I’d like to kick off this month’s newsletter by thanking everyone who attended our fourth annual Career & Resource Expo in Lemoore! We had 80 employers participate this year and they all had job openings that needed to be filled. Over 400 job seekers attended the event and my staff and I are happy about the overwhelmingly positive feedback that we’ve received. I enjoyed meeting the job seekers and visiting each of the 80 booths and speaking with every employer, learning more about their vacant jobs and the various types of workers that they were looking to hire.
To view some of the photos from the job fair, click here.
It took years to happen, but the Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted unanimously to conduct a partial audit of the California High Speed Rail Authority. Even though the audit is not going to be as comprehensive as I would like, this is a first step towards shining the light on why this boondoggle continues to be over budget and behind schedule.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my staff and me if there is ever anything that we can do for you, or if you want to share your opinion with me on a piece of legislation. I have offices in Bakersfield (661-395-2620), Hanford (559-585-7161), Fresno (559-264-3070), and Sacramento (916-651-4014). You can also email me at Senator.Vidak@sen.ca.gov.
All the best!
Vidak Helps Kill Styrofoam Ban
Last week, a bill by Senator Benjamin Allen (D-Santa Monica) that would have banned food vendors from using polystyrene in to-go containers failed for the second year in a row. During floor debate, Andy listened as Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) spoke in favor of the styrofoam ban, but unlike Andy’s cup — Senator Hueso’s arguments just didn’t hold water. Andy proudly voted against this bill, which would have killed the jobs of many Bakersfield and Frenso residents who work for a company that manufactures and distributes food packaging and foodservice products. If you’d like to watch the 90-second video clip pictured above, Click Here.
Scholar Dollars Program
State Treasurer John Chiang announced this week that the ScholarShare Investment Board is again launching its Scholar Dollars grant program, which awards 20 grants of up to $30,000 each to winning schools.
Schools are free to use the grant money on a variety of things like musical instruments, computers, library books, sports equipment, field trips, gardening tools, tutoring labs, science/technology/math instruction, student counseling, clubs, and many other activities.
The purpose of the Scholar Dollars program is to collaborate with K-8 schools across the state in an effort to call attention to the importance of starting to save early for college tuition and expenses.
Participation in the Scholar Dollars contest is simple. Schools must register online at MyScholarDollars.com starting February 15 and then get their community to vote in support of their plan to spend the grant money. The schools that earn the most votes will be awarded grants.
Starbucks Awards $25,000 to Reedley Charity
Congratulations to When I Grow Up, a Reedley-based non-profit organization dedicated to empowering children out of extreme poverty. Starbucks recently awarded the organization $25,000 through its “Upstanders Grants” program.
When I Grow Up is making impacts in Kenya, Haiti, and Guatemala. To learn more about their work, check out their website.
Funded by When I Grow Up, a group of students at the Furaha Community Foundation’s primary school in Kenya show off their new school uniforms. Furaha Community Foundation’s Primary School has 500 children in pre-kindergarten through Class 8 and its High School has 150 students. In November 2014, the Class 8 students had a 100% pass rate on the high school entrance exams, compared to a 51% rate throughout the rest of Kenya.
Upcoming Mobile Office Hours
Wednesday, February 7
9:00 a.m. — 11:00 a.m.
810 8th Street
Wasco, CA 93280
Friday, February 9
1:00 p.m. — 3:00 p.m.
City of Lemoore — Public Works & Public Planning Department
711 W. Cinnamon Drive
Lemoore, CA 93245
Friday, February 16
2:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.
Orange Cove Branch Library
Room: Small Meeting Room
815 Park Boulevard
Orange Cove, CA 93646
Wednesday, February 21
3:00 p.m. — 5:00 p.m.
Sanger Branch Library
1812 7th Street
Sanger, CA 93657
Thursday, February 22
2:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.
Porterville City Hall
Pete V. McCracken Conference Room
93 N. Main Street
Porterville, CA 93257
Wednesday, February 28
10:00 a.m. — Noon
Lost Hills Community Center
Highway 46 at Lost Hills Boulevard
Lost Hills, CA 93249
Mobile District Office hours are an opportunity for Senate District 14 residents to meet locally with a Team Vidak representative to hear more about Andy’s work in Sacramento and the Central Valley, have their questions answered, or get help with specific state-related issues, including:
- unemployment benefits;
- issues with state agencies, such as the DMV and Franchise Tax Board;
- small business assistance;
- worker’s compensation;
- state legislation; and
- other state-related matters.
For more information, please contact Team Vidak’s Felisa Hannah at 559-264-3070 or email Felisa Hannah at Felisa.Hannah@sen.ca.gov.
Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) Tax Assistance
Each year, CAPK’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps thousands of low- and moderate-income individuals and families prepare and file their income tax returns at no cost. As a result, millions of tax return dollars that might otherwise go unclaimed come back to Kern County communities, stimulating the local economy.
Since its launch in 2006, when staff and volunteers completed a modest 129 returns for Tax Year 2005, CAPK’s VITA program has grown by an astonishing 3,600% to more than 4,600 returns completed in 2015.
If you are a taxpayer who earned $54,000 or less in 2017, you may qualify. Please bring social security cards and proof of health insurance for everyone on the tax return, ID for the taxpayer and spouse if filing jointly, and all applicable tax documents. For information, call 661-834-1724 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from Noon until 7:00 p.m.
