Fifty-six local representatives flew to Washington, D.C., in April with the San Joaquin Council of Governments to lobby for interchange reconstruction, road widening, airport development, water storage and levee safety.
Over four days on the annual One Voice trip, the supervisors, city councilors, public works officials, developers and nonprofit bosses met with about 50 elected officials and their aides, according to a SJCOG report on the trip.
The group lobbied for about $108.8 million, toured the Capital's landmarks and socialized with local representatives Richard Pombo and Dennis Cardoza
"At these meetings, (federal officials) would talk a little about what they are doing and we would talk about our issues," said Lodi councilman John Beckman, one of the delegates.
County Administrator Manuel Lopez, who went on the trip, said this year's trip was different from previous years, in that rather than having more one-on-one meetings with legislative aides that detailed what projects the county needed, there were fewer meetings - but with congressional representatives - that were meant to leave an impression about San Joaquin County.
San Joaquin lobbyists met with top officials like House Majority Leader John Boehner, House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis and House Transportation Chairman Don Young, but 14 of the 44 total meetings were with Pombo and Cardoza, senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, or their aides.
Council of governments' director Andy Chesley said that while county officials may, and do; meet with congressional officials when they are in California, it is still important to meet with their appointed staff members. And some congress members, such as John Doolittle (R-Roseville), who is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, are easier to reach when they are away from their districts.
"(Doolittle) spends more time over there," Chesley said. "When he is in his district, he spends time on district issues."
Transportation was the main topic at many of the meetings - as expected. Manteca nonprofit group Give Every Child a Chance brought up county education needs several times. Delegates also met with a Navy admiral to discuss how best to bring the U.S.S. Iowa to the county to use as a museum.
Some met with Ruben Barrales, a deputy assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, leaders at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and from the Economic Development Administration
County supervisors Jack Sieglock and Victor Mow, and Stockton Vice Mayor Gary Giovanetti testified at a Committee on Resources meeting about the need to protect the San Joaquin Delta from floods and the county's water storage needs.
Beckman said that his favorite part of the trip was listening to members of Congress discuss their ideas for their districts - such as a representative from Alaska who spoke about what the federal government was not doing there - and talking about policy as a group.
"For me the best part was the large group interactions," he said.
Delegates also toured the White House, U.S. House of Representatives, Library of Congress, and the Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Tracy Manager and delegate Daniel Hobbs said the most fun part of the trip for him, outside of the meetings, was when he was allowed inside the White House souvenir shop, which is not accessible to the public.
"I walked out with $130 dollars worth of stuff," he said. "Oh, I paid for everything."
Schedule of events for Tuesday, April 47:30 a.m. - Breakfast at the hotel, the Capitol Hilton.
8:30 a.m. - Tour of the White House
9:15 a.m. - Met with aides to Rep. Dennis Cardoza and discussed water, transportation and healthcare issues.
10:30 a.m. - Met with Rep. Richard Pombo and Cardoza
11 a.m. - Delegates split up into two groups. Representatives from the Stockton East Water Group met with officials from the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers. The rest of the group met with House Majority Whip Roy Blunt
11:30 a.m. - Met with Davis Dreier; chairman of the House Committee on Rules
12 p.m. - Met with Donald Manzullo, chairman of the House Committee on Small Business. Meanwhile, SJCOH board members met with Sen. Barbara Boxer to discuss transportation, levee protection and how to the U.S.S. Iowa to the Port of Stockton.
1 p.m. - Met with a Sen. Diane Feinstein aide and discussed education. Some delegates met with a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
1:30 p.m. - Met with House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis.
2 p.m. - Met with a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
2:30 p.m. Met with Don Young, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
3:30 p.m. - Most of the delegates met with Rep. George Radanovich, chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. Some met with an official from the Bureau of Reclamation. Delegates from the Altamont Commuter Express met with rail officials.
4:30 p.m. - Manteca Convention and Visitors Bureau delegates met with Pombo and Cardoza aides.
5:15 p.m. - Met with a Boxer aide to talk about transportation issues.
5:30 p.m. - End of the day reception at the hotel.
First published: Tuesday, June 6, 2006