Larry Mankin: The Power Of Building A Community Through Advocacy
By Larry Mankin
On March 23-24, 2009 I got to once again see just how important it is to have a community plan, and to have a dedicated group of community leaders willing to go the extra mile to share a community’s vision leaders in Sacramento.
I was fortunate enough to travel to Sacramento with seventy other SCV delegates on those two days to meet with members of both the state Assembly and the State Senate and many members of a number of state agencies responsible for providing services for the citizens of California.
The delegation was very focused with their requests-they were interested in receiving either assistance from the agencies and/or members of the legislature, or they requested state monies for a number of projects important to the citizens of the Santa Clarita Valley. Projects dealing with issues like water, education, transportation, economic development and training were brought before the state officials. It was amazing to see their response when this very large community group spoke as one cohesive delegation.
Over my thirty plus years of serving Chambers of Commerce and communities, I have witnessed on many occasions the value of lobby trips such as the one so successfully implemented on March 23-24. What makes this community so unique is the educational level of the community delegation, the unselfishness of individual members of the team and the passion that the participants shared with the decision makers they spoke to during the Sacramento visit. The seventy members of the delegation certainly impressed and overwhelmed the individuals who participated in the many meetings held over the two day lobby trip.
It is important to note that every member of the Santa Clarita Valley delegation paid for the Sacramento trip with their own monies. This dedicated group not only gave two days of time out of their incredibly busy schedules, they felt strongly enough about the importance of the trip that they paid for it using their own money. That’s what I call a true community leader!
While many people were responsible for the success of the Sacramento trip, three persons/entities should be recognized-first, thanks to our friends at AT&T for being the principal sponsor for this effort-in particular, Dana Cop of AT&T deserves special recognition. Next, the entire team of KHTS AM-1220 Radio deserves a huge round of applause for their efforts in making this trip happen each and every year. In particular, Carl Goldman dedicates literally tens of hours each year to put this community trip together. Thank you to the terrific folks at KHTS AM 1220. Finally, our Assemblyman Cameron Smyth and his staff put together a series of unbelievable meetings each year for this community lobby effort. I believe I counted thirteen individual meetings organized by Assemblyman Smyth for the 2009 trip. Each meeting required a phone call to “just the right” person for every meeting, it required finding a room large enough to hold the meeting, and it required many follow-up phone calls confirming details about each meeting. Assemblyman Smyth and his staff were professional and proficient in their efforts to provide a truly relevant series of meetings for the Santa Clarita delegation.
Over the next few months, I am sure that we will receive support for many of the projects that were presented in Sacramento. Our community is fortunate to have the kind of dedicated community members and legislative leadership that it has because it will ultimately make a difference.