Yesterday, on July 21, the Chamber hosted its Listening Tour event with special guest Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi. The state legislator discussed his policies for 2020 and held a constructive conversation with the local small businesses who were in attendance as well as his constituents from Torrance and Gardena, CA.
Here are 4 things that we learned and took away from yesterday’s discussion:
1. His office is working full-time to support small businesses.
“One of the first things that I did since the start of the pandemic was to reach out to our local small businesses to offer my support.”
The Assemblymember described his multiple efforts to support the local small businesses in his district from visiting them personally, to hosting virtual town halls, to connecting them to the Small Business Administration and local small business support centers. Additionally, he shared that he generally opposes any bills that bring undue burden on small businesses, especially during this time of great challenge to small business owners.
Costs for small businesses have inevitably increased since the pandemic, but the Assemblymember is actively trying to mitigate these costs by prioritizing healthcare for those who can no longer access it through their employer due to job loss and by advocating for business interruption insurance.
If you are in his district or are hoping to find more resources, you may contact his office by visiting his website or calling them at (310) 375-0691.
2. Once he realized that virtual connection was the new normal, he started working to provide internet access across California.
“I believe that this is an investment not only in terms of dealing with the current realities of the COVID-19 economy, but also a long-term investment…”
After having difficulty obtaining high speed internet for a campaign office in his district, the Assemblymember decided to work toward a Broadband Infrastructure Bond to try to get more state funding invested in a broadband infrastructure that would address internet accessibility throughout California. He stated that rural and low-income housing do not have access to high-speed internet and Californians in these communities need adequate access in order to adapt to the virtual options now available (ie. distance learning, tele-commuting, and tele-health.)
3. Prior to the pandemic, Assemblymember Muratsuchi had planned a bill to open a trade office with Japan.
Through AB 2135, the Assemblymember was pursuing a second attempt at reopening a California office of trade in Tokyo, Japan, to encourage investment in California. Inspired by his childhood on US military bases in Japan, his hope was to promote Japanese investments in CA to retract and retain major Japanese companies and investments. The cities that he represents (Torrance and Gardena, CA) are home to various Japanese companies and he sees the potential for a thriving and mutually-beneficial relationship between the Californian and Japanese businesses.
The Assemblymember had to drop bill due to the pandemic and as a result of re-prioritizing once the stay-at-home orders had hit, but the CalAsian Chamber offers global business services through the Sacramento MBDA Center and has made trade missions in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and more. Until Asm. Muratsuchi can fully realize AB 2135, visit the Sacramento MBDA website to see how you can connect your business on a global scale.
4. The Assemblymember represents the 25% of API citizens among his constituents.
As the Listening Tour came to a close, we reminded our audience that there is no better time to be counted in this year’s Census than now. With 25% of Asm. Muratsuchi’s constituents being APIs and with APIs being the group least likely to complete the Census, we thought it was of the utmost importance to share the worth of representation.
The Assemblymember made it apparent that he valued his small business community, representation and accessibility for Californians, and the cultural enrichment that our API communities bring to their regions. While he still would have done the work for this community, he would not know that he represented that 25% were it not for the Census.
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi’s speech defined his priorities and his policies for 2020. He showed genuine concern and understanding toward the variety of questions that were asked during the event. Overall, it was a productive segment for everyone involved and we are grateful for everyone’s participation!
The CalAsian Chamber hosts Listening Tours throughout the year, bringing together locally elected leaders and the citizens they govern, for a chance to hold an honest conversation and discussion between our small business community and the elected officials that represent them.
If you missed out on this Listening Tour, we have made the event available to watch on-demand here. We have more Listening Tour events scheduled for this year. Sign up for our exclusive newsletter or follow us on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) so you can add these events to your calendar.
See you at the next Listening Tour!