My First Cap to Cap Experience
On Saturday, April 30, I joined 300 regional delegates, as we embarked on the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s 50th annual Capital to Capital (C2C) advocacy trip to Washington DC. Our delegation included, elected officials, business leaders, nonprofit and community organizations, and advocates, that united around advocacy for the Sacramento Region. There are representatives of all six counties and 22 cities that make up our region, pursuing 12 tracks, or issues, including Air Quality, Civic Amenities, Community Resources, Economic Development, Flood Protection, Food & Ag, Health Care, Land Use & Natural Resources, Public Safety, Transportation, Water Resources, and Workforce & Education. I was a proud member of the Air Quality team.
My schedule included six meetings with our Congressional leadership in both the Senate and the House, their staffs, staff to the minority and the majority Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. In each meeting, our team was met with enthusiasm and understanding around our two air quality issues: Future Mobility and Wildfire & Forest Health. Often, the people in the room knew nearly as much about each issue as we did, and we were glad to know that the details of our lived experience were being expressed and appreciated at the highest levels of government. It was also very eye opening for me to learn there are so many champions of the work that Breathe California Sacramento Region is doing. In all of our communities, we share similar challenges such as, how we move around our region, and the need for better air quality and improved public health.
In 2021, Valley Vision and the Chamber coordinated virtual advocacy trips where we were able to refine the issue papers and meet with our representatives in DC. After attending in person this year, I see how different an experience it is to be there and why this trip has the reputation for being the premier networking opportunity for regional leaders. I came home buzzing with a stack of business cards and several opportunities to work with professionals I have never worked with before. The experience of physically being there wasn’t just about meeting the right people, it was also about experiencing a new city and bringing back ideas for how we can improve on some things here. One thing that stood out to me right away was how easy it was to get around Washington DC. There are multiple bike shares – both public and private, shareable electric scooters everywhere, cabs abundant, and one of the cleanest, most efficient underground train systems I’ve ever used. When the trip was all said and done, I took 77,000 steps, cycled nearly 20 miles on shared bikes, rode the metro twice, and only took two Ubers. It was an awesome experience seeing how well a city can be adapted to accommodate active transportation, and how great infrastructure begets usership.
In the past, I have staffed executives who participated in the trip. I worked at the Chamber where I helped prepare materials for the trip. But this was the first time I was able to attend and represent an organization and cause that I care deeply about. Yes, the meetings and the networking were important, but most importantly, I was able to spread the word about what BREATHE is doing and how important our work is to the Sacramento Region and beyond. I was able to speak truth to power about how badly we need first mile and last mile transportation options, increased funding for infrastructure that really connects communities and creates opportunities, and to keep hardening our community against the impacts of climate change. It has becoming increasingly obvious that it is those in frontline communities who continue to disproportionately suffer the consequences of poor decisions made in the past. It was an eye-opening experience; one I’ll never forget and something I hope I’ll get to do again in the future.