This summer we welcomed Government Relations Director Mark Edwards to the JVS team. Mark is a veteran of the Marine Corps and began his career serving as Senior Field Deputy for Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski. He went on to become an active member of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority team that completed the 10-year Strategic Plan to End Homelessness. Mark effectively lobbied the City and County to preserve or gain nearly $250,000,000 worth of contracts for his clients when he worked for a leading lobbying firm.

The new JVS strategic plan clearly mandates an increase in advocacy efforts that will impact the viability of our mission and the lives of our clients.

We hit the ground running by taking an active role in opposing Assembly Bill 1250 (Jones-Sawyer), a de facto ban on nonprofits contracting with counties to provide vital services to their constituents. JVS currently contracts with the County of L.A. to deliver welfare to work and employment services, from Palmdale to South L.A.

The good news is that we are part of a statewide coalition. JVS submitted a formal letter of opposition to Senator Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and to Senators Ben Allen and Henry Stern, following up with one-on-one conversations with lawmakers.

The coalition’s effort paid off and the bill did not pass the State Senate before the end of the 2017 legislative session, though its proponents still have a chance to pass it during the 2018 session, which begins in January.

I will be working to strengthen regional opposition to AB1250, as well as exploring new opportunities for strategic partnerships as JVS expands its impact throughout Southern California and look forward to providing regular updates.

I can be reached at

–Mark R. Edwards