Legislative Summit 2021

In April 2021, the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce was honored to bring you our 8th Annual Legislative Summit in spite of the COVID crisis. While we are unable to gather in one location, we were still able to pull together our elected officials who represent all of South County. 

We hold this event each year to allow business owners and residents the opportunity to hear from their representatives. The Legislative Summit supports the Chamber’s ongoing role as Gilroy’s leading business and advocacy organization representing the interests of business with government along with promoting policy positions on critical issues that will impact member businesses as well as the community at large.

On behalf of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, we thank you for taking the time to view the various interviews and discussions with our elected officials. A special thank you to our sponsors and Circle of Influence members.

U.S. Congress, Zoe Lofgren

Zoe Lofgren has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1995. She represents the 19th District of California, based in the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” San Jose, and the Santa Clara Valley.

In 2019, Zoe was appointed Chairperson of the Committee on House Administration by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and confirmed unanimously by the House Democratic Caucus. The Committee on House Administration (CHA) was established in 1947 as part of a larger effort to streamline the U.S. House of Representatives’ committee system and to modernize its internal management and operations. After more than 70 years since the committee was established, CHA’s two principal functions include oversight of federal elections and day-to-day operations in the House. Historically, the committee has had a hand in shaping legislation that touches on any and all aspects of federal elections. Issues concerning corrupt practices, contested congressional elections, campaign finance disclosures, and credentials and qualifications of House Members also fall under its purview. Additionally, she is a member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, formed to make Congress more transparent, unifying and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the American people.

Zoe is also the Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation. It is the most diverse delegation in the House and outnumbers all other state House delegations.

Zoe and Mark had the opportunity to meet virtually and discuss the issues most pressing to Santa Clara County. View the video here.

19th District
United States Congress
Zoe Lofgren

District Office
San Jose Office
635 North First Street Suite B
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 271-8700

Washington DC
Washington, DC Office
1401 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-3072

U.S. Congress, Jimmy Panetta

Congressman Jimmy Panetta serves California’s 20th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Panetta represents California’s Central Coast covering all of Monterey and San Benito Counties and southern portions of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. Through Congressman Panetta’s eight years of service with the United States Navy Reserve, he has a deep and personal connection to our nation’s veterans and military families. In addition to serving his nation in uniform, Congressman Panetta served as a board member of the Veterans Transition Center where he focused on ending veterans’ homelessness and improving resources for his fellow veterans and their families.

Watch this year’s interview here. 

20th District
United States Congress
Jimmy Panetta

District Office
Salinas Office
100 W Alisal St
Salinas, CA 93901

Washington, DC Office
212 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

California State Senator, Bill Monning

Senator William W. Monning was elected in November of 2012 and re-elected in 2016 to represent the 17th Senate District, which includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz counties, and portions of Monterey and Santa Clara counties. Prior to that, he represented the 27th Assembly District from 2008 to 2012, which included portions of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara counties.

Prior to his service in the State Legislature, Senator Monning was a professor at the Monterey College of Law and a professor of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He is the former president and co-founder of Global Majority, Inc., an organization committed to education, training and advocacy in the field of non-violent conflict resolution.

Senator Monning served as a Senior Fulbright Specialist, receiving Fulbright scholarships to teach and research in Peru and Chile. Additionally, he was a member of the Monterey County court-directed mediation panel and served for four years as Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Prize winning organization, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

Video coming soon.

17th District
California State Senator
Bill Monning

Monterey District Office
99 Pacific Street, Suite 575-F
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: (831) 657-6315
Fax: (831) 657-6320

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 4040
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4017

California Assembly, Robert Rivas

Assemblymember Robert Rivas has a history of service and dedication to his community. Prior to being elected to represent the 30th District in the California State Assembly, he served two terms on the San Benito County Board of Supervisors. While serving as a supervisor, Rivas also worked as a student support manager at San Benito High School and taught at Gavilan College. Prior to his election to the board, Rivas served as an EMT and paid call firefighter.

Video coming soon.


