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Bringing government to the people
Chiesa pic
County Supervisor Vito Chiesa, along with Turlock Mayor John Lazar, Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) and Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), will answer the public's questions at Thursday's Government Night event. - photo by Journal file photo

While many have complained of politicians being increasingly disconnected from everyday Americans, local elected officials are making an effort to reach out to their constituents, answering any questions they might have regarding public policy and regional issues.

In the third annual Turlock Government Night on Thursday, Mayor John Lazar will meet with Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa as the two answer questions from the public alongside Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) and Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock).

“This is an important opportunity for local residents to engage with their elected officials at all levels of government,” said Denham. “I look forward to discussing ways to address our ongoing drought on the federal and state levels, how we can work together to rein in out-of-control government spending and finding solutions to help create jobs in the Central Valley.”

Holding this year’s event at California State University, Stanislaus, Supervisor Chiesa says that he believes government works best “face-to-face.”

“It’s important that government leaders are accessible and listen to the public we serve,” said Chiesa. “Government Night has become a tremendous vehicle for the public to meet with their elected officials and let their voice be heard.”

Over the past seven years, Chiesa has been working aggressively to bring more accountability to local government, in addition to brining increased focus to budget reform. He also believes that in order to be effective, local government must listen and be responsive to the public.

 “Government Night is an opportunity for people to meet with their Federal, State and local representatives in one location,” said Chiesa. “It’s a forum to directly interact with the representatives they voted into office.”

The panel consisting of Denham, Olsen, Chiesa and Lazar will provide a few minutes of prepared comments before answering questions directly from the audience.

“I confer regularly with Congressman Denham, Assemblymember Olsen, and Mayor Lazar. We discuss the issues of our area and work collectively to find solutions to the challenges we face,” said Chiesa. “We have a strong working relationship between the layers of government here in Turlock. I want people to see that work in action and be part of the process.”

The third annual Turlock Government Night will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, following an introduction from CSU Stanislaus President Joseph Sheley. The event is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Mary Stuart Rogers Building, Room 130 at CSU Stanislaus, located at One University Way.