Looking to bring Santa Clarita Valley concerns front and center for California lawmakers, KHTS is taking its eighth annual trip to Sacramento in March.
The trip will give local residents a chance to voice their concerns in front of an audience of legislators that will be able to address these issues, a rare opportunity that most communities aren’t afforded, said KHTS station owner Carl Goldman. The trip has also spawned a similar voyage to the nation's capitol later this year, which still has seats available.
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“Our KHTS Sacramento trip gives us a chance to make an impact on the top issues in our valley,” Goldman said. “No other community does anything like this, so we leave a lasting impression on our state politicians.”
It will also give concerned citizens a chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect, with Sacramento’s movers and shakers.
Assemblyman Scott Wilk, a longtime Santa Clarita Valley political voice that has made the trip a half-dozen times as an advocate for local issues, now will be there involved in the trip at the other side of the table, after being elected in November to his first term in the Legislature
“There’s value on a number of levels,” Wilk said. “It’s an opportunity for community leaders and emerging community leaders to be together for a set amount of time.”
Due the big impacts that higher education and the film industry have on the Santa Clarita Valley, education and Hollywood are among the many areas of concern Wilk expects to address during the trip. But he looks forward to hearing from all sectors of the valley, he said.
“We bring in decision-makers to share input on what’s going on in Sacramento with our community,” he said. “It’s a chance to strengthen relationships and forge new ones.” Wilk is on a number of committees  that will impact legislation in California.
The idea that started as a conversation between the Assemblyman Keith Richman and Goldman at a charity event in 2005, has blossomed into a communitywide annual tradition that incorporates a broad cross-section of the Santa Clarita Valley.
It’s also inspired a trip to Washington D.C. that is also a growing KHTS tradition that still has spots available, for those who would like to create and shape dialogue on a national level with influential leaders such as Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita.
Richman felt most of our community leaders didn’t have an understanding of the challenges our state legislative officials faced in Sacramento.
The two thought it would be a great idea to invite a number of community leaders to visit Sacramento and learn about these challenges. Thus, the Sacramento Road Trip was created.
The trip serves multiple purposes, Goldman said.
The trip is not just about partisanship, but bringing home local concerns for state lawmakers. In that respect, Gov. Jerry Brown’s comments on the need for compromise, which he made during last year’s trip still ring true, as far as issues facing local leaders.
“We have different filters, different belief systems. Whether it’s Republican or Democrat, whatever the label is, we have some tough decisions, whether it’s getting more money for the schools, whether it’s the realignment to make sure that lower level offenders are handled at the local level closer to their communities; or whether it’s the water, getting reliable water through the delta or how to fix the pensions, what are the costs and how to fix it,” Brown said.
“There is a path of common sense that makes sense to me, but not to everybody,” he continued. “We can’t be all one party, and can’t always get what you want. But you have to think a little bit like them, and hope they think a little bit like you.”
In the past, it’s helped inspire residents to become more involved  in political activism. It’s also helped politicians know what issues Santa Clarita Valley residents care about .
Last year, 80 Santa Clarita Valley people – 60 of them riding a red charter bus and 20 flying into Sacramento – converged on the capitol, looking for some face time and answers.
This year, the same number is already booked.
While this year’s Sacramento trip is sold out, it’s not too late to head to Washington, D.C. for the station’s annual trip to the nation’s capitol , a newer tradition that’s gaining in popularity.
Anyone interested in signing up for the Washington D.C. trip should call KHTS at 661-298-1220, and ask for Carl Goldman, or email us a Carl@hometownstation.com  or visit www.hometownstation.com  for more information/details.