AVBCC hosts town hall breakfast with Buck McKeon
Answers less than satisfactory
PALMDALE, Calif.—The Antelope Valley Black Chamber of Commerce (AVBCC) hosted a special breakfast town hall meeting with 25th District congressional representative Buck McKeon, and unfortunately, he arrived late and was only able to address a small fraction of the 15 prepared questions community members and AVBCC affiliates submitted. Some of his responses produced no satisfying answer for some attendees.
On the subject of the local economy, he was asked about his vision for Antelope Valley, but said he leaves AV’s economic development to local leaders.
“The economic development should be decided by the economic chambers, the councils, the local leaders,” he said at the breakfast. “I represent you in Washington, I live in Santa Clarita and I don’t presume to tell you how to plan your economic development.”
Audience members were quite unsatisfied with his answer. Nannette Barrie, a local Keller Williams real estate agent, commented saying she thinks he is disconnected from the community.
“He’s not really engaged with us, because a lot of the questions that were asked, he kept saying ‘I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know,’” she noted. “Specifically on economic development, he said ‘I don’t know, that’s up to the local leaders.’ But the question was what is your vision, and I think that every leader should at least have a vision for the area and then they can leave it up to the local leaders to do whatever, but at least contribute that vision.”
About bringing businesses to the area and enhancing the ones that are there, McKeon said because of the economy, many businesses and individuals are afraid to take any risks, therefore, making it difficult for the economy to flourish and return to its thriving nature. However, he did not disclose a plan of action to change this stalemate.
The “Black question,” was another disappointing answer with which several audiences members were unsatisfied.
OW Vice President/ General Manager and the event emcee David Miller asked, “The African American community is disproportionately disenfranchised by the felony check-box required on employment applications. Where is that piece of legislation to have it removed today?”
McKeon answered, “I don’t know. I serve on the education labor committee, and I serve on the armed services committee. The jurisdiction of that would probably be judiciary. I don’t know, I can’t tell you where that stands.”
McKeon’s field representative, Andre Hollings interjected saying the office will get back to AVBCC.
Jonathan Irvin, former Lancaster City Council candidate, felt McKeon’s vision, or lack thereof, was short sighted.
“I felt that he could have elaborated a little more on his answers. The recession dictates that you really need to let people know what you are going to do, when you go to Washington with the issues we are having right now,” he said. “And I wanted a more elaborate explanation on what his plan to work with the administration (is), as opposed to saying no to this and no to that. What are you for? I didn’t hear that.”
Education is a top concern for the Valley, as it is for people throughout the region. McKeon shared that reformation needs to be implemented statewide, adding that alternative education should be available for students to bring down drop-out rates. He recommended that the state should institute more apprenticeship and trade opportunities. He mentioned that college is not for everyone.
Barrie said she appreciated and agreed with McKeon’s position on education.
Veteran Antelope Valley legislators are returning to Congress and the state government facing a number of critical pocketbook issues. Below are those who have been re-elected as well as new countywide officials.
Buck McKeon will represent the 25th District which in part encompasses the cities of Palmdale, Santa Clarita, and Lancaster, all in the top 100 fastest growing cities of the U.S. The district also includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.
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