California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley
Mayor Swearengin has been a key player in the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, an unprecedented public-private initiative focused on improving the eight-county region’s economic vitality and quality of life.
Gov. Schwarzenegger created the Partnership by executive order in June 2005 and charged it with addressing the challenges of the region by implementing measureable actions on economic, environmental and societal levels to help the region emerge as California’s 21st Century Opportunity.
Mayor Swearengin served as the Partnership’s lead executive since its inception until she took office as Mayor of Fresno. As the lead executive, she led the Partnership’s efforts to build cooperation across jurisdictions and foster collaboration among the Valley’s business, government, nonprofit and community sectors. She also coordinated the implementation of the Partnership’s 10-year Strategic Action Proposal, a comprehensive plan with overall strategies and specific actions to address the region’s challenges.
The Partnership Board includes eight Cabinet secretaries; a public sector member and private sector member from each of the region’s eight counties; and regional consortia representatives for economic development, health care, higher education, transportation, and workforce development. The Cabinet secretaries, key players in coordinated state government engagement in the Partnership’s efforts, represent California’s resources; business, transportation, and housing; environmental protection; health and human services; labor and workforce development; education; and consumer services agencies.
The Partnership’s activities are focused around ten Work Groups:
- Advanced Communications Services and Information Technology;
- Air Quality;
- Economic Development;
- Health and Human Services;
- Higher Education and Workforce Development;
- K-12 Education (later changed to PreK-12 Education to recognize the importance of preschool to overall educational efforts);
- Land Use, Agriculture, and Housing;
- Water Quality, Supply and Reliability.
The California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley represents the boldest movement of civic leadership the region has ever seen. For the first time, representatives from the public and private sectors from all eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley are working together to find and implement solutions that will improve the quality of life for all in the region. Time and again, parochial interests are being set aside to pursue regional interests in the Partnership’s work.
The Partnership’s major successes include:
- Formed inter-regional partnerships to successfully secure Trade Corridor Improvement Fund projects;
- Passage of the high-speed rail bond;
- Transportation planning agencies from all 8 counties have joined together to address cross-county and cross-regional issues and to provide input into the Blueprint process;
- The Economic Development Corporations and the K-12 superintendents from throughout the Valley also have joined forces to attack shared concerns;
- $1 billion earmark for Highway 99;
- $3.5 million in additional workforce training funds;
- $5 million for the UC Merced medical school;
- $1 million for a telemedicine network at UC Merced that will provide much-needed access to health care in underserved areas of the region;
- Launch of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization and national partnership with the national 25x’25 Alliance. The Valley will serve as a 25x’25 Alliance pilot project to focus on the renewable energy potential of the Valley;
- Developing consensus in the region on high-speed rail routes and goods movement projects;
- Creation of the San Joaquin Valley Housing Trust to help jurisdictions achieve their housing goals;
- Promoting a region-wide integrated water management plan and comprehensive water solutions that meet the long-term needs of the Valley and the state;
- Through its Transportation and Advanced Communications Services work groups, the Partnership is committed to working with Caltrans, the Public Utilities Commission, and the California Emerging Technology Fund to facilitate agreements with industry on how to ensure ubiquitous broadband access for Valley residents;
- Helping to create five new enterprise zones in the Valley;
- Connecting Valley legislators and social service agencies and providers to address prevention, education, treatment, and long-term recovery efforts related to methamphetamine and other substances;
- Working to improve student achievement by helping Valley education leaders deal more effectively with students who are learning English.