Community advocacy in action: The Signal road-trips to Sacramento
The following article was published in The Signal  newspaper.
On Monday morning, March 23, I anxiously awoke at 5:30 a.m. realizing I had to wait two more hours until I could board a chartered bus to take part in an annual road trip to our state Capitol.
Thanks to sponsors KHTS, AT&T and Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, I was able to be one of 70 community leaders to travel to Sacramento to advocate for our great Santa Clarita Valley.
Thanks to the hosting skills of Carl Goldman, our local Man of the Year, the trip was perfectly organized and gave us all an intimate setting where we could network, listen and ask questions to state leaders at the Capitol.
Education, water, transportation and overall budget issues were among the main topics of discussion. As a group, we immediately garnered more attention from representatives on these important issues.
It is great to know representatives are open to hearing a constituent's concerns and suggestions, but their time is limited. Yet each speaker took an hour each to explain the issues our state faces and answer our questions.
I feel privileged to be part of a community that is proactive and takes the time to make our community a better place to live.
Working as a group, we stay informed of pending legislation and coordinate our efforts with others for greater impact.
I think it is vital that all generations make an effort to be involved in government. Especially young people, who are more than ever involved and are passionate about politics and uniting together to improve their future and ours.
In fact, the number of young registered voters has increased every year since 2000. I believe civic participation is important, and the opportunity to ask questions and make a difference should not be taken for granted.
Every person can make a difference and has a responsibility to give back with their talents and values.
The fact that this trip gave us access to the legislators who are in charge of key committees is invaluable. As advocates, we immediately garnered more attention from representatives as we demonstrated that we have an organized group of supporters for our issues.
I truly enjoyed meeting others who share my interests and concerns for our community.
I know our efforts at the state Capitol will be rewarded and I am grateful for the opportunity to deepen relationships and make new friendships with many people on the bus trip.
It is hard to think of not living in Santa Clarita, or in a community that does not continuously stand together to innovate, create and inspire.
The Santa Clarita Valley is still growing, and our efforts to advocate as a community make it the wonderful community that it is.
As we all continue to make our way through these difficult economic times, it is comforting to know that individuals in our community care enough to dedicate their time to ensure that Santa Clarita will recover and stay strong.
Our advocacy is the lifeline to ensuring Santa Clarita's future. Overall, I can honestly say that this trip affects everyone and is one of the many actions that will continue to protect, innovate and improve the Santa Clarita Valley.
Paul De La Cerda is the operations and marketing director of The Signal.