This piece was originally published on the California Economic Summit blog.
When the last of 14 Regional Economic Forums was held in Shasta County last Friday, it marked an ending and a beginning.
The Regional Forums were designed to get regional responses to some key questions that are facing California’s economy and they were very successful. The information that was gleaned from the Forums is being used to prepare the agenda for the first California Economic Summit on May 11 in Santa Clara.
The Summit will focus on what can be done to increase job creation and improve our economy’s ability to compete in the world marketplace.
“This Summit isn’t about re-hashing the problems plaguing the California economy. We already know the problems. The time has come to fix them,” said Jim Mayer, Executive Director of California Forward, one of the Summit’s organizers. Mayer also serves as a member of the Summit Management Team.
Because California’s economy isn’t one economy, but a series of regional economies, these Forums were important to gain perspectives on the myriad of issues that face the state’s economy.
“Thousands of Californians participated in the Forums to help create and refine topics that we will tackle at the first California Economic Summit next month,” added Doug Henton, another Management Team member. “We are fortunate to have energetic local leaders participating in this process. As we begin to formulate our signature initiatives, we know that real Californians working in their local regions are creating a diverse and relevant agenda that promises real action to improve our ability to create jobs and competitiveness in California.”
The Summit is an unprecedented event to bring together the diverse regions of the state. The Forums concentrated on key topics like how to better prepare California’s workforce, how to create solutions to the state’s infrastructure challenges, how to spur innovation in the state and how to simplify the regulatory process so that that businesses will stay in or move to California.
“We are fortunate to have energetic local leaders bringing forward issues and ideas from the North State, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, down through LA and San Diego that will emerge as our signature initiatives to help improve regional economies,” added Bill Mueller, who runs Valley Vision in the Sacramento area. Valley Vision is a vast network of people and organizations dedicated to securing the social, economic and environmental health of the Sacramento Region.
We will be posting the voting results from the forums soon on caeconomy.org in advance of the Summit. But for now, we’d like to congratulate all the Californians who have participated around the state.
California Forward’s Susan Lovenburg, who attended 13 out of the 14 Regional Forums, around the state said it best:
“To watch real Californians around this state sit down and say ‘how do we fix our economy?’ has been inspirational. Californians get it–they know that it is time for action and they are ready to act.” said Lovenburg. “The Summit is an historic opportunity to make real change in how this state helps create jobs for its residents and improves our state’s ability to compete in our global economy.”
Holding 14 Forums literally in every corner of this vast state is just one example of bringing government closer to the people. California Forward believes empowered local communities are best equipped to solve their own problems. This regional approach comes together on May 11 and will continue well beyond the Summit.