Chico forum kicks off economic alliance

150 150 Susan Lovenburg

Stewardship was the keyword of the day for business and civic leaders who gathered at Chico State on February 17. The Chico Economic Stewardship Forum forged a community alliance to achieve the common goals of excellence in education, good jobs, and safe streets.

“Stewardship,” said Rory Rottschalk, chair of the Chico Stewardship Network, “is a sense of responsibility for self that leads to a sense of responsibility for the whole.” He described the challenge as one of marrying citizens and institutions in a way that ensures personal liberty while working for the common good. “This is the stuff of free people,” he told the group.

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom’s appearance at lunch energized the group. “California has always been a state of dreamers and entrepreneurs, but lately, we’ve become average,” said Newsom. “We’ve stopped investing in the future. The debate in Sacramento is dull because it’s become about nothing but solvency.”

Newsom spoke of the need for investment in education and infrastructure and support for a strong middle class.

“It’s not about money; it’s about ideas,” said Newsom. “California needs to get back to the future business. We’ve got to get back the sense of spirit and pride that made us what we were.”

Bob Linscheid of CEPCO and John Gregory of Grow California identified four major impediments to economic development in Chico and the Butte region: access to capital, transportation in and out of the community, lack of pervasive high-speed internet, and lack of local innovation expertise.

Through real-time audience polling, forum participants weighed in on their highest priorities for workforce development, infrastructure, innovation and regulatory reform. 

The Chico Economic Stewardship Forum is one of fourteen regional forums taking place around the state in February and March. The regions will come together to develop common goals and an action plan at the California Economic Summit on May 11.

It is timely and important to engage Californians to talk about and then act on how we can improve the state, create more jobs and revitalize our economy. Along with our regional partners, we look forward to helping Californians come together to reclaim our power as citizens and to repair our economy in order to compete in the 21st century.

At California Forward we ask people to dream big and think about what the state can be. Improving the economy is key to restoring California’s greatness. And, like the California Stewardship Network, California Forward believes that recognizing and strengthening the state’s regional economies is key to moving California forward.


Susan Lovenburg

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