Weekly Update from Rep. Jeff Denham - May 3, 2013
It’s been a productive week back in California meeting with many of you in the 10th Congressional District. A particularly special treat was visiting with many of our future leaders in our local elementary schools where I had the privilege of reading to students from books my office collected and donated to their school libraries. This week I visited Capistrano Elementary School and Sonoma Elementary School in Modesto. Donating these books is a simple way to help our local schools stock their shelves and replace older books. If your school would like to request books from the surplus collection at the Library of Congress, please contact my Modesto Office at 209-579-5458 for more information.
I announced the winner of this year’s Tenth District Congressional Art Competition at a Monday reception showcasing all of our student artwork entries at the Chartreuse Muse Gallery and Art School in Modesto. Congratulations to Miss Madeleine Gini from Central Catholic High School for taking home first place for her artwork entitled “The Valley will Bloom." The Modesto-native will represent the 10th District at a Congressional reception with winners from across the country at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., this summer, where her artwork will be hung for one year.
The second-place award was presented to Flex Maxim Dalit from Merrill F. West High School in Tracy, CA, for his artwork entitled “Reverie of the Hummingbirds.” A third-place tie was declared for Ceres students Gerardo Paez and John Butler, both students at Ceres High School, for their submissions of “The Bird and the Flower” and “Teddy,” respectively. All second- and third-place winning artwork will be showcased in Rep. Denham’s Modesto office for a year.
It’s amazing to see the amount of talent and creativity these students bring to this competition every year. The Congressional Art Competition is a great way to recognize and honor the hard work and dedication of our community's young artists, and I’m privileged to share the talent of California’s Central Valley with our nation's capital. I applaud the work of every participant and wish them luck in their future endeavors. You can view more pictures of the twenty-eight entries from high school students throughout Stanislaus and southern San Joaquin counties on my Facebook page here.
It was an honor to recognize three high school seniors from California’s 10th Congressional District during a reception held at the Salida Library for the students who have been selected to attend one of the country’s leading armed service academies. Turlock-native Adam Groesbeck and Mariposa-natives Samuel Chadwick and Kahleb Kelsey were selected to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, and Mr. Kelsey was also selected to attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. I was honored to nominate these young students; it’s truly inspiring that so many young and talented Californians desire to serve our nation by joining the armed forces.
On Monday I met with several local leaders and representatives from San Joaquin’s various industries to get a general overview of the issues and priorities of the country. Participants included Chairman Ken Vogel, Supervisor Steve Bestolarides, Interim County Administrator Rosa Lee, Sheriff Steve Moore, Chief Probation Officer Stephanie James, Chief Executive Officer of San Joaquin General Hospital David Culberson, Assistant Director of Health Care Services Agency Margaret Szczepaniak, Director of Public Works Tom Gau, Special Water Counsel Member Terry Dermody and Legislative Coordinator Elena Reyes. I heard from the group about a number of federal issues such as much-needed improvements to our local transit and infrastructure system, water concerns, housing and foreclosures, education, health care services and the economic development of San Joaquin County.
I also had the privilege of joining the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors to recognize three remarkable individuals who’ve recently retired from public service this year. I presented former Supervisor Leroy Ornellas, former County Administrator Manuel Lopez and former Clerk of the Board Lois Sahyoun with a certificate of gratitude entered into the Congressional Record recognizing their years of service to San Joaquin County.
I had the opportunity to tour Stockton’s Downtown Transit Center with Donna DeMartino, the San Joaquin Regional Transit District’s General Manager, and learn about the regional public transit services they provide for San Joaquin County. We discussed their efforts to provide a safe, reliable and efficient transportation system countywide. As Chairman of the Rail Subcommittee, I plan to continue to meet with private and public industry leaders to learn new ways to improve freight and passenger rail across the country, and particularly for our businesses in the Valley and California.
Water truly is the most important job creator in the Central Valley. I have made it a priority to maintain a steady focus on water policies impacting California. On Tuesday I held a Water Advisory Roundtable discussion with representatives from our region’s many irrigation districts to discuss the various proposals to address the storage, conveyance and regulatory problems exacerbating our state’s man-made water crisis. We cannot overlook how important a reliable water supply is in creating jobs in California, and I will keep working for solutions to the water conveyance and storage issues in the Central Valley to create jobs and grow our local economy.
I was honored to join Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow, California Transportation Commission Executive Director Andre Boutros, Caltrans District 10 Deputy Director Dinah Bortner and others at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the SR-99/SR-219 Kiernan Avenue Interchange project. This project will bring hundreds of new jobs to our area, and once completed, will result in less congestion and will improve the overall operation of the interchange to meet future public demands. Our roadways are some of the most utilized and significant in the country, providing for the movement of goods and services across the largest state economy in the nation. I will continue working with communities, cities, and counties in my district and throughout California, as well as nationally from my seat on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to ensure the proper resources are devoted to our region.
Thanks to everyone I heard from while I was back home this week, and I look forward to bringing your views and priorities back to Washington. It is truly an honor to represent you in Congress, and I can’t do my job without hearing your feedback, concerns and priorities. I encourage you to continue to spread the word about our weekly newsletter and stay up to date by visiting my website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.