Leon Panetta joins California Economic Summit

150 150 Ed Coghlan

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has signed on to serve as Honorary Co-Chair of the California Economic Summit, which will be held November 7-8 in Los Angeles. Mr. Panetta recently stepped down as Secretary of Defense in the Obama Administration. Mr. Panetta will join former Secretary of State George Shultz as honorary co-chairs. Mr. Shultz served in that role last year as well.

Regional meetings are underway around California as regional civic and business leaders gather to discuss their local economies and how state and regional cooperation can improve job creation in their areas. They are reviewing the seven Signature Initiatives that have been the focus of the work of the Summit Action Teams over the last year.

Meetings have been held in San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Fresno and the Inland Empire. Another dozen regional meetings are scheduled between now and June. In addition to reviewing the progress that has been made on the seven Signature Initiatives, regional civic and business leaders are considering whether to add other major initiatives. (Here’s the list of the dates and locations of the regional meetings.)

One of those initiatives is the state of California’s infrastructure, which some believe has been neglected too long. If you have a minute, take a look at the infrastructure survey on Caeconomy.org and fill it out. We will be sharing results in the near future.

In addition to infrastructure, the other initiatives that have been the focus of attention for Summit Action teams over the past year plus are workforce preparation, innovation for small business, water infrastructure, streamlining the regulatory environment and modernization of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In addition to Panetta and Shultz, many other prominent Californians are helping guide the process. Our Summit leadership this year includes Laura Tyson, the S.K. and Angela Chan Chair in Global Management at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, the Governor’s senior advisor for Jobs and Development, Michael Rossi, Fresno Mayor Ashley SwearenginAshley Boren, executive director for Sustainable Conservation, and Dave Regan, President, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West.

The economy in the state has been steadily improving (although too slowly for some Californians). This recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of California provides for some interesting reading. California’s job growth over the past year has been outperforming the rest of the country.

(Photo Credit: Department of Defense)


Ed Coghlan

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