LOS ANGELES COUNTY – As part of his pledge to make government more inclusive and responsive, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Empowerment Congress will host the “2009 Annual Budget Summit: We are the Second District, Empowered for Change,” Saturday, January 31 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hawthorne Memorial Center, 3901 W. El Segundo Blvd. (at Prairie Ave.)

Among the Budget Summit speakers will be State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, who will discuss the State budget deficit and resolution process and Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office Bill Fujioka, who will outline the County’s budget projections. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas will set the tone for the day, delivering the “State of the Second District” address.

“For 17 years, the Empowerment Congress has educated, engaged, and empowered constituents to take action in their communities,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who introduced the successful concept of community participation while serving as a Los Angeles City Councilmember representing the 8th Council District. After being elected to serve residents on the state level, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas continued the effort with the expansion of the Empowerment Congress to the Assembly and Senate levels.

The 2009 Budget Summit is designed to continue this effort by informing Second District’s residents on major provisions of the 2009 California State Budget and how County operations and programming may be impacted. Over 1,000 residents are expected to attend.

The Budget Summit will provide an opportunity for residents to voice their concerns and priorities as they relate to the budget and will provide a public venue for offering solutions for the district’s respective constituencies. “Our ultimate goal is to increase citizen interest and involvement in critical issues such as the budget process, healthcare, social services, public safety, small business opportunities, and job creation,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas concluded.

The Second Supervisorial District includes the cities of Carson, Compton, Culver City, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lynwood and Los Angeles. With 2.5 million residents, the Second District also includes portions of the unincorporated communities of Alondra Park, Athens, Del Aire, Dominguez, East Compton, El Camino Village, Florence, Ladera Heights, Lennox, View Park, West Athens, West Carson, West Compton and Willowbrook.

RSVP for the Budget Summit is recommended, as seating is available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Doors open at 8 a.m. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information or to RSVP, please call (213) 346-3246 or e-mail: info@empowermentcongress.org.