Jeff Denham is pushing for Congress to do what many of his constituents do when they have unneeded property and need to raise cash - conduct a garage sale.
The Turlock Republican who seeks to represent Manteca, Ripon, Escalon, Tracy and all of Stanislaus County in the newly created 10th Congressional District, is the author of the Civilian Property Realignment Act (House of Representatives Bill 1734). In a nutshell the measure would generate $15 billion and also have the potential to save tens of millions of dollars a year in maintenance and operation costs by selling unused or underutilized federal properties.
It would also put property back on the tax rolls.
Denham points to the measure - which passed out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is headed to the House floor - as an example of proactive steps Congress can take to get the national financial house in order. The bill enjoys broad bi-partisan support.
Denham - a former California State Senator and an almond grower - was elected in 2010 to the 19th Congressional District that stretches from part of Modesto in the north to the northern part of Fresno in the south.
While serving as state senator, he worked with then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to try and sell underutilized state property to help reduce the state deficit. It was a controversial move as it included some office buildings the state currently owns and would have to lease. Denham, though, emphasized that much of what was on the governor’s list made sense.
“San Quentin is sitting on $2 billion worth of real estate,” Denham pointed out.
Backers of the plan to sell San Quentin off noted it is an old prison with high upkeep costs.
The Air Force veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia has made reducing taxes and federal regulations a cornerstone of his effort in Washington, D.C. He believes by trimming back and streamlining regulations it would make government less intrusive as well as make it easier for individuals, businesses and farmers to prosper.
Denham also is pushing a plan that would help start relieving Yosemite National Park overcrowding by building offices and a visitors center outside of the park.
“Why should accountants commute into Yosemite Valley every day to do their jobs?” Denham asked.
A backer of high speed rail while in the state senate, he now sums up his position on the Los Angeles to San Francisco transit system in two words: “Kill it.”
Denham said costs are now too high at almost $100 billion and it is also clear that assumptions were flawed when the backers of high speed rail made their initial pitch.
He also was critical of the high speed rail commission’s decision to abandon the urbanized Highway 99 corridor.
Denham also wants to see a consistent federal operating plan in water management through the Bureau of Reclamation whether it is for flood control or irrigation and urban use.
Denham was in Manteca, Ripon, and Patterson earlier this month to officially announce that he is running for the 10th Congressional District seat.