It’s an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to serve California’s Tenth Congressional District in Congress for the next two years. This is an opportunity that will not be taken for granted, but rather a chance to bring the Valley’s voice to Washington as we work to find common ground on issues that affect our families, our businesses and our communities.
In the coming months, we must work together to pass a federal budget that will balance. We recently passed a common sense measure that says if Congress does not do its job, we should not get paid. While chairing the Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee, we were able to pass reforms to cut spending and save billions in taxpayer dollars, including selling federal properties and better managing the government’s real estate. We also worked with the Administration on reforms to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance programs to save time and money and help the Valley recover from future emergencies like a Delta levee breach or earthquakes, which were recently signed into law.
Water truly is one of the most important job creators in the Central Valley, and maintaining a steady focus on water policies impacting California is a top priority. With more water storage and better management, California will be able to meet the demands of growing populations and increased food consumption around the world.
As a Central Valley farmer, bringing the specialized needs of various sectors of the Valley’s agriculture economy to the House Agriculture Committee is indispensable when discussing federal policy and reform. We must continue to fight for a long-term Farm Bill that includes provisions for research, trade and valued-added programs to give our growers and producers a competitive and productive global edge here in the Valley.
One future strength of the Valley’s economy is its central location on the west coast, and we’ve already begun to see job expansion as California’s premier logistics hub. I’m working on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to make sure we’re investing in and improving California’s infrastructure needs to meet these growing demands. In the Valley we also have an opportunity to look for more cost-effective and innovative approaches to passenger and freight rail service. As Chairman of the Rail Subcommittee, a big focus will be on improving our rail systems, such as the ACE train, to increase frequency and offer quicker commutes so working families can spend less time traveling and more time together.
In this new capacity, we must ensure projects like California High Speed Rail are held accountable and remain transparent for taxpayers. Without funding or a viable business plan, these projects should be delayed, and the money should be put toward shovel ready projects that will put our family and friends back to work today.
We have a rare opportunity to work together in the House and Senate to enact comprehensive immigration reform this Congress. A bipartisan solution to make any such reforms must include a Valley perspective. Here in California we have a distinct need for a secure labor force. We must have a temporary worker program, and most importantly we need a workable system to verify those that are here and where those jobs are to make sure we are actually getting people back to work. Our entire community our Ag economy, our schools and our hospitals are going to depend upon getting immigration reform right.
Finally, returning to the Veterans Committee for a second term will provide the opportunity to fulfill the promises made to our brave and deserving veterans. Coming from a family with a long and proud tradition of military service, and dedicating 16 years of service in the Air Force, offers an inside perspective on ways we can improve care and support for our veterans. Last year I worked with the Administration to have job-creating legislation – the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act – signed into law, and we’ll continue these efforts to keep the momentum going on behalf of America’s veterans. Our service men and women risk their lives every day to protect our country and I’m committed to making sure we preserve the rights, protections and benefits that America's brave and heroic veterans deserve.
As your Valley Representative in Congress, your feedback is important. I am here to serve you, and so is my staff. I encourage you to contact my office at (209) 579-5458 or through my website at http://denham.house.gov/ to let me know your thoughts and concerns about issues facing our community or ways we can help. I work for you, and customer service is our priority.
Congressman Jeff Denham represents the 10th Congressional District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives. His district includes all of Stanislaus County and part of southern San Joaquin County.