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.