Happy New Year!
El Niño is finally delivering the rain we’ve all prayed for, highlighting the need to accelerate the building of above ground water storage to capture it, which remains a top priority for me.
Other top priorities for this year continue to be:
- providing a clean and reliable water supply;
- stopping High-Speed Rail;
- ensuring our children have access to quality education;
- protecting our job creators and fostering more jobs;
- safeguarding affordable energy sources that are produced here; and
- preserving our Valley way of life.
It is a deep honor to serve you in the State Senate. Team Vidak Wishes you a happy and prosperous new year.
The governor unveiled his 2016-2017 Budget proposal on January 7. Following is Andy’s response:
Funding Developmental Disability Services
With budget surpluses projected to be in the billions, funding developmental disability services should be a top priority of this year’s budget.
Cap and Trade dollars should NOT be used to fund High-Speed Rail – it is a gross polluter that will destroy farms, homes, businesses and families. Those funds should instead be used to invest in current transportation infrastructure to create jobs, and improve statewide and regional transportation needs, such as improvements to Highways 99, 41 and Interstate 5.
Dangers of Realignment
Continuing to fund the early release of criminals is endangering our communities and is certainly NOT saving the taxpayers the dollars promised. The program needs to be scrapped and prisoners need to be returned to state prison.
No Tax Hikes Needed
With budget coffers overflowing with excess funds from the Prop. 30 – the tax hike of 2012 – there is absolutely no need to raise taxes for health care and/or transportation.
Transportation Inspector General Needed
This budget should fund a Transportation Inspector General to investigate Caltrans and the High-Speed Rail Authority and then report back to the Legislature any instances of fraud, waste and abuse. This could save the state billions of taxpayer dollars, as has been the case in many other states.
For a copy of the governor’s 2016-2017 Budget Summary, visit www.ebudget.ca.gov.
Andy has introduced Senate Bill 806 to rename the Veterans Home of California – Fresno, the “Dr. Charlie Waters Memorial Veterans’ Home.”
Dr. Waters played critical role in the establishment of the Fresno Veterans home, frequently testifying before the Legislature to ensure adequate funding for the facility.
“Charlie was a tireless and passionate champion for building a home for our veterans in Fresno,” said Andy. “Charlie, along with Chuck Parnell and George Sinopoli , and dozens of community members and organizations, dedicated endless hours and resources to make the Veterans Home in Fresno a reality.”
The contributions of Chuck Parnell and George Sinopoli are recognized in the language of SB 806.
Dr. Waters served his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps from 1951 to 1958, including 13 months of combat in Korea. Following his combat service, he was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay.
He served on numerous veterans and community boards, commissions and foundations, including the Fresno Marine Corps League, the Veterans Day Parade Committee, the Fresno Veterans Home Foundation, the American Legion and Toys for Tots.
“Dr. Waters’ advocacy for improving the lives of Veterans throughout the Central Valley, California and the Nation and his legacy will forever be embedded in the beautiful Veterans Home that sits in Fresno,” wrote the Central California Veterans Home Support Foundation members following Dr. Waters passing last year. Dr. Waters was president of the Foundation.
The Veterans Home of California – Fresno is a 300-bed, long-term care facility located on 30 acres. The Veterans Home opened in October 2013, and currently offers assisted-living level of care, skilled nursing, and has future plans to offer memory care.
Andy had the honor of officiating at the wedding of Matt and Ashley Hewitt, which took place in Simi Valley. The happy couple met while volunteering for Andy. “May Mr. and Mrs. Hewitt have a long-long marriage of love and happiness,” said Andy.
Pictured from left to right:
Photo 1: Andy, Ashley Hewitt, Matt Hewitt and Assemblyman Travis Allen
Photo 2: Assemblyman Travis Allen, Uncle of the Bride Cliff Wagner and Andy
Photo 3: Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, Matthew Del Carlo, Assemblyman Travis Allen and Andy
U.S. Congressman David G. Valadao, The Wonderful Company, Tachi Palace and my office have teamed up for a Central Valley Career and Resource Expo.
