|IN THIS ISSUE:|
|Note from Andy|
|Memorial Day is May 26|
|Watch Andy Take the Heat!|
|Kudos to Yulisa|
|Team Vidak in the Community|
|Andy's Headline News|
|Highlights of Andy's May Calendar|
Water Bond Garners Bipartisan Support
Senate Bill 927, the water bond measure that I co-authored with Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) garnered bi-partisan support, but did not receive enough votes to pass out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on April 22. The committee did unanimously vote 9-0 for reconsideration, which means the bill is eligible for a future vote. The committee chair also indicated it would become part of consensus discussions on a final water bond measure.
Senator Ben Hueso, a Democrat from San Diego, voted in support of SB 927, along with Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) and Senator Cannella, who also serves on the committee. I greatly appreciate Senator Hueso’s support and will continue to work across the aisle to ensure that there is leadership, not delay, on this critical issue affecting every Californian.
To watch my opening remarks, click here.
Urban Senators Kill Legislation to Stop High-Speed Rail
My Senate colleagues from urban areas voted down the legislative package I authored to stop the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to put the brakes on stopping High-Speed Rail. I continue to support Kings County’s court battle to stop this out-of-control project.
I appreciate Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability, Kings County (represented by Supervisor Richard Valle) and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for speaking in support of Senate Bills 901, 902, 903 and 904. Unfortunately, the package of four bills was defeated in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on a party-line vote.
High-Speed Rail is not the animal voters approved in 2008 and we deserve the right to vote on it again. It has become a multi-billion-dollar Godzilla that will kill jobs, destroy farmland, crush homes and devastate families if it is not stopped. It’s disappointing that some are in a rush to feed this beast.
May is the month to remember our fallen heroes. Every year on the last Monday of May, May 26th in 2014, the United States celebrates Memorial Day to honor all Americans who have died while in military service. While the holiday is a day of somber remembrance, it is also a day in which Americans show their respect for the freedom for which that these courageous men and women resiliently fought.
“These brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our safety. They deserve the greatest honor we can bestow, our genuine gratitude for their public service,” said Andy. “Please join me in remembering those who fought for our enduring freedom.”
This day of remembrance began following the Civil War, which claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history. It was known then as Decorations Day. During World War I, the commemoration grew to include American men and women serving in the military who died in all wars.
There have been 119 U.S. military fatalities in the Afghanistan war reported for 2013, a dramatic drop of about 60 percent from the 295 that occurred the previous year, according to an Associated Press count. The 119 American deaths brought the overall total to 2,162 since U.S. troops were first deployed to Afghanistan more than 12 years ago on October 7, 2001, according to AP’s detailed Afghanistan casualties database. According to the Pentagon’s official count, 1,788 U.S. soldiers have been killed in action and 19,541 have been wounded during the war. Another 134 U.S. soldiers have been killed outside of Afghanistan during the 12 years of Enduring Freedom action.
To watch a short video of Andy’s first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a firefighter at the California Professional Firefighters 'Fire OPS 101' training at the Capitol, click here.
“It was eye-opening! Unbelievable! I think every elected official should take the opportunity to do this,” said Andy.
Congratulations to Noemi Rodriguez-Paredes, named “Youth of the Year” for the Fresno County Boys & Girls Club! She is pictured with Andy on the Floor of the State Senate. “Noemi’s recognition was hard-earned. Team Vidak is very proud of her accomplishments,” said Andy.
Pictured from left to right: Vineland School District Superintendent Matthew Ross, Yulisa Ruiz, and Team Vidak representative Tomeka Powell
Yulisa Ruiz, a 5th grade student from Sunset Elementary, is recognized with a Senate Scholastic Achievement Certificate for being English Language Proficient. “Kudos to Yulisa for this great scholastic achievement,” said Andy.
Team Vidak members participated in numerous community events and celebrations, including the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Goodwill store in Lemoore, the 20th Annual Sikh Day Parade in Selma, the Lao New Year Celebration in Fresno, SW Fresno Boys & Girls Club’s Bringing Broken Neighborhoods Back to Life block party event, Corcoran’s Community Clean Up event, the Fresno EOC’s YouthBuild Global Youth Service Day, Arvin Chamber of Commerce’s 26th Annual Wildflower Festival, and the Dinuba Cinco de Mayo Pageant. Click on the photos below for more details.
- Andy Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Bring Child Sexual Predators to Justice
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to support Senate Bill 926 (Beall). Andy is the co-author of this bipartisan measure to reform the statute of limitations for the victims of the most egregious crimes of childhood sexual abuse from age 28 to 40 years old.
