Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chamber DC Trip Wrap Up

A quick wrap up and thanks to all those who participated and helped organize the Chamber's 6th Annual Trip to Washington DC.  Also a big thanks to our trip sponsors and partners:
  • AT&T
  • SDG&E
  • Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
  • Tijuana EDC
  • Rural/Metro Corporation
  • McKenna Long & Aldridge
  • San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • San Diego Downtown Partnership
  • CDT
  • Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce
  • Smart Border Coalition
Be sure to check out media coverage from the trip on the Chamber's newsroom page.  Particular highlights include:

09/17/2012: KPBS Evening Edition - Lobbying trip to D.C.

09/13/2012: FOX 5 - San Diego leaders visit Washington DC

09/10/2012: CW 6 - Local politicians lobby Washington for San Diego projects

Also, check out the Chamber's Facebook page for all the pictures and videos from the trip.

See you next year!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chamber President Reports from DC

Today I am in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on the final day of the Chamber's "One Region One Voice" trip.  

I am here with more than 100 Chamber members and public officials from throughout our region including San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante, Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks, Imperial Beach Mayor Jim Janney, and numerous City Councilmembers.

In addition,we are joined by San Diego business leaders Andrew Clark, foundera nd CEO of Bridgepoint Education, Andrew Lee, CEO of ESET, Mike Niggli, COO of SDG&E, and others.

We have had a successful visit focused on economic issues important to San Diego including military/defense, border, tourism, and innovation. We have been busy withn early 90 meetings with Pentagon officials, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, White House officials, key Congressional leaders, and Administration representatives at the departments of State, Commerce, HUD and more.

We are concluding our trip today with our California delegation including Congressmembers Brian Bilbray, Duncan D. Hunter, Bob Filner and Susan Davis.  

A special thanks to our trip and lunch sponsors SDG&E, AT&T, Qualcomm, Rural/Metro Ambulance, Microsoft, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and McKenna Long & Aldridge.

To read the latest insights, photos and videos, visit our Chamber DC blog at http://www.sdchamberdc2012.blogspot.comor follow us on Twitter at @sdchamber and #SDinDC.

As always,please send me your thoughts and suggestions at


Ruben Barrales
President & CEO
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

Ruben Barrales and Chamber Director of Events, Judith Andry, at the Library of Congress

Wednesday's Meetings

The last and final day of the trip ended with intimate meetings from members of California's congressional delegation, including Congressmen Brian Bilbray, Duncan D. Hunter and Bob Filner.

Congressman Duncan D. Hunter
Each member spoke of the important issues facing the San Diego region such as defense cuts, sequestration, tax implications of pension reform, and the need for innovation and new technologies.  There was abundant praise for the Chamber's delegation trip and members stressed the need for trips like these and continuous cooperation and collaboration between DC and San Diego.

Congressman and San Diego Mayoral candidate, Bob Filner
Congressman Brian Bilbray

The halls of the Library of Congress
The day ended with a luncheon at the Library of Congress and a personal discussion with Congresswoman Susan Davis.  Chamber president and CEO, Ruben Barrales, board chair, Mark Leslie, and trip chair, Ben Haddad, made closing remarks and thanked all the delegates for their hard work and participation during the trip.

Congresswoman Susan Davis

Tuesday's Meetings

The second day of meetings started early with an 8am breakfast and several 10am meetings, including Department of Education, Embassy of Canada, Senate Environment and Public Works Minority Committee, and The Brookings Institution.

The luncheon, hosted by Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, at the D.C. Metropolitan Club proved to be a tremendous location and provided great information about the new twists and turns of the healthcare industry.

Afterwards the entire delegation came together to take a group photo outside the historic site.

The meeting schedule resumed at 2pm with appointments at the General Services Administration, White House, Department of HUD, Department of Energy and several key congressional members.  The meeting with Senate President Pro Tempore and Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Daniel Inouye (making him the highest-highest Asian American politician in the history of the US) proved to be particularly successful.  Having not heard about the trouble getting funding for the San Ysidro border crossing, he was intrigued and promised to check into it with members of the CA delegation and others.

Other productive meetings included the Office of Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn from Texas on the issue of border security and efficiency.  Congressman John Fleming discussed sequestration with delegates and noted that he will work to try and stop or scale back the possible destructive measure.

The day ended with a meeting at the Office of House Speaker John Boehner to discuss cross border trade and defense budget.  Afterwards his staff took us out to the exclusive Speaker's office balcony, a truly rare and exciting occasion.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

San Diego Chamber's DC Trip Launches

More than 100 delegates from San Diego descended upon Washington DC today, bringing San Diego priorities and weather with them.

Tonight was the official kickoff with a welcome reception at The Madison Hotel, hosted by Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.

Chamber president and CEO, Ruben Barrales, kicked off remarks followed by Chamber chairman, Mark Leslie, and trip chairman, Ben Haddad.

Councilmember Kevin Faulconer
Representatives from Buchanan's DC office also spoke about the importance of San Diego having a presence in DC, especially for issues such as telecommunications. They also mentioned Tuesday's luncheon where another hot issue, healthcare, would be discussed.

Trip Chairman, Ben Haddad and his wife, with Chamber Board Chair, Mark Leslie
Stay tuned as meetings on the Hill get underway tomorrow.

Monday's Meetings

The first day of meetings on Monday, September 10th proved to be a busy yet very successful and worthwhile day.  A total of 30 meetings were scheduled with more than 60 representatives from Congressional offices, the Pentagon, Veterans Administration, Department of Commerce, Department of Labor, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and many others.

