White House Business Roundtable in Stockton, California

On Friday, May 15th I had the opportunity to lead a White House Business Roundtable in  Stockton, California (the 69th largest city in America) located in the central valley about a hour’s drive south of Sacramento.  I met with Mayor Ann Johnston, the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce , the San Joaquin Partnership and 25 members of Stockton and San Joaquin County  diverse business community at the office of the Chamber located on Stockton’s Downtown Waterfront that is part of the Deep Water Seaport, the Port of Stockton.

The discussion was open and stimulating.  Most participants were SME’s who expressed frustration with the complexity, redundancy and sometime even contradictory regulatory environment at both the state and federal level.  They suggest that we look to streamline the regulations, reduce the bureaucracy and eliminate redundant State and Federal Regulation.  To them, this is time and money that they cannot afford. 

Many participants were unfamiliar with Federal Resources and recent legislation that supports small and medium size businesses.  The Mayor and the Chamber plan to hold a workshop to address these issues.  A resources cheat sheet would also be appreciated. 

Access to capital and availability of loans was also an issue.  There was a lot of interest and discussion around clean energy products.  More financing of these products for the customer by government would enable more customers to move to energy efficient products.

It was great to spend time in Stockton and I am looking forward to a continuing dialog and getting some things done to make it easier to do business.

Lorraine Hariton is Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the Department of State.
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