“I’m heartened that this bipartisan crime-victims’ measure passed its first committee test and applaud Senator Jim Beall for championing this issue. SB 926 is an important proposal to help bring sexual predators who abuse our children to justice,” said Andy.
- Andy Applauds New Employment Credit Pilot Designation for Fresno
Fresno has been chosen as one of three pilot areas for the New Employment Credit (NEC), a hiring tax credit for businesses.
“This is great news for more jobs in the Fresno area, which has one of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the state and the country. Struggling businesses in Fresno can really use this credit to help hire more workers,” said Andy.
- Andy Nominates Arvin’s Farmers Insurance for ’Small Business of the Year’ Award
Andy Vidak has nominated Farmers Insurance in Arvin for the California Small Business Association’s (CSBA) “Small Business of the Year” award.
The Farmers Insurance agency in Arvin is owned by Randel Thompson, who is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force where he served our country for more than 12 years. As a small business owner, Thompson has served on the Arvin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 35 years and is a co-founder of the city’s Annual Wildflower Festival, which is in its 36th year. He has been a member of the Kern County Crippled Children’s Association Board of Directors, a three-year volunteer with the American Red Cross and is a current member of the American Legion. Thompson has also served as chairperson of the Police Chief’s Advisory Committee for the City of Arvin and has served as chairperson of the City Manager’s Selection Committee.
“Randel Thompson’s clear commitment to our community, our state and our country is inspiring. It is my honor to nominate Mr.Thompson for the CSBA’s ’Small Business of the Year’ award,” said Andy.
Thompson will be honored during ’California Small Business Day 2014’ on June 16 in Sacramento.
- Andy Challenges KY Rep. Osborne to a Kentucky Derby “Throw Down”
Andy and Kentucky State Representative David Osborne (R-Prospect) are in a Kentucky Derby “Throw Down” of sorts.
“California Chrome, a California Central Valley-bred Kentucky Derby contender can best any Kentucky-bred contender on May 3 is the challenge,” said Vidak.
According to the Sacramento Bee (4/20/14), “Most Derby horses are born to wealth in lush Kentucky bluegrass, not California’s Central Valley. Only three California-bred colts have won the Kentucky Derby, and the last was 52 years ago.”
The challenge involves California-grown cherries from Vidak’s farm and Woodford Reserve, a Kentucky-distilled bourbon.
In a business where buying a yearling for $400,000 is a common occurrence, the owners took a mare that they paid $8,000 for and breed it to a stallion for $2,500. The result is California Chrome. He is at the top of the leader board for the Kentucky Derby with the most earnings of any horse.
“Representative Osborne says he likes cherries, but he won’t be enjoying them anytime soon,” said Vidak. “We’ve got a track-record here in our Central Valley of beating the odds.”
To read Rep. Osborne’s response, click here.
Click on the photos below to see some of what Andy’s been up to at the Capitol and in the district in April, including a visit to Kings Canyon Middle School in Fresno, the California Women Lead appointments training in Bakersfield, fighting to stop High-Speed Rail and get legislation passed to put a water bond on the November ballot in Sacramento, leading a team for the Great American Clean Up in Bakersfield, delivering a $5,000 Barona Education Grant check to El Monte Middle School in Orosi and “Pulling for a Cure” with the Dinuba Firefighters Association to raise money for cancer research.
5/1 Senate Floor Session - State Capitol
5/1 T.A.P.S. (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Red, White & Blue Gala - Bakersfield
5/2 BOE Small Business Seminar - Fresno
5/3 Passport to Summer Youth Fair - Fresno
5/3 Cinco De Mayo Celebrations - Fresno
5/5 Senate Floor Session - State Capitol
5/8 Senate Floor Session - State Capitol
5/12 Senate Floor Session - State Capitol
5/15 Senate Floor Session - State Capitol
5/15 Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremonies - Hanford
5/16 Grimmway Academy Tour - Arvin
5/19 Senate Floor Session - State Capitol
5/23 Senate Floor Session - State Capitol
5/25 Remembering Kern County Fallen Heroes at the “Wall of Valor” - Bakersfield
5/26 Memorial Day Service - North Kern Cemetery in Delano
5/27 Senate Floor Session - State Capitol
5/28 Senate Floor Session - State Capitol
5/29 Senate Floor Session - State Capitol
5/31 Merle Haggard Charity Benefit Concert -- Fresno
Follow Andy’s Senate page on Facebook to see photos and to get updates of Andy’s activities. For the latest news, visit Andy’s Senate Website at www.senate.ca.gov/vidak.