Deputy Secretary of State, Matthew Rooney, with delegates at the Department of State
Specific highlights include a morning meeting with Matthew Rooney, Deputy Secretary of State and an afternoon meeting at the Pentagon with the Deputy Comptroller, John Roth in the Office of the Undersecretary of the Defense.

The meeting with Rooney confirmed the temporary plans for the San Ysidro border crossing as well as the issues surrounding the pedestrian crossing at the site.  Rooney spoke about the need for "habits of cooperation" amongst US and Mexico officials on the issue and assured delegates that progress was being made.  Rooney did stress that trips from San Diego delegates and others were crucial in continuing to make the 21st Century Cross Border Initiative a priority and to make sure that the temporary solution did not remain temporary.
Delegates with the Chamber's MBC Director, James Clark, at the Department of State

The Pentagon's official briefing room
The Pentagon meeting included a brief tour of the Pentagon and then delegates met with Roth to discuss the issue of sequestration.  Roth agreed that sequestration would be devastating for the Department of Defense and across all other industries, sectors and localities.  If Congressional leaders do not take action to prevent the cuts from taking place in January 2013, it would mean another $50 billion reduction for the DOD alone.  Roth concluded by saying that we should all be concerned about sequestration because it represents uncertainty but warned delegates to not "self-sequestrate" before it was absolutely necessary. 

Mark Cafferty, Ruben Barrales and Bill Earley at the Pentagon
In between the delegation met at the DC offices of McKenna Long & Aldridge for lunch and to get an insiders look at the upcoming November elections, insights on cyber security and much more.

Luncheon at McKenna Long & Aldridge's DC office
The meeting-filled day ended with a reception at Microsoft's DC office.  Filled with interactive games and delicious food, it was the perfect ending to a busy day.  Afterwards delegations went out on the town to cheer on the San Diego Chargers against the Raiders.

Monday, September 10, 2012

San Diego DC Trip Gets Underway

Alan Bersin, Chief Diplomatic Officer in the Department of Homeland Security
The Chamber's 6th Annual "One Region One Voice" trip officially got underway this morning with a Kick Off Delegation Breakfast.  After Chamber CEO and president, Ruben Barrales, provided details about the days ahead, Chief Diplomatic Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, Alan Bersin, took the stage.

Bersin spoke about the emerging middle class of Mexico and the opportunity that lies ahead for the mega region.  As the largest binational region, it's important to show how the border can work and to continue to develop the innovative ports of entry, including funding for San Ysidro.  Bersin talked about the accomplishment that both sides of the aisle have come together to achieve thus far but encouraged delegates to not lost sight of the enormous opportunity that the border presents.
San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts

San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts spoke next and thanked the delegates for taking the time to travel to DC.  He noted that as a whole the delegation is stronger than if we were to come here individually.  Our work in DC and across the nation has helped get grants for San Diego and the Chamber's annual DC trip continues to be a great success.

Mayor Jerry Sanders
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders also spoke to the delegation.  He mentioned the importance of San Diego representatives coming to DC to tell federal officials and Congressional leaders what's important for our region and why.  He highlighted a few key priorities for the region including creating jobs, the convention center and sequestration.  Sequestration, he added, would cut everything by 10% and more than 28,000 from the San Diego region alone.  It is the absolute worst case scenario that would devastate the economy and prolong the economic recession.  Mayor Sanders ended by highlighting the main reason for his involvement on the trip which is the US/Mexico border.  He emphasized that we cannot sacrifice the impact of the border and must ensure funding to complete the US crossing.  As the busiest land border in the world, billions and billions of dollars, economic growth and jobs are at stake.

Mayor Carlos Bustamante
Mayor Bustamante also mentioned the benefits of the border for both the US and Mexico.  He noted that what's good for San Diego is good for Tijuana and vice versa.  It's of the utmost importance that the delegation insist on funding for increased and improved border efficiency.

With that the breakfast ended and the delegates were off and running to a variety of morning meetings including the Pentagon, Department of State and several Congressional offices.

Friday, September 7, 2012

In a little more than 24 hours, San Diego Chamber delegates will descend upon Washington D.C..  During the course of four days, participants will attend nearly 90 meetings and events, including:
  • Department of State
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Labor
  • Pentagon
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Transportation
  • White House officials
  • Congressional leaders, such as House Speaker John Boehner, Senator Barbara Boxer, Congresswoman Susan Davis, Congressman Brian Bilbray, Congressman Duncan Hunter, and Congressman Bob Filner
The delegate list this year is an all star lineup with Mayor Sanders, Mayor Bustamante, Councilmembers Alvarez, Faulconer, Gloria, Kersey, Zapf and Wehbe all in attendance.  Along with other elected officials from across the region, the delegation represents nearly 60 businesses from various sectors and industries.

Check out recent media coverage of the trip on Univision and stay tuned to the blog for the latest media coverage and trip updates.

Also, don't forget to follow us on social media to learn exclusive insights and details from the trip:


Thursday, September 6, 2012

With more than 100 elected officials and business leaders from across the San Diego region, we are expecting another busy, event-filled trip to Washington DC.  As of today, there are nearly 90 meetings and events scheduled for our mere 4-day trip.

This year we will be documenting the trip here, on the San Diego Chamber's DC 2012 Blog.  As a mobile and desktop site, feel free to frequently visit for all the latest information, photos and videos, social media updates and much, much more.

We are excited to have so many of you along and look forward to another great trip!

Chamber's 2011 Trip to Washington DC
Chamber's 2011 Trip to Washington DC
Chamber's 2011 Trip to Washington DC