This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
Fresno, Tulare County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter


By Juan Arambula

Candidate for Member of the State Assembly; District 31

This information is provided by the candidate
Fresno County has a critical role to play in economic development, to help generate sustainable, good-paying jobs for Valley families. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors is working diligently to provide leadership, as well as the staffing and financial resources necessary, to address this challenging problem.
There is a pressing need to create new job opportunities in our Valley. Fresno City's unemployment rate is 2.5 times greater than any other California city its size. Most rural communities have unemployment rates over 20%, with several exceeding 30%, even during the peak summer months for agricultural work. These grim statistics affect all of us, and represent staggering costs to our communities, straining our city and county budgets to the breaking point.

The good news is that elected and community leaders throughout the County are committed to creating a diverse economic base and providing existing and new employers with a well-trained workforce. The County has a critical role to play in economic development. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors is working diligently to provide leadership, as well as the staffing and financial resources necessary, to address this challenging problem.

The solution is three-fold: 1) We must make sure communities have the needed infrastructure to support local industries and successfully compete for new employers; 2) We must expand the number of quality job opportunities; and 3) We must provide employers with a skilled workforce.

To create a diversified industrial and economic base, the County is working to develop two Industrial Corridors along Manning Avenue and Golden State Boulevard. To find creative ways to lessen the economic impacts of retiring 200,000 acres of farmland in Western Fresno County is another serious challenge.

The Fresno Regional Jobs Initiative (RJI), bringing together leaders from both the public and private sectors, is committed to reducing unemployment and encouraging economic development in our region. The RJI's goal is to create 25,000 new jobs within 5 years, at an average salary of $30,000. Task forces have been created to identify existing and emerging industry clusters in our region, and develop strategies to support and expand those industries. When completed, RJI's efforts will have an economic impact of $885 million per year. RJI will hold a Jobs Summit on September 12th to analyze, refine, and evaluate the RJI mission and strategies, and how best to implement them.

The second key to our success is a well-trained workforce. Before deciding to expand or locate new businesses in Fresno County, employers must have confidence they can hire and retain trained and productive employees. There are many communities in our region where fewer than 30% of the residents are high school graduates and fewer than 5% are college graduates. Fortunately, many workers possess a strong work ethic, despite their lack of formal education, and can be trained to improve their job skills.

The County is making every effort to acquire the necessary funding to create two Regional Vocational Training Facilities, one on the East side and another on the County's West side, where training resources are scarce and unemployment rates are among the worst in the state. The RJI will also work to strengthen the partnership between employers and our local educational community as they create and implement industry-specific training programs.

The third critical component is developing the necessary infrastructure to support industrial development and expansion. Issues such as ready-to-go sites at industrial parks, adequate transportation systems, and water and sewer issues must all be addressed if we are to attract and maintain the kinds of industries that offer the wages and benefits our citizens need and deserve. Several County communities have made great strides, but much more needs to be done, and the County stands ready to assist.

We all recognize that economic development is a complex issue. There is no single "silver bullet" which provides an instant solution. Companies with good wages and benefits will come and stay, but only if we provide clean air, safe streets, quality education and affordable housing. Progress is now being made in each of these important areas. At the same time, we must concentrate on creating a more diversified economic base so our residents can earn the wages they need to support themselves and their families.

The challenge of rebuilding our communities and significantly reducing our high unemployment may seem overwhelming, but we cannot and will not give-up. These ambitious job creation efforts have real potential to improve our local economy, while creating a more prosperous future for our children and a better place for all of us to live.

Next Page: Position Paper 2

Candidate Page || Feedback to Candidate || This Contest
November 2004 Home (Ballot Lookup) || About Smart Voter

ca/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 15, 2004 07:02
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.