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Dear Friend,

Summer is one of my favorite times in our Valley. During this time of year, you can see everywhere the hard work of people serving our communities and feeding our nation. As we head into the summer, I would like to share some of the work I have been doing to serve the Valley.

Increasing Affordable Homeownership

Affordable housing is essential for hard working people. Last week, I hosted a housing roundtable in Merced with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Jimmy Stracner, additional HUD officials, and nearly 20 housing leaders and local officials. Merced County’s homeownership statistics fall well below the national average, and the purpose of the meeting was to have local and federal leaders sit down together and consider ways to provide more opportunities for homeownership in Merced County.

As I have always said, homeownership is the foundation for a strong middle class. It’s part and parcel of the American Dream. The single largest investment that the average American family makes in a lifetime is the purchase of a home. The values of pride of property, understanding the complexity of financing a home, and living in a house where families can flourish are all made possible by homeownership. Both Regional Administrator Stracner and I are planning on continuing this collaboration so we can increase the opportunity for affordable homeownership for individuals and families across the San Joaquin Valley.

Congressman Costa at affordable housing roundtable

Improving Access to Health Care

On May 31st, I had the honor of joining the groundbreaking ceremony for Camarena Health’s new multi-facility health care campus in Chowchilla. The new campus will offer a full range of health care services, including medical, dental, behavioral health, optometry, and health education services.

Over the years, I have worked closely with health care providers and medical professionals to improve health care across the San Joaquin Valley. Increasing access to high-quality, affordable health care is vital for the well-being of our communities, both now and in the future. Camarena’s new health care campus is a sign that we are making progress, but we are not done yet. I will continue to both fight for Valley needs in Washington and work with health care leaders so we can improve health care. The people of our Valley need and deserve access to the best possible health care.

Congressman Costa at groundbreaking of Camarena Health’s new multi-facility health care campus in Chowchilla

Securing Water for the Valley

On Thursday, we passed a significant piece of water infrastructure legislation – H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act – by a vote of 408 to 2. I worked on a bipartisan basis to improve the legislation by including two provisions that would increase water supply reliability in California’s San Joaquin Valley and reduce permit compliance costs for utility ratepayers.

The first provision would have a real impact in the Valley, as it would allow Merced Irrigation District to move forward with a project to raise the spillway gates at New Exchequer Dam. When completed, this project will increase water supplies for eastern Merced County by 57,000 acre-feet during some years. The second provision I worked to include would make permanent a budget-neutral solution that has successfully helped the Army Corps of Engineers work through its backlog of project permitting. This amendment, which I cosponsored with fellow Valley Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10), would allow the Corps to continue to accept support in its efforts to complete reviews of utility project permit applications. This will allow permit reviews to be completed more quickly, without reducing the quality or thoroughness of the review.

Both of these amendments are straightforward, commonsense solutions that address our daily water realities and infrastructure needs in the Valley and across California. 

Click here for Rep. Costa’s speech on securing water for the Central Valley:

Rep. Costa speaking on securing water for the Central Valley

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter update. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any federal issues of your concern. To stay up-to-date on the work I am doing in Congress, please visit my website at and sign up for my e-newsletter here. You can also follow my work and events in our Valley on my Facebook page and twitter account.


Jim Costa
Member of Congress