- April 11-13: Noon until 7:00 p.m.
- April 14: Closed
- April 15: 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
- April 17-18: Noon until 7:00 p.m.
300 19th Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
WHAT TO BRING?
- Photo ID and Social Security Card for yourself and your spouse
- Social Security Card for all dependents claimed on your return
- All tax documents, W-2, 1099 Misc, 1099 R, Unemployment, Cash income, etc.
- All insurance information for everyone claimed on your return
- Day care provider’s name, address, telephone number, and tax ID number, the amount paid
- Direct deposit information, routing and account numbers
- Home mortgage, home taxes, charitable contributions, medical deductions, etc.
- Self-employed information: income, expenses, etc.
- And any other documents that you think are important to your tax return
- If married, both spouses must be present
INFORMATION & VOLUNTEERING
- Call 661-834-1724 to get information on how to file your taxes at any of the above CAPK VITA locations, or how to become a CAPK VITA volunteer.
Team Vidak Out and About
Claudia Salinas of Team Vidak presented a Gold Senate Certificate of Recognition to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County to honor their 70 years of service and dedication to the Central Valley. We also want to congratulate 17-year old Michael King on being named Fresno County’s 2018 Youth of the Year.
Andy was recognized at the Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s Report Card Reception last month. He received an “A” grade from the Chamber for his voting record on business-related legislation.
Andy attended the Grand Opening of the Hanford Joint Union High School District’s agricultural farm and learning laboratory. This state of the art facility will benefit over 900 students in agricultural programs at Hanford High School, Hanford West High School, and Sierra Pacific High School.
Team Vidak attended the retirement celebration of former Fresno Bee Executive Editor Jim Boren, who recently retired after a 48-year career at The Bee. Under Boren’s leadership, The Bee was named the best newspaper in the state last year in its circulation division by the California News Publishers Association.
Team Vidak’s Claudia Salinas attended the Selma District Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon at Cattlemens restaurant. Attendees discussed a variety of topics facing business owner and job creators in the Central Valley.
Team Vidak’s Claudia Salinas presented a Gold Senate Certificate of Recognition to Mike Derr in honor of his 40 years as an insurance agent and business owner with State Farm.
Andy met with Habitat for Humanity of Fresno County, Habitat for Humanity of Tulare & Kings Counties, and Habitat for Humanity Golden Empire in his Capitol Office to learn more about their 2018 plans across the Central Valley.
January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and Team Vidak’s Gabriela Gonzales presented the Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking with a Gold Senate Certificate of Recognition for their work in Kern County. KCAHT is a grassroots coalition that was created to facilitate a comprehensive approach to combat human trafficking in Kern County through prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships.
Andy met with Cathy Hall from the California State PTA in his Capitol office to discuss several school-related issues impacting the Central Valley.
January 26 was Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day and Team Vidak’s Gabriela Gonzales visited with the Community Action Partnership of Kern’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) team, which helps thousands of low and moderate-income individuals and families prepare and file their income tax returns for no cost.
Mike Bowers of Team Vidak presented a Gold Senate Certificate of Recognition to Salty’s BBQ & Catering last week in honor of the grand opening of their new downtown Bakersfield location.
Team Vidak’s Mike Bowers attended the Bakersfield Association of Realtors 2018 celebration at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. The Bakersfield Association of Realtors is a non-profit organization that serves more than 3,000 Realtors and Industry Partners.
Team Vidak’s Rogelio Caudillo was at the Porterville Historical Museum last week to present a Gold Senate Certificate of Recognition at the ribbon cutting for the “Discovering Porterville’s Pioneer Past” exhibit. The exhibit features items from R. Porter Putnam, the founder of Porterville, and artifacts from Porterville’s early history.
Claudia Salinas of Team Vidak attended a Coffee Talk with Ryan Jacobsen (center) from the Fresno County Farm Bureau, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mimms (right), Fresno County Supervisors Brian Pacheco and Buddy Mendez, and Gary Serrato from the Fresno Irrigation District.
Team Vidak’ s Mike Bowers attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital. The hospital aims to provide safe, effective, and efficient psychiatric services in a caring manner for all members of the community.
Team Vidak presented Gold Senate Certificates of Recognition to Kings County Deputy Sheriff School Resource Officer David Calhoun (2017 - third quarter) and Deputy Sheriff Clint Vick (2017 - fourth quarter) on being named Outstanding Employees of the Quarter..
Andy met with the Student Body Council from Richland Jr. High School and gave them a tour of the Senate floor.
Team Vidak District Representative Claudia Salinas (left) met with Dora Rivera Westerlund (right) from the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation at the group’s Negociantes Unidos Breakfast Meeting in Fresno last week. The keynote speaker at the breakfast was Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.
Team Vidak’s Claudia Salinas presented a Gold Senate Certificate of Recognition to Secure Storage of Selma at the ribbon cutting ceremony for their recent expansion and to celebrate 14 years of being in business. The ribbon cutting ceremony was organized by the Selma District Chamber of Commerce.
Team Vidak’s Gabriela Gonzales presented a Gold Senate Certificate of Recognition at the dedication of the Cynthia M. Meek Enrichment Center at St. Francis of Assisi Parish School in Bakersfield. Cynthia (on the right) retired in 2011 but has since become a tireless community service volunteer.