District 30
California Assembly
Robert Rivas

District Office
60 West Market Street, Suite 110
Salinas, CA 93901

Capitol Office
Capitol Office, Room 5158
Post Office Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0030

Santa Clara County Supervisor, Mike Wasserman


Known for having a “head for numbers and heart for people,” Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman was first elected to the County Board of Supervisors in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 and 2018. Prior to his election, Mike served eight years on the Los Gatos Town Council, including two terms as Mayor. He represents the 400,000 residents of District 1, which is the largest of the five districts at 700 square miles and includes a quarter of a million people in San Jose and all of Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy. Mike serves on 28 committees, including Chairing the County Library District, Traffic Safe Communities Network, South County United for Health, the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency Governing Board and the Emergency Operational Area Council.

Video coming soon.

District 1
Santa Clara County Supervisor
Mike Wasserman

San Jose Office
70 West Hedding Street, 10th Floor
San Jose, CA 95110

Valley Water Director, John L. Varela

Director Varela was appointed to the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in December 2015. He was elected by the voters in November 2016; re-elected in 2018, and his current term expires in 2022.

Director serves on numerous water district committees, which includes the Homeless Encampment and Water Storage Exploratory Ad Hoc Committees, the Agricultural Water Advisory Committee, the Board Policy and Planning Committee, and the joint water committees for Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Felipe Division Reach One.

Director Varela is a former Morgan Hill city mayor and councilman. He serves on the Board of Directors for Joint Venture Silicon Valley, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce, and the Pajaro River Watershed Flood Protection Authority. He is also involved in the South County Regional Wastewater Authority and Safe Clean Water Independent Monitoring Committee.

Video coming soon.

District 1-Valley Water
Director John L. Varela

Headquarters Building
5700 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA

City of Gilroy Mayor, Marie Blankley

Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley was first appointed to the Gilroy City Council to fill an open seat in 2018, and later that year was elected to a four-year term. She served as mayor pro tempore in 2019 and was elected as Gilroy’s Mayor in 2020.

She previously served on the city’s planning commission from 1992-99, as well as the Chamber of Commerce board and other community organizations.

Listen to what she had to say about some of the toughest issues facing Gilroy, as well as some beams of hope here.

Mayor-City of Gilroy
Marie Blankley

City Hall
7351 Rosanna St.
Gilroy, CA 95020
(408) 710-8508

City of Morgan Hill Mayor, Richard Constantine

Rich Constantine is a proud resident of Morgan Hill, where he lives with his wife, Andrea, and daughter Emma. He was an elected member of Morgan Hill City Council from 2010-2018 and was elected Mayor on November 6, 2018.

He has served our region as a firefighter with the San Jose Fire Department and has volunteered as a member of the United States Air Force Civil Air Patrol with the search and rescue unit where he achieved the rank of 2nd lieutenant. He has volunteered his time coaching youth football for many years and dedicated his time to organizations such as March of Dimes, Susan G. Komen foundation, MDA, San Jose Burn foundation and American Red Cross. He also volunteered at the Bernard Mevs Hospital in Haiti to treat critically injured and ill Haitians after the 2010 earthquake.

Rich serves on the Board of Directors for the Healthier Kids Foundation and is the Committee Chair of the Governance, Transparency & Labor Relation policy committee for the League of California Cities. He also serves on the Santa Clara Valley water commission, the Governing Board of the Santa Clara Habitat Conservation Agency, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Policy Advisory Committee.

In his free time Rich is an avid skier and, in the past, has competed with his Fire Department team. Rich also enjoys scuba diving. One of his greatest passions is all things aviation and taking his family flying.

Video Coming Soon.

Mayor-City of Morgan Hill
Rich Constantine

City Hall
17575 Peak Avenue
Morgan Hill, CA 95037-4128

"Joining the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is one of the best business decisions I have made."

Anita Bedoya, Owner, Lapels Dry Cleaning

"While facing some delays opening our taphouse the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce intervened. Their creative approach to problem solving saved the day. The Chamber’s connections made a difference for us."

Ryan and Larissa Dickerson, Owners of Bitter Taphouse

"The Chamber has done a great job keeping me informed."

James Gargiulo, Spectrum Small Business Advisor

"We have been able to rely on the Chamber whenever we needed to be connected to people, resources and information."

Jaime Rosso, CEO, Rosso’s Furniture

"We have been actively involved in the Chamber for 20 years. We continue to stay involved because of the critical information they provide."

Bruce & Audrey Haller, Cafe 152 Bread Co.

"As a Gilroy Chamber of Commerce member, I’ve met more people, been able to give back to the community and be involved in decisions that affect our local economy."

Maria Cid, Farmers Insurance