Supes Inform Nation's Officials of County's Priorities on D.C. Trip
by: Jim Holmes, Placer County Supervisor
Friday, March 16, 2007
I joined several other county officials February 26 through March 2 on a highly successful trip to Washington, D.C. that allowed us to meet with federal officials about several projects vital to Placer County's future.
We lobbied for continued federal funding for several projects, including a proposed wastewater treatment plant that will serve much of Placer County, a new children's health center and emergency shelter and the Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention and Biomass Utilization Program.
Other critical projects that we discussed included the Placer County Conservation Plan, Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Corridor, Public Safety Regional Radio Project and improvements to several high-volume county roads.
The county delegation included three of my board colleagues: Robert Weygandt, Bruce Kranz and Rocky Rockholm. We were accompanied by County Executive Officer Tom Miller, Chief Assistant County Executive Officer Rich Colwell and Legislative Affairs Coordinator Mary Herdegen.
The intent of the county's annual advocacy trip to the nation's capital is to inform federal decision-makers and high-level staff of the county's priorities for federal funding and the progress we have made on projects already underway.
The county has been very successful in getting federal funding in the past and much of the credit goes to the effective lobbying team the county has under contract in Washington, D.C. and our annual advocacy trips. Over the last 10 years, almost $100 million in federal funds have been spent or earmarked for projects on the county's annual priority lists.
On this year's trip, 23 meetings were scheduled over four days.
In order to make wise use of our time and meet with as many officials as possible, supervisors broke into two-person teams for several meetings. We met as a group with high-level staff members of Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as with Rep. John Doolittle. On one evening, we invited Doolittle to dinner and enjoyed an informal dialog regarding important issues in Placer County.
Supervisor Weygandt and I met with David Verhey, acting assistant secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks and informed him of the county's efforts on the conservation plan.
Supervisor Kranz and I met with Jim Hughes, director of the Bureau of Land Management and informed him of the county's efforts in our Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention and Biomass Utilization Program.
Both officials were impressed by Placer County's proactive approach to these issues and the examples they could provide for other jurisdictions throughout our state, and indeed, the nation.
A detailed and yet easy-to-read binder was left with each official explaining Placer County's federal priorities. Our staff will follow-up with letters to thank each office and official for providing the opportunity to promote Placer County's interests.