom we met, to be very pleasant, helpful and very interested in Western culture. The tea ceremonies, held in our honor, were extremely memorable as was the overall hospitality. As our plane lifted off for our fourteen-hour flight back home, I felt a lot of pride in being able to bring some of Placer County to another country such as China and in being able to represent District 1 to people of a foreign country.
Please note that in keeping with my campaign promise to eliminate county expenses, none of the cost or expenses related with this trip were paid with County or public funds.
As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve you. I always welcome your feedback and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 916-787-8950.