Vidak's News and Views: September 2016

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Howdy Friends -

East Porterville Water Update

Great news for families in East Porterville! Homes are finally being connected to a water system after wells went dry in the summer of 2014. The water hook ups are to a new, permanent and sustainable source of water through the East Porterville Water Supply Project led by the California Department of Water Resources.

The Valley’s epic drought has been especially devastating to the folks in East Porterville who have been forced to drink bottled water and take showers in a parking lot.

Heartfelt-thanks to all the volunteers who helped folks get water and gratitude for the leaders and agencies that worked together to make the water hook ups possible.

High-Speed Rail Update

I’m happy to report that my Senate Bill 940 was signed into law. It will give previous owners of property, once thought to be in one of the many proposed paths of High-Speed Rail, the opportunity to buy it back if the state is selling it.

The law requires the High-Speed Rail Authority to notify previous property owners when it plans to sell unneeded property and requires the Authority to wait 30 days after the notification before selling the property.

The High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) claims it needs nearly 1,300 individual properties to complete the 120-mile route from Madera to Bakersfield. The route has seen many changes. There’s a good possibility the project will never be completed and the state will own property it no longer needs.

The HSRA is trying to take farms, land, businesses and homes, many of which have been in the same family for generations. Folks deserve the opportunity to get back what belonged to them if the state plans to sell property it bought or seized to supposedly complete the High-Speed Rail project.

Pray for rain. Stop the train!

Senator Andy Vidak's signature

Pictures from the first East Porterville home to be hooked up to the new city water system.

Photos from City of Porterville’s water system’s first home.

Photos from City of Porterville’s water system’s first home.
Happy Homeowner Leonicio Ramirez (left) opened the spigot and filled a pitcher with water from new connection. Team Vidak District Representative Rogelio Caudillo (right) helps cover the water connection to the first East Porterville home to be hooked up to the City of Porterville’s water system.

Photos from City of Porterville’s water system’s first home.

Photos from City of Porterville’s water system’s first home.
Community leaders, including Tomas Garcia with the East Porterville for Water Justice, Porterville Mayor Milt Stowe and state and local agencies were on hand when the first home was hooked up to the new water system.

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Andy: The Inconvenient Truth About SB 32

Image of Senator Vidak speaking on the Senate Floor

Andy spoke out on the Senate Floor in adamant opposition to Senate Bill 32, a radical environment policy that will worsen poverty and kill ag jobs in the Valley. Click here to watch the video.

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Legislative Update

Dozens of measures that Andy authored and co-authored were signed into law, or are now awaiting the governor’s signature.

For example, SB 1178 requires the state Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to create a poster showing children the phone number to call if they are the victim of abuse or neglect. The poster would be created in English, Spanish and the other top three languages of the state.

Additionally, local schools would be encouraged to display the poster in a public area of the school where children are present. The SPI would be required to make the posters available online for download by July 1, 2017. After Texas enacted a similar bill in 2013, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services received 38,000 more calls of suspected abuse than the prior year.

“Keeping our children safe from predators is a top priority. I’m grateful for the unanimous bipartisan support SB 1178 received,” said Andy. “Child abuse affects children of every age, race and income level. Sadly, it can often come from a person the child trusts.”

AB 1588, which Assemblymember Devon Mathis (R-Porterville) authored and Andy co-authored, would help homeowners who live in some of the most severely impacted areas of drought by providing grants and low-interest loans for water and wastewater projects. Andy helped carry the measure to a unanimous vote in support on the Senate Floor. The measure is on the governor’s desk.

“Folks who rely on groundwater wells have been especially impacted by drought and there are no programs right now that help these individual homeowners and renters with financial assistance to get water for their basic needs,” said Andy.

To watch Andy’s Senate Floor speech on AB 1588, click here.

Senator Vidak speaking on the Senate floor

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Team Vidak Out & About

Click on the photos below to see what’s happening in our communities.

National Night Out in Dinuba

Photos from National Night Out in Dinuba

Lindsay Coffee with Community Leaders

Photos from Lindsay Coffee with Community Leaders

Kern County Boys & Girls Club

Photos from Kern County Boys & Girls Club

Mobile Office Hours at the Porterville Farmers Market

Photos from Porterville Farmers Market

Hanford’s 125th Birthday Bash

Hanford’s 125th Birthday Bash

Fresno Friday Night’s 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament

Photos from Fresno Friday Night’s 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament

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Smittcamp Family Honors College 2016 Class of Scholars

Fresno State Logo

Fifty high-achieving high school graduates from throughout California make up the 18th class of President’s Honors Scholars in the Smittcamp Family Honors College at California State University, Fresno. The freshmen were selected from a pool of more than 500 applicants.

Several of the scholars hail from schools in the Senate District 14, which Andy proudly represents:

  • Claire Evangelho (Roosevelt)
  • Mara Lewis (Hanford)
  • Nicholas Marshall (Sanger)
  • Micah Olivas (Hanford)
  • Zachary Shaath (Edison)
  • Cameron Standridge (Hanford)
  • Emma Van Fossen (Hanford)
  • Dominic Zoldak (Hanford)

“These amazing students are among the Valley’s best and brightest,” said Andy. “Congratulations for your extraordinary accomplishments and a future full of promise.”

