Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - November 8, 2013

Dear Friend,

I’ve had a wonderful week at home in the 10th district, where I’ve been able to meet with many of you and hear your feedback. I began the week by joining faith communities in Riverbank, Ceres and Modesto to share my support for real and effective immigration reform that will help our area as a whole by securing our border, ending the de facto amnesty we experience today, uniting families and generating almost a trillion dollars in deficit reduction over the next two decades.

On Monday, I visited Turlock High School to speak to their Government and Macroeconomics students. I shared some of the most challenging and interesting things about serving the Central Valley and took their questions on a wide range of topics, including immigration reform, energy independence and our out-of-control debt and spending. One of my top priorities in reigning in wasteful spending and working to eliminate our debt is ensuring that the next generation doesn’t inherit tens of thousands of dollars in debt. With our current debt over $17 trillion, each man, woman and child is on the hook for over $52,000 of debt. This is unacceptable. We must keep up the fight to rein in our spending and ensure long-term economic sustainability for our nation. For more information on my discussion with the THS students, check out this Turlock City News piece on my visit.

My office coordinates a program to donate surplus books from the Library of Congress to 10th district schools. This week, I dropped off books at John C. Kimball High, Southwest Park Elementary and North Elementary in Tracy. I also donated books to Virginia Parks Elementary in Ceres and my staff donated books to Turlock Junior High, Walter M. Brown Elementary and John H. Pitman High in Turlock. I read to kindergarteners at North Elementary. My office serviced 33 elementary, junior high and high schools with the Library of Congress Book Program this fall, donating a total of 587 books to students in either the classrooms or libraries of schools across our district.

I had a great time reading "Princess Pig" to this kindergarten class. 

While I was at Kimball High in Tracy, I presented a special award to Cheryl Domenichelli, who was named 2012 Secondary Principal of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Her efforts on behalf of Tracy students are outstanding, and it was an honor to be able to meet with her and recognize her hard work.

I also had the pleasure of meeting with Principal Domenichelli while she was in Washington, D.C. last month. I am so impressed with her dedicated efforts. 

I also stopped by Williams Middle School in Tracy to speak with their 7th-and 8th-grade AVID students about the importance of pursuing a college education. The AVID program is for students on track to attend college, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the students about how they could prepare to achieve their future goals. The group had great questions!

On Tuesday evening, I presented the recently-opened Manteca Fire Station with a flag flown over the Pentagon on the same day the fire station opened: September 11, 2013. I attended their groundbreaking last October, so it was great to see the station completed, open and keeping Manteca residents safe. The firefighters there do extraordinary work and put their lives on the line each day to protect our community – I am thankful for their service and was proud to share a small token of my appreciation in the form of the flag.

With Veterans Day coming up on Monday, I remember the great sacrifice our servicemen and women make each day to protect the ideals we hold close as Americans – like faith, freedom, and democracy. I hope that you can take time this Veterans Day to thank a veteran in your life, to share a story with your children about the service of a parent or grandparent or to make a care package donation to our soldiers currently serving across the globe. Men and women of each branch of our military have defended American interests at home and abroad for generations. We can honor their efforts on Monday and every day we pause to remember their service.

I joined students at CSU Stanislaus for the 5th Annual 5th Annual Troops to College event on Wednesday. Frank Bettencourt, a World War II Navy veteran, was our guest of honor for the ceremony, which took place for a large group of veterans, active duty and reserve members from each part of our armed forces.

The Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus created the "I Hire Veterans" campaign to encourage companies nation wide to hire more service members. 

I serve as a co-chair of the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, where I work across the aisle and with the Senate to increase hiring opportunities for veterans and ensure that service members returning to civilian life can secure gainful employment. This week I joined Senators Joe Manchin and Mark Kirk and Representative Tim Walz to introduce the United We Stand to Hire Veterans Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would streamline and consolidate duplicative government job portals to better connect current and former members of the Armed Services with employment opportunities. I believe that the best way to show our gratitude to those who have served is to make sure they can find high-quality jobs upon conclusion of their service.

I spoke with a group of constituents in Modesto at Howard Training Center Wednesday morning and held Mobile District Office Hours in Turlock, where I received great questions about a range of topics, including the kind of immigration reform I support and our country’s debt problem. More information on my views regarding immigration reform is available through my website. My staff and I conduct Mobile District Office Hours across the 10th congressional district each month – if you’d like to attend, please view the updated schedule here. Getting your feedback helps me represent your interests – so I always value hearing from each of you.

Enjoyed the opportunity to speak with a group of 10th district residents at Mobile District Office Hours in Turlock. 

Lastly, I wanted to invite you all to share your experiences using Covered California with me. As we’ve seen, extensive problems with Healthcare.gov have left consumers nationwide struggling to access the system. Hundreds of thousands of Californians are preparing for their healthcare costs to go up, and unfortunately, many have received notices that their policies have been canceled under the new law. The valley continues to struggle with retaining enough doctors and physicians accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Because of all the healthcare rollout problems, the House will vote next week on a bill called the “Keep Your Health Plan” Act, a three-sentence bill that will fulfill the promise made that “if you like your health care you can keep it” by ensuring that the millions of individuals who currently have health insurance through the individual market and are having their policies cancelled as a result of the Affordable Care Act could have the option to keep their policies in 2014. I have co-sponsored this bill and hope that the Senate and Administration will follow suit by taking up and signing this legislation to keep the promises made to the American people.

For the latest information on what I’m working on in Washington, please follow me on Twitter and Facebook or visit my website. I’d also like to welcome you to share our weekly newsletter with friends.

Have a great weekend and a wonderful Veterans Day!

JEFF DENHAM