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ASCE OC Publications: California Legislative Day in the Perspective of First-Time Attendees

Updated: May 24

On Wednesday, May 15th, ASCE Region 9 (California), in partnership with APWA California, hosted the California Legislative Day/Fly-In 2024 at Sacramento. The annual event allows ASCE/APWA members to impact the legislative process by meeting with state legislators and advocating for crucial civil engineering, public works, and infrastructure issues. 


The event is divided into two parts:

  • In the morning, attendees participate in a half-day informational program that provides an inside look at the legislative process and details on current infrastructure-related legislative issues.

  • In the afternoon, participants meet with their state legislators and/or staff to discuss these issues and advocate for solutions. 

At the end of the day, a debrief was hosted at a local Sacramento restaurant where members enjoyed appetizers and drinks to discuss their meetings throughout the day!


ASCE/APWA California Legislative Day Attendees


Brisa Bernal, a Staff Engineer with Diaz-Yourman and Associates in Santa Ana, California, and a first-time ASCE/APWA California Legislative Day attendee, shares:


"My favorite part was speaking with state legislators' staff representing my district! It's not often that you get to express your concerns with someone who has the ability to truly make a positive change in your local community, so I was happy to have the chance."


She continues, "we, as engineers, can bring a unique perspective to certain laws and regulations regarding infrastructure. We can and should continue to use our voices to advocate for what we believe is best for our industry and the people we serve."


Group Photo In Front of the State Capitol Building


Natalie Luna, a Civil Engineering Associate with the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, was another ASCE OC YMF first-time attendee. 


"I enjoyed the opportunity to advocate for infrastructure alongside fellow civil engineers with diverse specializations and varying levels of experience. It was a special moment when I realized that we were there not just as professionals sharing knowledge on familiar topics, but as constituents addressing issues that directly impact our communities."


She adds, "As constituents, it's important that we leverage our civil engineering background to shed light on the issues that impact our communities."


Brisa and Natalie In Front of the State Capitol Building


Brisa and Natalie represented their respective Orange County districts in Sacramento. As first-time attendees, they highlight ASCE and APWA efforts to equip attendees with the proper resources and information to prepare them for their meetings.


Brisa recalls, "ASCE/APWA Legislative fly-in organizers prepped us before we talked with our representatives. The whole morning was dedicated to laying out the specifics of what the civil engineering industry (at large) needs to better serve the public. With pages of printed information in hand, we also received the practical knowledge and methods to communicate that."


Natalie also shares, "I noticed the effort to form groups of professionals with diverse specializations and experience levels. The organizers meticulously arranged our group's meetings with Senators and Assemblymembers based on our respective Districts."


Shane Silsby Presenting During the Morning Session


When asked if they recommend California Legislative Day to future OC YMF members,


Natalie responds, "Yes, I would definitely recommend it, and I look forward to attending again if given the opportunity."


Brisa adds, "I recommend the Legislative Day to anyone interested in how our lawmakers influence our industry and who is passionate about making an impact. As a younger member, I met more experienced engineers who helped me feel confident in the sessions, so don't be nervous [if it's your first Fly-In]! You won't be on your own!"


State Capitol Building


Did you miss ASCE/APWA California Legislative Day 2024? Don't fret! You can get involved in infrastructure advocacy all year round as an ASCE Key Contact here: https://www.asce.org/advocacy/key-contacts!


Finally, thank you to all 2024 ASCE/APWA California Legislative Day sponsors! Their generosity made breakfast, lunch, and materials provided at the event free of charge. 


 

About the Author:


The ASCE Orange County Publications Committee, led by Marionne Lapitan (Publications Chair/Newsletter Editor-In-Chief), coordinates articles with ASCE OC technical institutes and committees. They are responsible for reviewing and organizing the collected articles to publish the official ASCE OC bi-monthly newsletters. 


The committee is looking for volunteers! Do you appreciate documenting the legacy of ASCE and being connected to our key members? Being a part of the Publications Committee is an excellent opportunity to learn the process and broaden your contacts. We are looking for individuals to volunteer about 2-3 hours per month to assist in uploading newsletter articles, tracking our events, and learning our internal management software. 


For more information, please contact pc@asceoc.org.

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