Applicants to the Smittcamp Family Honors College must score 1800 or above on the SAT (or 27 or above on the ACT), be in the upper 10 percent of their graduating class or have a minimum 3.8 GPA in college-preparation classes.

The Honors College was established in 1998 with a $1 million gift from the late Earl and Muriel Smittcamp and their family, a prominent agribusiness family and longtime supporters of Fresno State. The ongoing collective support of other donors has also played a significant role in the continued success of the Honors College.

The Smittcamp Family Honors College is unique in the California State University system. President’s Scholars are admitted as a cohort, take a series of specially designed honors courses, participate in a weekly seminars with guest speakers and interact in educational, scholarly, and social activities.

In addition, each President’s Scholar is required to volunteer a minimum of 70 hours of community service through his/her junior year. To remain in the program, a student must enroll in at least 12 units and earn a minimum of 3.25 GPA in their first and second years, and a minimum of a 3.5 GPA in their third and fourth years.

Over 90 percent of the scholars graduate in four years, mostly with summa cum laude (3.9+ GPA) or magna cum laude (3.7+ GPA) distinctions.

Beginning October 1, 2016, the Smittcamp Family Honors College - President’s Honors Scholarship Application will be available online via Fresno State Scholarship’s website. Completed applications must also be submitted via Fresno State Scholarship’s website. The online application submission deadline is December 8, 2016.

For more information on the Smittcamp Family Honors College and to apply, click here.

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Kern Nonprofits Receive Kaiser Health Grants

Picture of Kaiser granting non-profits with check

Picture of Kaiser granting non-profits with check

Picture of Kaiser granting non-profits with check

Kaiser Permanente recently awarded $216,368 in community grants to 19 Kern County organizations working in the areas of:

  • Access to Health Insurance Coverage and Health Care Services;
  • Prevention and Management of Obesity & Overweight; and
  • Prevention and Management of Chronic Conditions.

Andy helped honor the nonprofits as they received their grant check during a ceremony in Bakersfield.

Congratulations to the following organizations:

  • Advanced Center for Eyecare
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Association of Kern County
  • Kern County Superintendent of Schools
  • Bakersfield Police Activities League
  • Bike Bakersfield
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County
  • Community Action Partnership of Kern
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kern
  • Girl Scouts of Central California
  • Global Family Care Network
  • Stewards Inc.
  • Kern County Department of Public Health
  • Kern County Superintendent of Schools
  • Kern Partnership for Children & Families
  • Links for Life
  • Mercy Foundation Bakersfield
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Society for Disabled Children
  • Kern County Children & Families Commission

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Team Vidak Kern Interns

“Shout out to Gurjit Dhaliwal and Kevalin Sutter, who generously gave their time and talent as interns for Team Vidak in our Bakersfield district office this summer,” said Andy. “Your contribution to serving the great people of Senate District 14 is greatly appreciated.”

Picture of intern Gurjit DhaliwalGurjit Dhaliwal was born and raised in Bakersfield and spent four years in a private boarding school in Himachal Pardesh, India from 1st grade through 4th grade. She returned to Bakersfield in 2010. She is now going into her junior year at Independence High School in Bakersfield. “I had a great experience working at Senator Andy Vidak's Office, under the supervision of District Representative Gaby Castaneda,” said Gurjit. I got to learn how to interact with people through phones and events. I learned a lot about mail merging, excel, scanning and faxing, which is extremely beneficial. I am very thankful for this opportunity. I had an amazing experience.


Picture of intern Kevalin Sutter was born and raised in Anaheim and graduated from Frontier High School in Bakersfield. Kev will be attending his first year of Bakersfield College in order to transfer to a 4-year university so he can major in chemistry. “Serving the community and working with Vidak Team has been an amazing experience and I would love to do more to increase the quality of life in my city,” said Kev. “I want to leave the world better for everyone than when I entered. I’m not quite sure where my life is headed but, whether I go into government, science, or medicine, I want to help whenever I can because it leaves me with the best feeling of accomplishment ever.”


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September Mobile Office Hours

Map of District

Team Vidak staff members will be holding Mobile District Office Hours in the following communities in August:

Fri., Sept. 9

4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
“Latino Health Awareness Month” Community Resource Fair
111 West Kern Ave., McFarland

Wed., Sept. 14

2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Parlier Branch Library
1130 E. Parlier Ave., Parlier

Mon., Sept. 19

2 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Pond Union School District
29585 Pond Rd., Wasco

Lost Hills
Tues., Sept. 20

10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Lost Hills Fire Department
14670 Lost Hills Rd., Lost Hills

Fri., Sept. 23

2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Orosi Branch Library
12646 Ave. 416, Orosi

Mon., Sept. 26

3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Tulare County Library, Ivanhoe Branch
15964 Heather St., Ivanhoe

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
  • Licensing
  • Medi-Cal
  • Small business assistance
  • Worker’s compensation
  • State legislation and
  • Other state-related matters

For more information, please contact Team Vidak’s Claudia Salinas (559) 585-7161 or email

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Legislative Calendar Highlights

California Senate Seal

The Legislature is in Recess until December. Following are important upcoming legislative dates:


9/30    Last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature before Sept. 1
            and in the Governor-s possession on or after Sept. 1
11/8    General Election
12/5   12 Noon convening of the 2017-18 Regular Session


1/1       Laws enacted in 2016 take effect

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