Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - June 28, 2013

Dear Friend,

On Wednesday I participated in a special event with Amtrak where they unveiled their commemorative locomotive for veterans and announced their goal of making 25 percent of all new hires veterans by 2015. As a co-chair of the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, I’ve been working tirelessly now to help our veterans find jobs. There are over 750,000 veterans currently unemployed across the country, and as a veteran myself, I think there is nothing more important to our service men and women than having the dignity of work when they return home.

One of my most successful and favorite legislative initiatives is helping our deserving veterans find jobs when they complete their service to our country.

Also on Wednesday, I met with Miss Madeleine Gini, who won this year’s Congressional Art Competition with her submission “The Valley will Bloom.” Madeleine and her parents Laura and Brian traveled to Washington to participate in the award ceremony. Her artwork will hang in the U.S. Capitol for the next year.

Madeleine Gini is the winner of the Congressional Art Competition. Her submission, "The Valley will Bloom" is on display in the U.S. Capitol all year.

I met with Gary Schulz, President of the California Raisin Marketing Board, and several other members of the board regarding the Farm bill, immigration reform and the Food Safety Modernization Act. I will continue to support policies that will help our businesses, like California raisin growers, prosper without adding duplicative or unnecessary regulation. The safety and efficiency of agricultural commerce both on a local and national scale are of utmost importance to me.

On Thursday, I visited with Don Borges, who teaches agriculture at Modesto Junior College. We talked about their nationally-renowned agriculture program at MJC, which I hope will continue to produce some of the best and brightest in the agricultural industry in the country.

As Chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee on Rail, I heard from several important railroad organizations at a hearing on Thursday focused on “National Rail Policy: Examining Goals, Objectives, and Responsibilities.” We discussed the positive effects of 2008’s Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act and how to successfully implement the upcoming reauthorization of the Act, which is one of the priorities we are working on this year in the Transportation Committee. We also considered how to use future investment to best serve passenger and freight rail users. Visit my website here to read or view a video of my opening statement from Thursday’s hearing.

It is an honor to Chair the House Subcommittee with jurisdiction over railroads.

Click the image above to view a video of my opening statement on a hearing focused on National Rail Policy.

The House passed two important pieces of energy legislation this week. Our county is in desperate need of an all-of-the-above energy strategy. You’re still seeing gas prices at or near $4, and these two bills are designed to help bring new supplies online. As a member of the House Energy Action Team, I’m especially concerned with providing energy solutions that will create jobs and lower energy costs. The bills passed this week both help us utilize our natural resources here at home, reduce gas prices, grow our economy and put our nation on the path to energy independence.

On Thursday I introduced a new bill to increase water storage availability at the New Melones Reservoir, H.R. 2554. This common sense legislation will allow the Oakdale and South San Joaquin Irrigation Districts to store up to 100,000 acre feet of water in the Reservoir for future use, incentivizing both districts to improve efficiency by growing more with less water and allowing them to better prepare for future dry times, like the valley is currently experiencing.

Tomorrow I will be participating in a panel discussion put on by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). I’m looking forward to discussing my views on finding a path forward for immigration reform. I believe we need a comprehensive and effective reform package that begins with securing the border. We need a permanent solution, and we need to enforce the laws we put into place. I want to pass this just once and create legislation that will fix this problem for my lifetime, my children’s lifetime and beyond. I hope you’ll tune in to see the panel discussion, which will be available via a livestream. If you’d like to follow along online, please use the hashtags #NALEO and #LATISM.

I look forward to being home next week. I will be touring the Howard Training Center, which works with school districts, charter schools, and transition teams to develop individualized programs and services for students getting ready for graduation.

I will also be visiting the Modesto VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic to present the clinic director with a key to their two new Veteran Transport vans. I was pleased to help them secure the vans, which will allow our area veterans additional support in meeting their transportation needs. They provide transportation to and from their medical appointments at the Modesto VA Clinic on Oakdale Road, also roundtrip access to additional VA Palo Alto Healthcare Systems Facilities.

Finally, I’m hosting a live telephone townhall meeting on Tuesday evening. If you’d like to be one of the first called, please contact my office at (209) 579-5458 and my staff will gladly add you to the list. I look forward to hearing your feedback on the issues most important to you.

Looking forward to traveling to being in the Valley next week and I hope you all have a safe and happy Fourth of July! Please continue to let me know your thoughts and concerns about issues facing our community, and also feel free to forward my weekly newsletter to your friends, family and neighbors.  You may also visit my websiteFacebook, and Twitter, where you can find regular updates about my work at home in the Valley and in Washington.

Sincerely,

JEFF DENHAM