published on May 18, 2016 - 1:56 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Four of California’s leading rural business and economic development groups announced today their support for Assembly Bill 2395, which they say will help close the “digital divide” and position rural communities for private sector investment, job creation and improved quality of life.

The coalition includes the Economic Development Corporations of both Fresno and Kern counties, the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce and the Monterey County Business Council, which collectively represent nearly 2.5 million residents. Imperial CapitalVentures, a private investment firm located in Imperial County, has also endorsed AB 2395, which was authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley).

“We all agree that our rural communities need investment in broadband technologies,” said MaryAnn Leffel, president of the Monterey County Business Council.

In a letter to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), who chairs the Assembly Appropriations Committee, the coalition members said, “California’s rural communities face several economic challenges: the current water shortage, access to capital, high poverty rates and environmental challenges. Our rural communities have some of the highest poverty rates in California. Our economic development corporations are meeting those challenges by creating good paying jobs for working families, attracting and retaining businesses, utilizing innovative and sustainable business practices and implementing programs that create shared economic prosperity.”

The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 25.

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