Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - October 19, 2012
This week was a flurry of activity and meetings where I was able to listen to and engage with different constituent groups including a food manufacturer, insurance and financial advisors, realtors, an energy company and a Stanislaus County high school. It was a pleasure to hear from these groups and find out how I can work on their behalf in Congress to promote job growth and create an environment for greater economic development that will put people back to work.
Monday began the open enrollment period for Medicare, which lasts through December 7th this year. This is the time of year when seniors enrolled in Medicare can change their health and prescription drug plans. I sent out information about the open enrollment period as well as other resources that may be helpful to our seniors who may have questions about Medicare, which you can find online at http://Denham.house.gov/Seniors.
My wife, Sonia, and I were honored to join Council member Dave Lopez and his wife, Sherrie, on a tour of the new Rizo Lopez Foods cheese and dairy plant in Modesto. The Rizo Lopez Foods plant currently employs over 200 Valley residents, and is one of our local businesses that give our economy the energy it needs to keep going in this tough time. I’ve supported bill after bill to reduce red tape and make the tax code more reasonable for businesses like Rizo Lopez Foods, so they can spend more time, money and energy putting people back to work and growing their business.
Housing was a major issue on my agenda this week. I met with several groups of realtors based throughout the Central Valley from Fresno, Lodi, Ceres, Turlock, Modesto, Oakdale and the surrounding communities. Housing issues remain problematic in the Central Valley, and I have cosponsored legislation that would maintain current rural housing designations for many regions in Central California that receive specialized attention and aid due to the distinct nature of rural properties.
In light of California’s recent gas price spike, I traveled to Salida and met with many of you at the Vineyard 76 gas station to address your concerns about California’s record-high gas prices. I appreciated hearing from all of you over the weekend, which I discussed along with ways to get those prices down for good and create American jobs on KMJ as well as on the news at Fox Business and Fox40.
One of the ways to reduce gas prices is to expand domestic energy production and adopt a true “all-of-the-above” energy approach. I want to thank Greg Stangl, CEO of Phoenix Energy in Oakdale, for inviting me to tour their facilities and see how they are engaging in alternative means of energy production right here in the Valley. I believe that reducing regulatory burdens for companies like Phoenix Energy will not only do more to get our family and friends back to work, but will set our country on the right path towards energy independence. A reporter from the Oakdale Leader joined us on the tour, and you can read their article here.
The brand new Stanislaus Culinary Arts Institute opened its doors in Oakdale on Thursday, and I was privileged to participate in the grand opening ribbon cutting. It was great to talk to students and educators at the culinary institute and I very much look forward to eating in the restaurants of future graduates and supporting their local businesses in the years to come.
The Modesto Chamber of Commerce held its fourth annual State of the Region Luncheon this week. It was great to be with many of Stanislaus County’s small business owners to discuss the economic climate of our region and all that our businesses can do to spur growth, create jobs and put people back to work. The panel discussion was a unique and productive opportunity to join our business community and engage in dialogue and share ideas and best practices.
It was honored to be recognized by the National Association of Manufacturers on Thursday for my efforts to help invigorate private sector job growth and help bring back thousands of manufacturing jobs that have been lost over the past few years. Our country is home to the most productive workers in the world, and is the world’s top exporter of goods and services. Let’s get Washington off the backs of American manufacturers and focused where it counts. By making our businesses more competitive in the global economy, we will be able to put people back to work, right here at home.
On Thursday, I participated in an interview with a reporter from Gregori High School’s student-run “News Magazine” about the importance of voting and participating in government. There are so many opportunities to get your voice heard, like writing your congressman or senator, volunteering for a candidate whose platform you support and most especially voting—the fundamental of our democratic government. I encourage all students regardless of their age to consider which candidates they would support if they were of voting age. It’s a great exercise of civic participation to get informed about these important decisions.
I wanted to share the heartwarming ‘thank you’ I received from the students at Yosemite’s Wawona Elementary School for the books I donated to their school library. 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 to find out more information. Also, October is National Book Month – so grab a good book and read up!
I look forward to many more busy days in the coming weeks traveling throughout the district meeting with you, small businesses, organizations and community groups who want to share their thoughts and concerns about issues facing the Valley. I will be sure to stay in touch regarding my activities next week. 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 website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Have a great weekend!