With high unemployment in the Valley, connecting people looking for a job with people who have jobs to fill is a top priority. So if you are looking for a job, this is the place to be!
Employers with Jobs Needed
If you are an employer with jobs to fill, Andy would like to invite you to get a booth. What makes this Expo different is that all booth participants have current job openings; they are not there just to accept resumes to add to a database.
Serious job applicants come to this Expo because they know their chances of landing a job at this event is much higher than many job fairs. Last year’s Expo had over 80 employer booths. Over 300 job applicants attended.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tachi Palace Bingo Hall
17225 Jersey Ave, Lemoore
Expo Career Development Workshops
In addition to employers with jobs to fill, San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) will be providing job-seekers with free career development workshops at the Expo.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this event,” said SJVC Career Services Specialist Leo Zarate. “Preparing people for their next job and providing opportunities for employment is an amazing feat.”
The comprehensive series of live workshops to help job-seekers develop a successful job-search strategy and get tools to land a job include:
- Job interviewing/role playing
- Resume Review/writing it, posting it and employers perspective
- Social networking/job search strategy
- Dress for Success
- Lasting impression at Job Fairs/follow up
If you are a business with job openings and would like to be part of the Expo, or if you would like more information about the Expo, please contact Claudia Salinas in Andy’s Hanford district office at 559-585-7161 or Claudia.Salinas@sen.ca.gov.
SOS Recycle Center Ribbon
Cutting Representatives from the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce and Team Vidak Sr. District Representative Mike Bowers helped cut the ribbon at the grand opening of SOS Recycling Center in the Olive Grove Shopping Center in Bakersfield.
Algerian Ag Trade Mission Visits Kings Co.
The Kings County Economic Development Corporation hosted the Algerian Ag Trade Mission when they came to Kings County to learn more about modern U.S. practices in the agricultural industry. This year, the luncheon for the delegation was at the Philip Verwey Dairy, south of Hanford, where the delegation could also take a tour and see how a modern U.S. dairy works and operates. The Algerians have come to Kings County several times in the past, and Team Vidak was proud to be part of event to welcome and thank them for coming to Kings County.
Top: Three members of the Algerian Ag Trade Mission Delegation, Team Vidak District Representative Rogelio Caudillo and Philip Verwey, the owner of Philip Verwey Dairy
Bottom: The Algerian Ag Trade Delegation with representatives and members of the community of Kings County.
Hanford District “D” Honorees
Team Vidak District Representative Rogelio Caudillo (center) presented Senate Certificates to City of Hanford District “D” Honorees Shaka Sudds (left) and Shelli Barker (right) in recognition for their community service. In addition to the presentation at the Longfield Center, representatives from the City of Hanford were in attendance to provide updates and answer questions, and several community service organizations were in attendance to assist Hanford residents.
Porterville Legislative Community Coffee
The public was invited last month to a Legislative Community Coffee at the Sierra Hills Retirement Home in Porterville to learn more about what Andy is doing to help the Valley and to hear a public safety update from Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux and Porterville Mayor Milt Stowe. “Thanks to all the folks that came out Saturday for the Legislative Community Coffee in Porterville,” said Andy. “Great band! Special thanks to Sheriff Boudreaux, Mayor Stowe and Sierra Hills Retirement Home for co-hosting the event with Team Vidak!”
Top: Andy asked the people who attended the Community Coffee to share what’s important to them and their families.
Bottom: Sheriff Boudreaux (center with the microphone) gives a public safety update.
Bakersfield Holiday Open House
Dozens of folks stopped by Team Vidak’s Holiday Open House at the Bakersfield District Office and had the pleasure to hear the College Heights Elementary School Mariachi Band (pictured on right). “Special thanks to my Bakersfield district office staff interns (pictured bottom left) and others for helping make the Open House a special evening for so many,” said Andy.
Holiday Food Baskets for Bakersfield Families
Pictured top left: Julie and Stephen Walsh – Valley Feeding Project
Pictured middle left: (left to right) Golden West Casino employee Lorena Gonzalez and Team Vidak’s Gaby Castaneda.
