What We Learned from our Meet & Greet with Assemblymember McCarty

On July 11, 2019, Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce hosted a Meet & Greet with Assembly Member Kevin McCarty. The purpose of our Meet and Greet event is to provide a roundtable for the local business community to discuss issues in the region. The event took place at Classy Hippie Tea Company, a local tea retailer and community center and proud SACC member, in Oak Park.

As a former Sacramento City Council, Assembly Member Kevin McCarty represents the 7th Assembly District which includes Sacramento, West Sacramento, and parts of unincorporated Sacramento County. McCarty serves this district tackling issues such as access to high-quality education and economic growth. We have this event to provide a space for the local business community to directly discuss with their elected official on the policies impacting their business. In this blog, we have re-capped the evening covering topics from education, employment, homelessness, and state policies.

Higher education for higher revenue

Assembly Member McCarty believes in supporting small businesses through high-quality education. High-quality education prepares for a competitive workforce. And a competitive workforce is your business’s future. He stated that Sacramento is losing workers to the Bay Area. One solution McCarty proposed is ensuring a pipeline in high school and community college are equipped for employment needs. For example, supporting Career Technical Education (CTE) provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners. McCarty is a proponent CTE so that workers are prepared for the business and employment of this region. McCarty stated, “Let’s face it, the good-paying job have higher training.” McCarty advocates for technical education to be a source for the employment and the economic growth in Sacramento. To recruit and hire skilled workers means you can grow your business and contribute to a competitive workforce.

The presence of homeless in small businesses

One of the questions asked was what actions are being taken to address the homeless population surrounding small businesses. At the state level, McCarty works with local government to provide resources to do what they think works best. McCarty gave the example of supporting sanctions, tents city, for people who live near the freeway. “Homelessness is a terrible condition and it is heartbreaking,” McCarty stated; “we are all in this together.” Continuing with, “if you ask a homeless person where they are from and they will answer, Oak Park.” “If you ask where they went to school, they will answer Sac High.” “They are from our neighborhood. It is an epidemic across in our nation and here, in California,” McCarty concluded: “we need to own up to the issue of homelessness and we need to step up.” Supporting efforts to eliminate homelessness can decrease the presence in your business community.

Vacant lots turn into businesses

McCarty shared that in California, there are two policies with the specific objective of economic vibrancy. These two policies: Opportunity Zones and Tax Benefits Program. McCarty describes both are in favor of small business. McCarty gave the example of Oak Park. For a long time, Oak Park had several vacant lots. There are reasons that the private sector, banks, and investors built their businesses in Midtown and downtown. McCarty calls on the accountability of local government to save and find resources for local businesses. He describes the tax benefit is an incentive for areas that have been left behind to allow the city to use the tax dollar that would otherwise go to City Hall instead be spent on streets improvements, sewerage improvements, lightening improvements. Otherwise, businesses can’t happen. McCarty argues California new policies focus on basic infrastructure to make businesses like yours to thrive. 

So what’s the point?

The discussion closed with having a strong education and small business community will allow for an increase in jobs and wealth of our city and state. Be part of the conversation surrounding your business. Staying informed with local government news and policies will give you the benefit of having a seat at the table for your business to prosper. 

There is value in participating in local government and finding the resources that work best for your business. Here, at the Chamber, we work with small business needs such as providing the space to talk to their elected official. We believe in keeping our members informed with policies that affect the current market for the sustainability of the local business community.

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