CAP2 discusses public issues

Robert Mullen, Reporter

Bakersfield College hosted the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, the California Prosperity Project (CAP2), the Business Political Action Committee, and several other nonpartisan advocacy groups during a Central Valley legislative forum held at the Fireside Room on Nov. 1.

The forum was primarily a panel to discuss questions posed by the audience, which included business owners, community members, representatives from other politicians, and students from BC.

Speakers were congressman David Valadao, Sen. Jean Fuller, and assembly members Shannon Grove and Rudy Salas, the only democrat, all elected officials from the southern San Joaquin valley.

Water took center stage as the issue hot on all the speakers’ minds. While Fuller and Valadao were directly asked to speak on the question by moderator Cindy Paulard, both Salas and Grove took time during their comments on other questions to talk about the problem.

Infrastructure, environmental and conservational law, farm water shortages, and even water problems in other areas of California were mentioned.

“Water is a huge issue, and conveyance is probably the most important issue for our area,” said Fuller while she told the audience of a plan that she has been working on to build a tunnel or pipe to transport more water to southern California.

Local business was another topic that received a great deal of attention. Grove and Valadao, both small business owners spoke in great detail about what they had done to help businesses and told stories of business that had heavy government interference. Valadao even talked about butting heads in congress with republicans over previous issues, particularly the farm bill, citing his expertise and experience as a current dairy owner.

Veteran affairs were also heavily touched upon. Salas discussed a bill that his office had worked on which would forbid potential employers from discriminating against former military members.

Grove, a former army veteran, also expressed support for veterans returning home, stating, “I think our military personnel should have the opportunity to come back and get a job.”

Other issues that received some attention included immigration, the new California term limits, expanding energy in California, both in current forms and renewable energy, and, of course, job creation.