Yesterday, RCRC President and CEO Greg Norton co-chaired a discussion on the importance of elevating rural California ahead of California Forward’s California Economic Summit (Summit) in Sonoma County.  The Elevate Rural California discussion focused on the role that rural California plays in the overall prosperity of the state, and the goal of the Summit is to connect regional and state leaders to develop a shared agenda to generate jobs and improve regional competitiveness.  This year’s Summit brought together state, regional, and community champions to collaborate and adopt initiatives for fueling job creation and creating a stronger economy. 

Mr. Norton described the rural-urban divide in California, and its impact upon the state as a whole.  “As investment and development have followed population growth, rural California has not received the appropriate allocation of resources to maintain its foundational infrastructure – water, sewer, transportation systems – nor to develop a robust broadband system,” outlined Norton.  “Investment in infrastructure and deployment of broadband throughout rural California would be game changers.”

Mr. Norton concluded his remarks with a call to action – “Let’s invest in rural California, and in doing so, lift the whole state – economically, environmentally, and equitably.  Let’s harness the innovation and problem solving that Californians are known for to take advantage of all the opportunities the entire state of California – both urban and rural – have to offer.”

RCRC Chair Rex Bohn (Humboldt) and RCRC Delegate Supervisors Bob Williams (Tehama), Kevin Cann (Mariposa), and Lynda Hopkins (Sonoma) joined Mr. Norton and RCRC staff at both the Elevate Rural California discussion, and various Summit working sessions.