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Drought Leads Agenda For San Diego Binational Delegation Visit To Nation’s Capitol

Evening Edition host Peggy Pico speaks with CEO and President of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Jerry Sanders and San Diego Councilman David Alvarez to discuss their priorities for the binational delegation of business and community leaders meeting in Washington, D.C.

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California's drought is at the top of the agenda for a San Diego binational delegation heading to Washington, D.C. this weekend. The 150-member delegation has community and business leaders, as well as elected officials, who will meet with lawmakers to discuss issues that are critical to San Diego and Baja California.

The annual event is organized through the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The group’s priorities include water security. They plan on holding a water roundtable to examine the California Drought Relief Act of 2015, authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif).

The delegation includes San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas.

San Diego Councilman David Alvarez, who represents District 8, will also be there to participate in discussions about cross-border trade and infrastructure.

Alvarez and chamber President Jerry Sanders joined Midday Edition Thursday to discuss their priorities for the three-day visit to Washington, D.C.

"Everybody thinks they know San Diego because it's a military town," Sanders said. "People in D.C. don't understand that we're a biotech hub and that we have an international border right in city limits."

He said the large bipartisan, binational delegation gets lawmakers' attention. The delegation meets with local members of Congress, as well as those from other states.

"They need to hear from people who are living it day in and day out," Alvarez said.

Alvarez, who has chaired the city's environment committee for five years, said he hopes to talk with lawmakers about how San Diego can "really control our destiny" when it comes to the water supply and water costs.

Alvarez said he also wants to discuss border infrastructure. His district includes San Ysidro.

"Oftentimes we think of the border as a secluded area where things just happen within the border area," Alvarez said. "But in order to get things moving and our economy moving, we need to make sure federal improvements to border infrastructure benefit the region," Alvarez said.

Key areas to be addressed include:

Water:

-Support for the Pure Water San Diego program, including securing a permanent waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency for the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Veterans:

-Support for the Military Transition Support Project in San Diego County.

Housing & Urban Development:

-Update federal funding formula for homeless services.

International Trade:

-Improvements at existing Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

-Approval of free trade agreements.

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