By Crystal Sung
Constituents and elected officials alike filed into the Toyota of El Cajon building on Dec. 12 for state Sen. Joel Anderson’s final Holiday Legislative Open House.
With thousands of attendees from all over Senate District 38 (La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon, Santee, Poway, Escondido, San Marcos, Lakeside, Valley Center, Rancho Santa Fe, Julian, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Bonsall, Borrego Springs and Fallbrook), the Toyota of El Cajon showroom was packed with lively conversation.
Everything from the venue to entertainment to details like water bottles and walkie-talkies was generously donated by community partners. The evening featured performances by community music groups such as the Tremble Clefs and the East County Youth Symphony, as well as food tables sponsored by local vendors ranging from coffee from the Santee Coffee Corner to desserts made by students of the Grossmont Union High School District culinary program. Among the vendors was the California Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization that had worked with Anderson on Senate Bill 336 to provide services to people who were wrongfully convicted of crimes.
Attendees received a 2017 legislative update, had opportunities to network, take a photo with the senator and approach constituent-service tables to propose ideas for legislation; ask for assistance with state agencies; or inquire into the award-winning internship program.
Anderson hosts the event annually for free to the public to not only celebrate the holidays, but also provide his constituents the opportunity to share their concerns and opinions with him directly to better represent them — his top priority. He considers the input invaluable because 40 percent to 60 percent of the bills he introduces are suggested by constituents.
“I want to thank everyone who made this event possible,” Anderson said. “My job is to make government work for my constituents, and I certainly would not have been able to do this event every year without our staff, interns and community sponsors. It’s heartwarming to see community come together for each other.”
—Crystal Sung is a legislative intern for the office of Sen. Joel Anderson.