Valley Feeding Project, Golden West Casino, Old Ranch Construction, Bakersfield City School District, Children First Campaign and Team Vidak joined forces to provide 150 holiday food baskets for Bakersfield families in need.
Holiday Community Breakfast in Lemoore
Andy attended the Holiday Community Breakfast at Tachi Palace. The December breakfast is Tachi’s most-attended community of the year. Naval Air Station Lemoore was the co-host for this month’s breakfast.
Left: Senator Andy Vidak/ Jim Snead, CFO at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, CA / Clint Olivier, Fresno City Council Member
Right: Willie Barrios, General Manager at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, CA / Senator Andy Vidak/ Capt. Monty Ashliman, Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Lemoore
The Kern County Veterans Service Department recently announced that veterans and their families can now schedule appointments to see a Veterans Service Representative.
Appointments can be scheduled all day Monday through Thursday and Friday mornings. The primary goal of expanding the appointment hours is to reduce wait times for clients.
“Things are running smoothly and clients seem to love the convenience, availability and accessibility this program offers,” said Kern County Veterans Service Department Director Dick Taylor.
The department can help veterans apply for many federal and state benefits, including compensation for service-connected disabilities, pension for war-era veterans, residency in a California Veterans Home, issuance of military records and awards, just to name a few.
Veterans can call 661-868-7300 or toll free 866-218-5367 to schedule an appointment or to get more information. The office is located at 1120 Golden State Ave., near M Street in Bakersfield or visit: http://www.co.kern.ca.us/veterans.
Following is information on County Veterans Services Offices in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties:
Fresno County Veterans Services Office
1320 E. Shaw Ave, Suite 105, Fresno, CA 93710
Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Kings County Veterans Services Office
1400 W. Lacey Blvd, Law Building #4, Hanford, CA 93230
Office Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Walk-In Hours: Monday – Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Appointments: Monday – Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
ID Cards: Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Tulare County Veterans Services
205 N. “L” Street, Tulare, CA 93274
Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
El Niño storms are here, bringing with them the possibility of flash flooding – the #1 cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S. Six inches of moving water can knock people down. Two feet of water can sweep vehicles away. If you get a flash flood warning for your area, immediately go to higher ground.
Storms can also mean power outages. Beware of downed power lines. They can still be energized and deadly. Downed lines can electrify puddles, grass and other wet areas. Stay away and call 911 immediately.
To prepare for winter storms, consider the following:
Prepare an Emergency Kit
The kit should include flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, one-week supply of water, blankets and warm clothes.
Inspect Your Car
Check your windshield wipers and tire tread.
Prepare Your Home
Clear your gutters and outdoor drain. Use sandbags to protect your home.
Use a Flashlight
Candles are a fire hazard. Use a flashlight instead during a power outage.
For more safety tips, visit www.ready.gov.
California’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has new services and programs that can help you file your state income taxes.
MyFTB is a 24/7 self-service tool to assist taxpayers, businesses and tax preparers with online features such as:
- Initiate a secure chat with an FTB representative
- Send a secure message anytime to FTB staff about your taxes
- Protest a proposed assessment
- Access helpful tax calculation
- File a Power of Attorney declaration
For more information go to www.ftb.ca.gov and search for myftb.
It’s your money. Get it! A new state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) will be available to qualified taxpayers for the 2015 calendar year. The EITC is available to working families who made less than $13,870 last year. Eligibility for the credit and the size of the credit depends on the number of children in the household.
More information, including a tax calculator and the locations of free tax assistance sites, can be found at www.caleitc4me.org.
|1/11||Senate Floor Session|
|1/12||Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Hearing|
|1/13||Senate Committee on Education Hearing|
|1/13||Joint Legislative Audit Committee Hearing on High-Speed Rail|
|1/15||Senate Floor Session|
|1/18||Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Breakfast in Bakersfield|
|1/19||Senate Floor Session|
|1/20||Senate Committee on Education Hearing|
|1/21||Senate Floor Session|
|1/25||Senate Floor Session|
|1/28||Senate Floor Session|
|1/29||Senate Floor Session|
|1/31||Last day for the Senate to pass bills introduced last year|