Weekly Newsletter 8.13.2019
It's the August district work period and I'm currently meeting with community leaders, local groups, and constituents about their priorities and how we can help. I'm also sharing the important work I'm doing in Washington - we had a tremendous first 200-plus days. Here are some highlights for the week of August 12:
Fighting to keep Americans safe
Days drag on and Senate Majority Leader McConnell still has not acted to pass meaningful gun safety legislation. Last week, I joined more than 200 of my colleagues on the House Gun Task Force in sending a letter to the Senate Majority Leader requesting that he immediately call back the Senate to vote on two gun bills we passed in the House back in February; H.R. 8, The Bipartisan Background Checks Act and H.R. 1112, The Enhanced Background Checks Act. Yesterday, House Gun Task Force Leadership reached out to McConnell to request a meeting on consideration of this important legislation. Last night, in Philadelphia, 6 police officers were shot in the line of duty. We cannot let this go on any longer. Enough is enough.
Supporting legal immigrants
I've cosponsored H.R.3222 - the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act of 2019, which would prevent federal funds from being used to implement the "public charge" rule. Earlier this week, the Trump administration released the new rule, which denies green cards to legal immigrants who receive public assistance or benefits such as Medicaid or food stamps. This proposal clearly contradicts our American values, and puts an unfair burden on people we have already been accepted into our country. We must take steps to stop the administration’s constant attacks on immigrants.
Working to improve animal health
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced implementation of animal health programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, which I was instrumental in drafting and getting passed. As Chair of the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee, I understand that the health of our livestock impacts our food security, and as a result, our national security -- especially in California where poultry operations have been negatively affected by Virulent Newcastle Disease. That's why I fought to include programs like the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP) and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) in the 2018 Farm Bill. I'm pleased that APHIS has begun to implement these programs and look forward to seeing them operating at full force.
Supporting economic growth
It's an honor to receive the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s "Spirit of Enterprise" award again this year for my work to expand economic opportunity for the people of the Valley and around the nation. I will continue to work to implement policies that help American business owners to partake in the American dream.
Planning the future of valley higher ed
It was an honor to recognize UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland, who is retiring after a great tenure as leader of the University of California's newest campus, this week at the 2020 Project second phase grand opening. It’s impressive to see what UC Merced has become under Leland’s leadership. She is a true pioneer in education, who leaves a legacy in the over $1 billion expansion project that will double the size of the University once complete.
I also want to welcome incoming Chancellor Nathan Brostrom. During our meeting, he shared his priorities and vision for the future of the University. I am confident that UC Merced will continue to achieve great things for its students and our Valley under his leadership.
Honoring and serving our veterans
Also this week in Merced, I met with Veterans Service Officer Ricky Pal and other veteran leaders to discuss how we can improve services to veterans. We had an important conversation about the work I'm doing in Congress, such as introducing H.R.1360 - the VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act, to ensure VA Health Centers have reliable leadership by mandating a comprehensive plan to appoint permanent directors at these facilities.
Another individual who deserves recognition is Staff Sergeant Ralph Rodriguez, an 84-year-old Army Korean War Veteran. He is stepping down from his Honor Guard post at American Legion Post 509, where he has served since 2008. Staff Sergeant Rodriguez served in active duty from 1955-1957 in the Korean War, and following that served 20 years in the Army Reserves. One of the greatest honors of his career has been giving final burial honors for veterans in the Central Valley. Veterans like Staff Sergeant Rodriguez continue to give back to their fellow service members after coming home and I was honored to honor his service during a ceremony at Fresno City Hall. I am committed to ensuring that we do our part to care for those who have given so much in service of this nation.
More federal funding for the Valley
More federal dollars are coming into our district! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded the following grants to help improve the services and facilities at these local health centers. I am pleased to see continued efforts to positively impact on the health and well-being of my constituents and people around the Valley.
Upcoming Events Across the District:
First Time Home buyer Lunch and Learn
Brown and Brown Real Estate will be hosting a Home Buyer’s Workshop designed to educate and empower future homeowners. This educational event will leave you prepared to take the steps toward becoming a homeowner and build wealth through home ownership. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Be sure to reserve your free ticket on Eventbrite today seating is limited. Click here to learn more.
When: Saturday, August 17, 2019 (11AM-1PM)
Where: 4105 West Figarden Drive Fresno, CA 93722
7th Annual VA Central California Mental Health Summit
This Mental Health Summit will bring together key stakeholders in the community to enhance access to mental health services and address the mental healthcare needs of Veterans and their family members residing in Central California. Click here to learn more.
When: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 (9AM-4PM)
Where: Clovis Veterans Memorial District – 808 4th Street Clovis, CA 93612
LGBT+ Families Splash Day
LGBT Fresno is hosting an evening of family splash fun! We welcome anyone with kids 12 and under (sorry, no adults in the water). We’ll also have free snow cones to enjoy. Come out, connect with other LBGT+ (and allies) families and have a great time. Click here to learn more.
When: Thurday, September 12, 2019 (5PM-7:30PM)
Where: Chukchansi Park Fresno, CA 93721