Success In Sacramento

A few weeks ago, I was pleased to take part in the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) Annual Advocacy Day in Sacramento.  As the largest single-state coalition of Jewish organizations in the nation, we have a unique responsibility and opportunity to work towards state policies that will better enable Jewish social service agencies to serve their clients and to speak on behalf of the broader Jewish community on issues that affect us all. I have the privilege of serving on the JPAC Board on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and of working alongside a dedicated and diverse group of professionals and activists focused on improving the lives of all Californians.

This year's legislative agenda focused on three vital priorities: protecting the state's social safety-net on behalf of our most vulnerable populations amidst challenging budget negotiations; requiring schools to set stronger, more consistent policies to prevent and respond to bullying and support its victims; and putting increased pressure on CalPERS and CalSTRs to divest funds in companies with interests in Iran's energy sector in the continuing drive to assert financial pressure to stop its aggressive nuclear weapons program -- and protect our national security. After a multi-year effort, we were thrilled with the recent news that CalPERS - our nation's largest pension fund - has finally agreed to divest the targeted funds and comply with state laws that have been on the books since 2006.


(L-R) JPAC Chair Michael A. Sweet and Assembly member Bob Blumenfield
at the JPAC Advocacy Day Kick-Off Reception

Our 100+ JPAC delegates had special briefings with state leaders, including Assembly Speaker John Perez, Assembly members Bob Blumenfeld, Mike Feuer and Mike Gatto, Senator Joel Anderson, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor.  The passionate delegation met with more than half of our state legislators at the Capitol to carry the JPAC platform and honored Assembly member Mike Feuer with JPAC's prestigious Legislator of the Year Award for his unwavering commitment and service to the Jewish community and the people of California.  As a coalition we sent a powerful message and made a difference.

Hopefully you can join us in Sacramento next year for JPAC’s Annual Advocacy Day in Sacramento. The issues facing California are many and complex and the need for collaboration and conviction has never been more important.  Democracy works when we get educated and get engaged, so I urge all of you to use your voice, your talents, your relationships and participate in the political process.

To learn more about JPAC and how you can get involved, visit www.jpac-cal.org or contact Caron Spector Berkley, Director of Government Relations for the Jewish Federation, at CBerkley@JewishLA.org.

Working together we can all help bring about change that will better the lives of our friends, families and communities and safeguard our collective future.

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