CalNonprofits Articles

That’s how I felt Monday morning, the first day of the 2015 legislative session at the Capitol in Sacramento. This was my sixth “first day,” but still exciting – especially because I’m now representing the interests of our whole sector.

Jennifer is pictured here with new state senator Ben Allen, a Democrat from Santa Monica representing the 26th Senate District. Senator Allen sits on the board of The Spark Program, a non-profit organization that connects at-risk middle school students with apprenticeships.
Jennifer is pictured here with new state senator Ben Allen, a Democrat from Santa Monica representing the 26th Senate District. Senator Allen sits on the board of The Spark Program, a non-profit organization that connects at-risk middle school students with apprenticeships.
Listening to the Governor give an unprecedented fourth inaugural address, we heard his priorities emerge: setting more ambitious climate change goals, building the high speed rail system, promoting more “subsidiarity” across programs (the Governor’s preferred term for localized decision-making), and his now-routine reminder to state lawmakers about his desire to see California live within our means (a not-so-gentle warning that he won’t likely smile on proposals for new state spending).

 

I was fortunate to attend the swearing-in ceremony for Attorney General Kamala Harris, where she provided a run-down of first-term accomplishments and confronted the national issue of the loss of trust between communities and law enforcement. She said, "As law enforcement leaders, we must confront this crisis of confidence. We must acknowledge that too many have felt the sting of injustice." To that end, she announced that within 90 days, the Department of Justice will release a review on how the agency trains special agents on bias and the use of force. And she pledged to work closely with state and local law enforcement agencies and communities to strengthen “mutual trust.”From there I attended several receptions, where I lost count of the conversations I had, but figure it was around 15 state legislators, a mayor or two and more than 90 other state policy executives, staff, lobbyists, and advocates. It was great to share with each of them the news that I’m now representing the “chamber of commerce for California’s nonprofit sector” and to let them know that causes count in California and that they’d be seeing me in their offices soon to talk about ways we might work together.

And now we brace for the onslaught of bill introductions…every year nearly 2,000 bills emerge during January and February and we must sift through them looking for ways that our sector might be adversely or positively affected. Stay tuned!

I hope you’ll share some of my enthusiasm and get active with CalNonprofits on state policy issues. If I’ve learned anything in “school,” it’s that engagement is everything…I can make all sorts of friends in Sacramento and even have a solid cause and righteous message, but voters and community leaders bringing their insights to the table and connecting with their elected officials are the linchpin.

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