Today CLU MPPA Grad Students embarked on their second day at California’s State Capitol. Today’s list of speakers included Aaron Read and Steve Baker, Lobbyists with Aaron Read & Associates, Jot Condi of the California Restaurant Association, Dan Pelissier, Deputy Secretary of Cal EPA for AB32 and Greenhouse Gas Policy, and Deborah Kelch, Chief Consultant to the Assembly Health Committee.
Students also had a chance to explore the Capitol and see Committee Hearings, including Sen. Fran Pavley’s (D-Agoura Hills) Committee Hearing on Natural Resources and Water and visit the floor of the State Assembly as arranged by Assemblywoman Audra Strickland (R-Moorpark)’s office.
Perched upon the top floor of their office buildings, the students heard from Aaron Read and Steve Baker on their experiences with their clients and legislators in the Capitol, and Jot Condi of the California Restaurant Association. Mr. Condi discussed his role in advocating for his organization as well as the complexities behind the implementation and process of the requirement of calorie information on menu boards at restaurants.
Dan Pelissier also gave his thoughts on the great advantage of utilizing solar energy when working to meet AB32 standards and the need for California “to lead” – a recurring theme among those working in Sacramento. Unlike other states, 40% of our emissions derive from transportation, while 20% from electricity and 10% from industrial, demonstrating the need for California to develop better public transportation and fuel-efficient, “clean” cars.
Deborah Kelch also gave her perspective on California healthcare policy, expressing her view that California should “do the best and the most that we can do.”
Those working in Sacramento face numerous obstacles, from budget and fiscal constraints to party lines, late-night deals and politics. Having spent two days here in Sacramento, it is clear that those who succeed in Sacramento are those who truly want to be here. Their passion for the work that they do and what Professor Gorell calls that “fire in the belly” mentality makes this city a place that demands high standards: Long hours (on the parts of both legislators and lobbyists), sharp intelligence, fierce dedication, and the desire to make a difference.