As California Forward prepares for its annual California Economic Summit, taking place this year in Kern County, we collectively welcome John Chiang and Ashley Swearengin, co-chairs of the California Forward leadership council, to our great region. It’s important that we also share some significant concerns about the economic well-being of our community.

We understand that the purpose of the California Economic Summit is “built upon the principle that regional approaches to economic problem solving are critical to ensuring all Californians, regardless of ZIP code, have the opportunity to claim their California Dream.” With that goal and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s focus on helping “regions rise,” we are eager to hear the administration’s framework for helping our region surmount very challenging times.

Ryan Alsop is the chief administrative officer of Kern County. Other signatories are Richard Chapman, president and CEO, Kern Economic Development Corp.; Michael Turnipseed, executive director, Kern County Taxpayers Association; Clint Olivier, CEO, Central Valley Business Federation; Julian Canete, president and CEO, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce; Tim Caughron, president, Kern Law Enforcement Association; David Nelson, president, Kern County Firefighters, IAFF Local 1301; Tracy Leach, director, Kern Citizens for Energy; and Nick Hill, president and CEO, Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce.