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CCRL California Center for Regional Leadership
Connecting California's Regions to the State and Each Other

200 Pine St., Ste. 400
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone (415) 445-8975
Fax (415) 445-8974


2007 Rural Economic and Health Vitality Policy Agenda - Policy Brief

View full report (PDF, 1.5 MB, 20 pages)


This report is about the future of California. It is a policy agenda for improving the prosperity, quality of life and health of Rural California through strategic, equitable investments in people and place, as an integral partner for the long-term vitality of the State overall. This investment agenda has been developed by the California Center for Regional Leadership (CCRL) for the Rural Economic Vitality Project, in collaboration with the Governor's Cabinet and legislative and regional leaders and stakeholders. The project is sponsored by The California Endowment and the Humboldt Area Foundation, through its partnership with Redwood Coast Rural Action, in recognition of the fundamental relationship between a strong economy and improved health outcomes for people and communities throughout California.

The purpose of the Rural Economic Vitality Project is to increase the visibility of rural regions in the state policy process, integrate rural issues into overall state economic policy, and promote and facilitate rural/urban linkages to address mutual challenges and opportunities. A major goal is to reduce disparities in community health and wellbeing, especially as reflected in the long-standing disparities in infrastructure equity in Rural California. Compounding these disparities are dramatic challenges presented by rapid growth and urbanization occurring throughout much of the State, especially in the inland and foothill areas. These challenges cannot be overstated, and how they are addressed will affect the future of all of California.

The timing of the 2007 Rural Economic and Health Vitality Policy Agenda is fortuitous. As the State's population approaches 38 million, California stands poised to address the challenges of long-term sustainability. In November of 2006, the people of California approved a $42.7 billion bond package as the "down payment" for an historic twenty-year investment in the California Strategic Growth Plan. This Agenda seeks to leverage the impacts of these broad-based infrastructure investments and other new and important policy and legislative initiatives for Rural California, thus addressing the goal of one of The California Endowment's key program areas: "To build healthy communities by improving the social and physical environments that shape health behaviors and outcomes."

This policy brief summarizes the key highlights and recommendations contained in the Policy Agenda, carrying forth the voices of more than 60 state and rural leaders. The recommendations address investment priorities in four core opportunity areas: ubiquitous broadband access; housing, land use and infrastructure; education and workforce development; and the "innovation economy." They also address capacity and resource issues. They are geared to state, legislative and other policy leaders such as foundations, the university systems and public policy research organizations that have a critical role in planning for and investing in California's future. The full report from which this policy brief is drawn contains detailed findings and recommendations as well as information on policy initiatives and resources please see www.calregions. org/statepolicy/vitality.html.