Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has signed on to serve as Honorary Co-Chair of the California Economic Summit, scheduled for November 7-8 in Los Angeles. Mr. Panetta has recently returned to California after a long distinguished career in Washington D.C. that included 16 years as a Congressman from California and numerous senior positions in the Clinton and the Obama Administrations including CIA Director and Secretary of Defense.
“We are very pleased that Leon Panetta has returned to California and has agreed to help us in our efforts to continue to improve the California economy, ” said Jim Mayer, Executive Director of California Forward, which leads the Summit along with with the California Stewardship Network.
Panetta was a founding co-chairman of California Forward which is a non-profit, bi-partisan organization working as a catalyst for change in California.
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. Those initiatives include workforce preparation, infrastructure investment and regulatory reform.
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, discussions on possible other major initiatives are also underway.
One area of concern has been the state of infrastructure in California and great emphasis on has been put on what we need to build and/or repair and how to pay for it. 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 Panetta and Shultz, many other prominent Californians are helping guide the Summit 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 Swearengin and Ashley Boren, executive director for Sustainable Conservation, and Dave Regan, President, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West.