Placer supes, staff jetting to D.C. for annual federal lobbying trip

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Two Placer County supervisors and three top staffers are making a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., to huddle with Capitol officials next week on current and future federal funding and partnerships.

Making the cross-country trek and Washington visit between Monday and Feb. 14 are Supervisors Jim Holmes, whose district takes in part of North Auburn, and Jennifer Montgomery,  whose district includes Auburn.

County CEO David Boesch, executive office Principal Management Analyst Allison Carlos, and Loren Clark, Community Development and Resource Agency assistant director, will also be part of the county contingent.

Holmes said that while Washington, D.C., is far away, county representatives can always point to Lake Tahoe to provide Capitol officials with a sense of where the county is.

“We go back every year, and I see the value of that because not only do we meet elected officials but, more importantly, staff officials who know what we’re doing in Placer County,” Holmes said.

In December, supervisors approved out-of-county travel for Holmes, Montgomery and staff. At the time, Carlos said that the total estimated travel, lodging and food cost would be about $1,200 to $1,600 for each participant. In total, the bill will be an estimated $6,000 to $8,000.

Holmes said he’ll be splitting his costs between the county and the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency. Holmes, the agency chairman this year, will represent county transportation interests with Executive Director Celia McAdam.  

The intent of the trip is to meet with elected or appointed officials of the U.S. government to advocate for legislative and regulatory interests of the county, Carlos said.

Rich Gold, the county’s representative with Washington’s Holland & Knight lobbying firm, said that the in-person visits are critical.

Gold said county representatives with Holland & Knight talk to elected officials on an almost daily basis in Washington. But visits from Placer County representatives bring to life the needs back in California and the chance for federal collaboration or funding, he said.

“It’s incredibly valuable, and I think the county has seen benefit from the early days of redoing Foresthill Road with federal assistance to the widening of I-80 to, now, the wastewater plan – and on to the habitat conservation plan,” Gold said.

New university proposals and work on the Placer Parkway through-route in South Placer County will also require federal coordination, he said. Holland & Knight has a $143,640 lobbying and advocacy contract with the county that was renewed for 2014 in December.