Orange County Branch Newsletter

November 2015

Government Relations Committee

The Path Forward - Infrastructure Advocacy for the 21st Century in California

By: Ken Bui, PE

On October 2nd, ASCE Los Angeles Section hosted the Infrastructure Advocacy Seminar for the members in the Board Room of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Headquarters.  Nearly a hundred of our members from around Southern California attended the event, which was called “The Path Forward – Infrastructure Advocacy for the 21st Century in California.”

In his message to the members, Kenneth Rosenfield, President of Los Angeles Section wrote: “As Civil Engineers, and members of ASCE, we are bound by the basic premise that our work is to, first, protect the public safety, and, second, to improve the quality of life of all peoples.  When we identify a shortfall in public policy or funding of public infrastructure that adversely impacts the public, it is our duty to speak up and share our knowledge and experience about infrastructure.”  It was our goal to expose our members to the legislative process and the latest infrastructure initiatives.  The ultimate goal is to solicit the help of our members to act as advocate for infrastructure improvement.

With the help of members from the Section’s Government Relations Committees, we brought twelve of the most influential elected and public officials in and Southern California.  Two of whom were our keynote speakers, US Representatives Grace Napolitano and Tony Cardenas.  Both came from humble beginnings … Congresswoman Napolitano, a homemaker and a high school graduate, and Congressman Cardenas, raised by hard-working immigrant parents and graduated with an electrical engineering degree.  They shared and encouraged our members to participate in the political process.  They used their background to encourage everyone to be influential for the well-being of the communities.  Congressman Cardenas would like to see more engineers elected to Congress!

All of our guests spoke in various panels that focus on funding at State and Local levels and the priorities of transportation and water infrastructure.  All panel members agreed on the importance of the need for funding to improve, as well as maintain, our infrastructure.  It is clear that our government has many priorities; but it is up to us, as experts in the field, to raise the needs for infrastructure improvement higher in that long list of priorities.

Personally, I came away from the program inspired to contribute to the Society, and specifically, in our Branch by being an active advocate for infrastructure funding in the my local region of Orange County.

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