The weekly newsletter is a great way to stay up-to-date on the work I’m doing on behalf of our Valley. I use this as a venue to tell the story of how the work I’m doing in Washington and in the district impacts you. Each week I will highlight important pieces of legislation I’m working on, show you how I’m engaging with constituents on the issues, and tell you about upcoming events in the district. We’re back in Washington after the holiday break to begin the 2nd Session of the 116th Congress. I hope you enjoy the first newsletter of the new decade!
Urging immediate action on climate change
The wildfires raging in Australia remind us all too well of the threat we face in California as we deal with drought and horrific fires among the many growing impacts of climate change. We can do more to improve air quality, transportation and water, all affected by climate change. I’m focused on doing more by promoting more sustainable means of transportation and infrastructure, such as getting additional funding for High Speed Rail and supporting legislation like the Clean Corridors Act and the Clean School Bus Act. I’m also working on water legislation that will increase water supply, improve conservation, and work towards sustainable, clean drinking water for our farms and farm communities.
2019 big wins for our Valley
Here’s a recap of the federal money I secured for our Valley:
$6 million for Specialty Crop Pests for the eradication of the navel orange worm
$67 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides food aid to needy families
$3.2 billion for agriculture research into drought tolerance, soil health, and crop resiliency
$134 million for Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act storage projects
$20 million for additional Friant-Kern Canal repair
$2.77 billion for clean drinking water
$1.99 billion for rural drinking water systems including $1.45 billion for rural water and waste program loans
$15.5 billion for new transportation and housing infrastructure projects with an additional $116 million allocated for California
$1 billion in BUILD Grants for projects like Veterans Blvd.
$640 million for rural broadband expansion
$360 million for medical research programs, including research on ALS, Alzheimer’s, Breast Cancer and Melanoma
$80 billion for VA medical care, including funding to provide for homelessness assistance, suicide prevention, and outreach
$23.16 billion for child nutrition programs
Disaster Relief and Preparedness
$5.5 billion for Wildfire Management and wildfire suppression funding
$1.8 billion for disaster relief programs in states susceptible to natural disasters including California
One of my highest priorities is to see taxpayer dollars come back to the district. I’m pleased to report that the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded grants to residents of public and voucher-assisted housing in Fresno, Madera, and Merced. These local public housing agencies will partner with other local groups to help residents improve their works skills in an effort to help increase their income potential and decrease dependency on housing assistance.
Meeting of the Week:
As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I meet regularly with diplomats. This week, Deputy Chief of Mission Amit Kumar of the Indian Embassy and I met to discuss U.S.-India relations, including issues such as trade and Kashmir. I look forward to improving the diplomatic and economic relationship between the world’s oldest democracy, the United States, and the world’s largest democracy, India. Indian-American Immigrants, and all South Asian immigrants, have made tremendous contributions to our Valley over the years as citizens. I look forward to working with our allies in the region to help further these achievements.
Upcoming Events Across the District:
Active Learning Conference
Merced College is hosting the 3rd Annual Active Learning Conference for teachers. Attendees will learn practical strategies for teaching to foster sustained attention and success. This year’s speaker is Dr. Elizabeth Barkley. (Click here for more info)
When: January 10, 2020 8:30AM-4:00PM
Where: Merced College – 3600 M St. Merced, Ca 95348
Harlem Globe Trotters
Fresno State’s Save Mart Center will host the renowned Harlem Globe Trotters. This event is appropriate for all ages, and allows special access to meet the globetrotters in person (Click here for more info).
When: January 10, 2020 7:00PM
Where: Save Mart Center – 2650 E. Shaw Avenue, Fresno, CA 93710
Merced Certified Farmers Market
The Farmers’ Market in Merced will host farmers from around the Valley to showcase their farm-direct products.
When: January 11, 2019; 8:00AM – 12:00PM
Where: 16th St. and, Canal St, Merced, California
LGBTQ+ Youth Social
The LGBTQ+ youth support and social group will host a safe space to connect with friends and peers in the community. The group is welcome to ages ranging from 10-25, with board games and other great activities. (Click here for more Info.)
When: January 11, 2020 12:00PM
Where: Merced Multicultural Arts Center – 645 W Main St, Merced, CA 95340
A Day On, Not A Day Off
The annual MLK Jr. Day of Service is almost here. This year will mark the 25th celebration of MLK Day since Congress designated it as a day of service in 1994 . MLK Day is officially on January 20th but volunteer service activities occur throughout the prior weekend. (Click here for more info)
The Merced County Department of Public Works announces the annual Community Cleanup Event Schedule. Community Cleanups allow local residents to dispose of tires, appliances, and other common throwaway items for a greatly reduced fee.