This has been a trying time for our nation. We are working through the impacts of this devastating coronavirus, including new legislation - the Paycheck Program Protection Flexibility and TRUTH Acts - I voted on last week in Washington, while also facing the stark realities of racism. We need to stand together to get through this time.
Healing Racial Divisions
I am appalled by the death of George Floyd, but sadly this is not the first time we have witnessed such a murder. Our country is in turmoil and it is hurting. During these difficult times, I ask all Americans to look within and reflect on how we come together — in memory of George Floyd, his family and all of our citizens who have felt the injustice of racial prejudice. I’m working on a plan to engage on the topic of systemic racism over the next year. That’s what we must do. We can start making tomorrow better, today.
Legislating for COVID-19 relief
The Heroes Act, which the House passed on May 15, included a key provision that would provide $1 billion in funding to expand medical education and construct medical schools in under-served areas like the San Joaquin Valley. Similar to the bill I introduced earlier this year: the Expanding Medical Education Act, this legislation would be critical to addressing doctor shortages here in our Valley now and in the future.
The House also passed two bills that provide needed reforms to the popular small business PPP program. These changes make it easier for small business owners to stay afloat and pay their employees while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly.
Locally-sourced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) is putting CARES Act funding to use to help Valley manufactures create personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face shields, mask, gowns, plexiglass dividers and hand sanitizer. Here is a list of local businesses where you can find these products:
Total Concept Enterprises - Clear Plastic Space Dividers
Whole Earth Laboratories - Cloth Masks
Monster City Studios - Face Shields
Riley's Brewery - Madera - Hand Sanitizer
Corbin Cash Distillery - Atwater - Hand Sanitizer
411 Broadway Ales & Spirits - Hand Sanitizer
CA Manufacturing Network (CMTC) - PPE
Lessons Learned from COVID-19
On May 27, I participated in a COVID-19 statewide town hall on KSEE 24 and talked about the need to heed the lessons learned from this tragedy. We weren’t prepared for this pandemic, but there are ways we can fight it going forward.
Working From Home
Thursday, May 28, was National Work from Home Day!
Like many of you, my staff and I have been following the state and federal guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by working from home. Despite these changes, we've stayed productive, handling a 400% increase of constituent casework and getting answers to your important questions. We remain committed to helping you through this crisis. If we can assist, please don't hesitate to reach out. We have a terrific staff, who dedicate themselves to helping our constituents and making a difference every day. I am proud of all of them.
As wildfire season approaches, make sure PG&E has your updated contact information. PG&E strongly encourages everyone to do so by visiting their website or by calling the PG&E contact center at 1-866-743-6589.
If someone you know is unable or should not go to the grocery store, TakeCare has set up a grocery relief program, where you can get help and volunteer.
HAVE YOU LOST YOUR JOB?
The COVID-19 crisis has left millions of Americans unemployed. OnwardCA, built by Bitwise Industries in Fresno, is a great resource to help you find relief, training and jobs.
BEWARE OF SCAMS
Scammers never rest - even during a crisis. Various federal agencies and utility companies are issuing warnings about the possibility of scams and disinformation. Find out how to protect yourself. You can also track reports of existing scams here.
The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage due to the coronavirus outbreak. I ask you if you're healthy to join me in giving blood to our local blood banks. It is a national emergency and a way we can all help out. Find out more on how to help.
Stay strong and we will get through this crisis. Please don't hesitate to contact my office if you need assistance.