You may have seen earlier this week the Surface Transportation Board (STB) ruled on the second leg of the California High Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority) building plan. The Authority faces a $55 billion funding gap and has yet to demonstrate any ability to generate the funds required. While the STB ensured they comply with the law and wait for full environmental review, the Authority has repeatedly shown a desire to work around the law and contrary to what voters approved. Unfortunately, they can’t work around their funding gap, and without $55 billion, the high speed rail project remains a pipe dream.
In Iraq, humanitarian aid is starting to reach the affected populations. Yazidis who were under siege at Mt. Sinjar have mostly been able to leave. Nouri al-Malaki has shown himself to be a sectarian leader not interested in uniting the country’s political, religious and ethnic groups. I welcome the formation of the new national unity government under their new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi. We must continue to work with Iraqi security forces and other groups to prevent the further spread of ISIS influence within the country and reassert state control over the occupied territories for the safety of all Iraqis. Iraqi Christians will then be able to return to the communities where they have been present for more than 2,000 years.
As a quick reminder, my staff and I are holding Mobile District Office Hours throughout the month. MDOs are a great way to get our help with federal agencies or have your questions answered. I’ll be attending several MDOs in the coming weeks and hope to see you there! Here’s August’s full schedule.
I’d like to spotlight one of my hardworking interns over the last semester. I welcomed Brad O’Laughlin to my Washington, D.C. office from June to August. Brad is 21 years old and is a native of Chico, California. As a rising senior at Santa Clara University, Brad majors in Operations Management and Information Systems. Brad was able to apply his skills in a practical way in my office by creating a helpful database for the offices tour requests.
Brad interned in my Washington, D.C. office this summer.
In addition to creating this database, Brad gave tours of the Capitol, took down constituent requests and aided my legislative staff. After Brad finishes up at Santa Clara, he plans on attending law school. After law school, Brad is open to the possibility of coming back to the Hill and then ultimately ending up at a lobbying firm.
“I chose to intern for Congressman Denham because I wanted to be a part of the staff that supports his visions for the Central Valley and future water projects in California,” said Brad.
Brad is the son of Tim and Paula O’Laughlin.
If you know someone who’d like to intern in my Modesto or D.C. offices, more information is available here.
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Enjoy your weekend.