Weekly Update from Rep. Jeff Denham
This week, as Chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee, I held a field hearing in Miami, Florida, to highlight the ongoing investigation to stop the federal government from wasting billions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money by badly mismanaging valuable federally-owned properties. With oversight of the General Services Administration (GSA), my Subcommittee has led ongoing Congressional investigations into the GSA’s out-of-control waste of taxpayer dollars on lavish Las Vegas conferences, exorbitant employee bonuses and other outrageous spending scandals. To highlight the pervasive culture of waste, fraud and abuse within GSA, Chairman Mica and I convened the Subcommittee hearing in an empty downtown Miami federal building and courthouse located on prime real estate. This building has been vacant for nearly five years, costing taxpayers $1.2 million annually for maintenance alone.
With billions of taxpayer dollars being wasted every year on the 14,000 under-used and vacant buildings like this one, it’s time we get serious about eliminating waste and increasing efficiency in our government. This is exactly why I introduced and the House passed H.R. 1734 - the Civilian Property Realignment Act – to force agencies like GSA to get rid of or redevelop unneeded properties. The next field hearing we’re holding will be in Los Angeles on August 17th to again highlight an unnecessary and wasteful $400 million courthouse construction project, which will result in another empty federal building.
You can watch my interview with WUSA on the latest GSA scandals here.
Speaking of waste, there was a very thoughtful article this week in the Washington Post about the State Senator Joe Simitian and the California High-Speed Rail Project. It’s a great read on how we simply can’t afford this flawed project, especially since it has no private investors and has veered so far from what was originally proposed to the voters. You can read the article here.
This week I also met with the California Farm Bureau to discuss the pending 2012 Farm Bill and a variety of issues facing Valley farmers and producers, who play a crucial role in our local economy. It is important to me to hear from all sides of this issue – our farmers, ranchers, consumers and producers, and our local small businesses – each of whom are greatly affected by federal and state agriculture policy and regulations. Regulations and uncertainties are causing economic stagnation not only in agriculture but in small businesses across the country, keeping employment numbers from growing as rapidly as they could be.
To help address the high unemployment in our communities, I’m holding a two-part Central Valley Job Fair this month to provide an opportunity for job seekers to meet face-to-face with employers looking for new hires in the region. The Job Fair is being facilitated by the Stanislaus Economic Development & Workforce Alliance (the Alliance) and will take place on Wednesday, August 22, 2012, from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Stanislaus Country Fair Grounds in Turlock. Employers will be accepting resumes and meeting with interested applicants throughout the day. The event will be open to the public, and participants should bring several copies of their resume and wear business attire. Job seekers are encouraged to RSVP for the Job Fair online here. Any employers interested in participating in the event should contact the Alliance at or sign up online here.
Additionally, to help job seekers prepare for our Central Valley Job Fair, we’ve coordinated with Brandman University to hold a preliminary Free Workshops and Resume Clinic at the Modesto Campus of Brandman University, part of the Chapman University System, next Tuesday, August 14, 2012, for interested participants. The event will include a variety of seminars and workshops focusing on interview skills, resume writing and networking to help individuals prepare for interviews with potential employers. The workshops will run throughout the day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and a complete list of seminar and workshop descriptions and times can be found online here. Participants are encouraged to RSVP on Brandman University’s website here.
Last week, I was honored to speak at the retirement ceremony of Sergeant Major Tammy Coon of the United States Army. Sergeant Major Coon has served a distinguished career in the Army, spanning over twenty eight years. She has played an important role in advancing my efforts to secure the rightful benefits and support of soldiers in the Valley and across the nation, and has been a staunch champion of my legislation, the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act (H.R. 4155), which was recently signed into law to help veterans find work based on their skills acquired in military service. Sergeant Major Coon's dedication to duty and superior leadership has left an indelible mark on the United States Army, the soldiers with whom she has served, and the Congress of the United States. Her actions, in over 28 years of military service, are in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Army.
Finally, we’re starting a new feature on my Facebook page as a way to introduce the interns who have been working hard to assist me in my efforts to represent you in Congress. These bright and talented students are dedicated to serving the constituents of the 19th Congressional District. Each week, we will highlight one of our outstanding interns from our Washington, D.C., and District offices in an Intern Spotlight column. This week we featured Fresno-native Jessica Boujikian, who today finished her summer internship in my Washington, D.C., office, which you can view on my Facebook page here. For more information on Congressional Internships opportunities, please visit my website here.
I hope to see you this month at one of the many events I am privileged to attend while I’m home in California. Please spread the news about the upcoming Job Fair, and I also encourage you to continue to stay in touch with me through my website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Have a great weekend!