May 21, 2013
For immediate release:
On May 20 and 21, over 60 representatives from 13 Jewish organizations across California came to Sacramento to participate in the 2013 Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) Advocacy Day in Sacramento. Advocates heard from high-ranking public officials including State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and Assembly Speaker John Perez who received JPAC’s 2013 Legislator of the Year Award.
JPAC Advocacy Day is an annual mission to Sacramento that brings together lay leaders and staff from Jewish organizations all over California, including Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Relations Councils, and Jewish Family and Children’s Services, as well as nationally known organizations including the Ant-Defamation League, Hadassah, and the National Council of Jewish Women. It is an opportunity to come together in Sacramento and strengthen relationships, discuss policy, and represent the greater Jewish community statewide to our legislators.
The event kicked off Monday night as over 20 legislators joined JPAC advocates at a reception at the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento to mingle and schmooze, including Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), Asm. Bob Blumenfield, Asm. Achadjian, Asm. Fox, Asm. Adrin Nazarian, and Asm Mark Levine. They mingled with Rabbi Doug Kahn, executive director of the Bay Area’s Jewish Community Relations Council, Anita Friedman, JFCS executive director, and multiple heads of local JCRC’s and Federations. At the reception, JPAC also honored Assembly Speaker John Perez with the Jerry Sampson Award, which recognizes and honors a California State Legislator who embodies the spirit and dedication to good civic government and whose leadership and advocacy on behalf of the organized Jewish community’s priority concerns have been exemplary. Speaker Perez regaled the crowd with stories of conversations with the likes of Governor Jerry Brown and Senate President Pro tem about Jewish values and the definition of Yiddish terms.
On Tuesday May 21, JPAC hosted two panel discussions: the first on the intersection of gun violence and mental health and the second on the Israel/CA trade relationship. The first panel featured State Senator Kevin De Leon, Assembly member Nancy Skinner, and Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of CA, Rusty Selix. The second panel featured Assembly member Bob Blumenfield, Abigail Browning of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and Israeli Consul General of the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Andy David. The lively discussion on both panels educated and informed JPAC advocates and were useful during their legislative meetings that afternoon.
Additionally, with a strong and united voice, advocates met with over 50 senators and assembly members at the capitol and advocated on three issues. The first is the Life Act, a package of eight senate bills addressing gun safety and gun violence prevention and which closes loopholes to many existing gun safety laws. The second was AB 518, which establishes the Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS) program as a Medi-Cal eligible benefit and codifies the program in State law. The third was not a bill, but asks that law makers sign onto a letter to the UC Regents thanking them for their stance against divestment from companies that do business with Israel. This letter came about in light of the divestment activities taking place in the halls of student government on many University of California campuses. During our legislative appointments, JPAC advocates reported practically a rate of 100% support from legislators on our policy priorities for this year, and all of the advocates ended the day with a great deal of satisfaction that their voices were not only heard, but welcomed and respected by our California law makers.
Contact Julie Zeisler for more information on how to get involved with JPAC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) is the largest single-state coalition of Jewish organizations in the nation. Comprised of local Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Relations Committees and Councils, and other Jewish community advocacy groups from throughout California we advocate on behalf of Jewish social service agencies, traditional community concerns, and broadly shared values that affect the citizens of our State. Click here for more information.