By Nolan Patrick Smith
High Desert Daily
(Victorville) On Wednesday morning, the Victorville Chamber of Commerce presented the State of the County Address with guest speaker, San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt.
The event had a massive turnout, with no empty seats to be seen at any tables at the Hilton Garden Inn conference center. Everyone showed up to get some insight on our community, and to see what is on the horizon for the High Desert. Of course, jobs are a hot button issue on the minds of all, as is the progress of all the solar projects that have been spoken of recently. All these questions and more were address by Mitzelfelt, who even gave an update on a certain overpass project we have all been wondering about.
Of course, the first major announcement from the Supervisor was a personal one; he announced that he and his wife are expecting another child, an announcement that was met with applause all around. The Supervisor started the State of the County Address by speaking on the cuts of discretionary funds and block grants, both, which are extremely helpful to non-profits, as well as many other factors in the community. The Supervisor voiced his opinion on fighting to keep these funds despite the cuts, as he knows the importance they serve. He went on to speak on the budget cuts at the county level, as many examples were listed as everyone is trying to cut back in efforts to help.
“I’ve been accused of being optimistic, and I’m guilty of that,” Mitzelfelt stated in his speech. He went one to touch on job training: thousands of individuals have taken part in job training using federal funds through the County of San Bernardino, with the Workforce Investment Board (WIB) having helped more than 624 businesses find skilled employees. Next was education, which, as the Supervisor stated, affects us all. He spoke on the Air Frame Technicians school located on the Southern California Logistics Airport, which was taken over by Victor Valley College to ensure the school’s longevity. Having a skilled workforce here locally is something the Supervisor holds with utmost importance, and he thanks VVC for taking the steps to ensure that program will continue. Also in regards to VVC, Mitzelfelt stated the renewed county support for the VVC Nursing program, which High Desert Daily reported on earlier this week.
“If you got to be in California, this is a great place to be” Mitzelfelt stated in regards to business growth and growth in a locally trained workforce. Various roadway projects were touched on, such as the Ranchero project, as well as the interchange on everyone’s mind.
“La Mesa/ Nisqualli Interchange, the projects been in the works for twenty years, I’m excited to announce that today it was signed and authorized for the project to go out to bid,” the Supervisor explained to the answer of applause. The tone of the address was natural, with jokes peppered in to the crowds delight. In closing, the Supervisor summed up our county’s state with one line: “The state of our county is like our High Desert, it is resilient.”
High Desert Daily was able to speak one on one with Supervisor Mitzelfelt after the event, with the first question being directed to straight out of high school students with no training looking to join the workforce.
“We have a lot of major industries getting started in the High Desert, many have to do with renewable energy. We also have a lot going on SCLA with food industries, distribution, aviation, logistics, all manner of jobs are available in those industries. I would encourage them to talk to VVC and come to the County of San Bernardino Business Resource Center in Hesperia: they can refer many resources for finding training for jobs. Training is going to be key, as many of these jobs require some specialization, so we really rely on Victor Valley College as our job training institution.”
Next, we asked the Supervisor if he has any interest in running for the newly created 8th District in Congress.
“It’s very similar to the districts Congressman Lewis has represented in the past, I think he will probably run for that district. I will support him because he is a great rep for us and I hope he does run. If for some reason Congressman Lewis decides not to run for that, there is a very good chance I will run. That said, I am happy representing the county, I am absolutely happy where I am and I plan to run for reelection in June next year.”