Ron Cedillos has long been recognized as a leader of a number of important public policy issues for
the past twenty years. The following are just a few of the more publicized statewide and national programs
he has shepherded on behalf of California.
Aerospace and Defense
In one of the largest and most successful undertakings to preserve a critical industry in the state’s history, Ron Cedillos with the support of Governor Pete Wilson formed Californians for Aerospace Leadership (CAL) that has been credited with saving tens of thousands of jobs in California.
Cedillos, long known as an advocate of strong job producing economies recognized a dangerous economic trend that was eroding California’s largest manufacturing sector. He also recognized that the state had not responded to this perilous economic downturn that was threatening to cost hundreds of thousands of direct
and indirect jobs in the state.
While dining with newly elected Governor Pete Wilson at his inaugural dinner, Cedillos warned the Governor
that California’s aerospace and defense industries were hemorrhaging jobs at an alarming rate. Cedillos
further argued that if these job losses were not immediately halted, the crises within these industries could
drag the state's entire economy down with them.
After detailing the core issues with Governor Wilson, Cedillos then outlined what he believed should be the state’s response. With the agreement and support of the Governor, Cedillos quickly assembled a coalition of
top executives from virtually every major aerospace and defense firm in the state -- including those from Northrop, Rockwell, TRW, Lockheed, Douglas Aircraft and others. These industry executives convened with Cedillos and Governor Wilson to formulate a strategy to safeguard the state’s remaining 1.4 million aerospace and defense industry jobs. In addition to working with major contractors, the task force unified most the state’s elected officials behind the industry – a feat unprecedented in California’s history.
Indeed, one of the primary objectives conceived by Cedillos and undertaken by the task force was to unify the state's elected officials and create a solidified backing for the industry. Specifically, the task force sought to garner more support from the fractious California Congressional delegation in bringing Pentagon business to the state. As Cedillos stated at the time, “All of California has a stake in the viability of the aerospace industry” (Orange County Register). It quickly became apparent just as Cedillos has warned, that the exodus of aerospace jobs out of California had widespread ramifications throughout the state -- including a significant impact on the real estate industry, reduced support for universities and charities and serious financial repercussions on various other economic sectors.
Many describe Cedillos’ formation of the CAL task force among his most significant achievements on behalf of California. The institution of this initiative, in addition to ultimately saving thousands of aerospace and defense jobs within the state, brought critical attention, at the highest levels of government, to the crucial need for strong and proactive strategy -- not simply with regard to preserving jobs, but also in creating important employment opportunities and fostering a hospitable environment for businesses to grow their companies and create jobs. Indeed, by developing sound public policy, the initiative helped to make California a more open and cost-effective place in which to operate a business.
In assessing Cedillos’ efforts,
The New York Times declared: “The willingness of Mr. Cedillos to work his Republican connections and plunge into hardball politics sets him apart from top executives at the major contractors, most of whom profess to hold themselves above the fray. And in a business dominated by engineers, Mr. Cedillos brings a background [professional athlete] that stands out even in California.”
The UAW International Union, one of the largest unions in the United States said the following about Cedillos’ initiative; “Your efforts on behalf of Aerospace have been well documented and now you can add this effort to the many successes of the past. The leadership is committed to your ongoing effort to save jobs and we look forward to working with you in the future.”