Photo credit: Andie Castañeda/Supervisor Curt Hagman’s Office – Fourth District
By Monique Valadez
CHINO – San Bernardino County Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman joined dozens of state and local district representatives at Chino Airport on Wednesday, Oct. 21 for the newly-formed Inland Empire Field Representative group.
Initiated by Senator Connie Leyva’s (D-Chino) San Bernardino District Representative Henry Castillo earlier this year, the Inland Empire group is comprised of district aides, elected official’s field representatives and staff throughout the Inland Empire. The group meets quarterly at various locations hosted by a representative’s department.
“Fostering partnerships was the goal when we first started these meetings with Inland Empire representatives,” Castillo, a seasoned district aide said. “Growing up in Pomona, I knew the political climate here is really splintered. When I ran it by Senator Leyva and staff, they thought it was a great way to foster partnerships with all the other levels of government in our area.”
Castillo also highlights that the Inland Empire group was developed to discuss hot issues, learn about the Inland Empire’s points of interest and improve their relationships with constituents.
“Most of the time a constituent will call a state representative office with a federal issue or a county issue and instead of just giving them a number for them to call we can actually refer them to a specific person and follow up with that representative personally,” he said.
Hosted by Hagman’s office this month, the group gathered at The Planes of Fame Air Museum at Chino Airport for a docent-led tour, a lunch discussion on airport’s economic development plans and an airplane restoration demonstration by Aerotrader.
“Given the recent success of the county on developing Chino and control of Ontario airports, it’s only fitting that this group meet at Chino Airport,” Hagman said. “It’s the perfect setting to build working relationships, improve our leadership and explore the county’s gems.”
The group was guided through the museum’s hangars filled with historical aircrafts including the museum’s rare P-38 Lightning exhibit featuring WWII 475th Fighter Group artifacts.
Matt Smith, a museum guide for over two years, corralled the pack along the well-manicured hangars of the museum while some of the patrons lost themselves in the exhibits snapping photos of a bygone era.
“The museum’s history is mind boggling,” Smith, a retired employee from Northrup Grumman said. “As a docent, every tour is a learning experience for me. I’m always learning from the guests.”
Following the guided tour, guests were treated to pizza and a quick recap of the district’s upcoming development goals.
According to Hagman, the county is currently assembling money and muscle for future development of Chino Airport, one of the busiest county airports.
“We’re aiming for big results this year,” the supervisor said. “Chino Airport is underutilized and we hope to bring FedEx very soon as an anchor tenant bringing more jobs and revenue to the area.”
Hagan also mentioned his efforts to expand the underutilized Prado Regional Park in Chino and the county’s recent regain of control of Ontario International Airport.
Castillo admits that since starting this group, participants have been astonished with what they have learned from the group’s quarterly gatherings.
“It’s surprising how many parts of the Inland Empire we are unfamiliar with or resources we are not aware of,” Castillo expressed. “By having these quarterly meetings in different locations it’s a great way to highlight and learn about the different resources available in our areas.”
About 15 people attended the meeting at Chino Airport, and while the group will continue to grow and learn, Castillo hopes to accomplish strong working relationships to solve constituent issues.
“A couple of months ago, I called both the county and the city to resolve a new rehabilitation center licensing question from a resident,” Castillo said. “I was able to depend on the relationships built through our I.E. Representatives meeting to not only educate myself on the issue but also the concerned constituents.”
Photo by Monique Valadez
Inland Empire Field Representatives gather at Chino’s Planes of Fame Air Museum to form an alliance to build stronger bonds and effective leadership.