About One Voice
Why “One Voice”?
One Voice is a coalition of business representatives, elected officials, and city and county staff, who travel to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to present issues of regional significance to federal and state legislators.
Due to its smaller population, the San Joaquin Valley has rarely been able to secure needed funding from state and federal programs, which are usually paid on a per capita (population) basis. But, with growth for the valley projected to double or, in some areas, even triple, the Governing Board of the Merced County Association of Governments decided it was time to be more proactive in legislative affairs. The Board asked staff to develop a program where all Merced County interests could combine their efforts to advocate for issues of regional importance.
In August 2004, ”One Voice” was born. Representatives from the public and private sectors were invited to help form a program where our combined efforts would build awareness of Merced County among state and federal legislators, and where we could bring much-needed funding to our county.
One Voice Purpose:
How are issues chosen?
Issues are chosen through a Steering Committee that includes one member from each of the six cities, the county and agencies that contributed financially to the program. In past years, the committee has included a Manager from each of the cities, the County CEO, representatives with the Merced County Economic Development Corporation, Merced County Office of Education and the Merced Union High School District. New members are always welcomed and encouraged to have a voice at the table.
Has the program been successful?
Since 2004, our Congressman and Senators have requested appropriations on our behalf. Although not all projects were accepted into the appropriation bills, we have had great success in securing over $5 million for projects and programs for the Merced County region in transportation, economic development, healthcare, water and education. Click here for a complete list.
The relationship-building part of the program with legislators, staff, and key agencies cannot be measured in dollars. More and more decision-makers are becoming aware that California is more than just Hollywood, and that Merced County has needs and issues that are quite different from many other areas.
Who can join One Voice?
One Voice is open to all residents, businesses and agencies in Merced County. We begin the program in October and meet monthly to draft our agenda. Those who wish to travel to Washington, D.C. pay their own travel expenses. Sponsors pay for many of the meals and receptions to which legislators and staff are invited. During the visits and any other time the One Voice name is used, delegates must agree to promote only those issues approved by the MCAG Governing Board.
For further information, contact Lori Flanders at (209) 723-3153 x308 or email@example.com