Vidak's News & Views: July 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016

Howdy Friends –

“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” from The Declaration of Independence
“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” from The Declaration of Independence

My heart swells with patriotism and gratitude as we approach Independence Day on July 4; the national holiday that celebrates the founding of this great country.

Our freedom is possible because of the vision and sacrifice of our exceptional Founders, and to those who gave their time, energy, and even their lives.

I hope your 4th of July is filled with family, friends, fireworks, food and fun, as well as an appreciation for the rights we enjoy.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day!


Senator Andy Vidak's signature

Safe & Sane Fireworks

Image of Fireworks

The following tips from the Red Cross will help you have fun and stay safe if you plan to celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

For more information about staying safe on the Fourth and throughout the summer from the Red Cross, click here.

CalFire warns that severe burns, amputations, blindness, and fatal injuries can be the result of 4th of July celebrations, and provides the following fire safety tips:

  • Local ordinances should be verified before purchasing and/or using fireworks.
  • Always read directions.
  • Always have an adult present.
  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Never use near dry grass or other flammable materials.
  • Light one at a time.
  • Keep a safe distance.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Never experiment with fireworks.
  • Have a bucket of water and a hose handy.
  • Never attempt to re-light or “fix” fireworks.
  • Do not wear loose fitting clothing.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pockets.
  • Fireworks are not toys.
  • Use only State Fire Marshal approved fireworks

For more information on fire safety from CalFire, click here.

Team Vidak Out & About

Click on the photos below to see what Team Vidak has been doing in the district and at the Capitol.

Dangers of Drinking & Driving

Hanford Students Learn Dangers of Drinking & Driving

2016 Immigrant Day at the Capitol

2016 Immigrant Day

Kern Schools Credit Union

Kern Schools Credit Union

Terra Bella’s Frank Betry Retires

Terra Bella’s Frank Betry Retires

Congrats UCSF Fresno Grads

Congrats UCSF Fresno Grads

American Legion California Boys State

American Legion California Boys State

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July Mobile Office Hours

Team Vidak District Representative Rogelio Caudillo (left) helps a<br />
constituent during Mobile Office Hours in Delano in June.
Team Vidak District Representative Rogelio Caudillo (left) helps a constituent during Mobile Office Hours in Delano in June.

Team Vidak staff members will hold Mobile District Office hours in the following communities in July:

Orange Cove
Friday, July 1
1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Orange Cove Library
815 Park Blvd., Orange Cove

Tuesday, July 12
3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Delano Farmer’s Market
Clinica Sierra Vista/Delano’s Community Health Center
1508 Garces Hwy., Delano

Friday, July 15
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
“Summer Night Lights”
Woodlake High School’s Pool
400 W. Whitney Ave., Woodlake

Monday, July 25
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wasco Veterans Hall
1202 Poplar Ave., Wasco

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

East Porterville Drought Resources Fair

The Community Services Employment Training (CSET) hosted a Tulare County Drought Resource Fair at the East Porterville Drought Resource Center.

The free fair promoted services for drought-impacted residents, including the Household Bottled Water Distribution Program, the Household Potable Water Tank Program, Energy Bill Assistance, the Toilet Replacement Program, Drought Housing Relocation Assistance and more.

Representatives from the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board provided residents with details about the East Porterville Emergency Water Supply Project, which is in development.

Local partner agencies attending included the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency, the Housing Authority of Tulare County, United Way of Tulare County, Family HealthCare Network, Porterville Library and Proteus, Inc.

Team Vidak was there to listen to folks and to show support for the groups and agencies helping the community of East Porterville.

Image Collage
Top and middle left photos: Andy listens to CSET staff and folks attending the Drought Resources Fair. Middle right photo: Stuart Farley (left), Drought Manager with the CA Department of Water Resources showed Andy (right) plans to connect people’s homes in East Porterville to water. Bottom photo: Pictured from left to right are: Rogelio Caudillo, Team Vidak District Representative; Andy; Roman Hernandez, Pastor of Iglesia Emmanuel Church; and Isabel Olmos, Community Health Representative for Family Healthcare Network.

For more information about drought relief services, please call CSET’s Drought Assistance hotline at 1-866-284-5142, or visit CSET’s Drought Resource Center at 185 S. Leggett Street in East Porterville, which is open Mon., Wed., Fri., and Sat. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tues. and Wed. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Valley Leaders and Achievers Honored

Comcast-NBCUniversal “2016 Leader and Achiever Award”

Nine high school students from Senate District 14 earned the Comcast-NBCUniversal “2016 Leader and Achiever Award” for their outstanding community service, academic performance and leadership skills.

The noteworthy students are:

  • Grace Campbell (Fresno)
  • Matthew Chavez (Dinuba)
  • Tennyson Feigel (Sanger)
  • Alison Hernandez (Hanford)
  • Morgan Meik (Corcoran)
  • Lauren Miller (Selma)
  • David Cavazos (Hanford)
  • Jacqueline Taylor (Reedley)
  • Genesis Zamora (Reedley)

These students were nine of nearly 200 students statewide who received this award that recognizes the best and brightest high school seniors who display commitment to involvement in the community and classroom.

The students each received a $1000 scholarship, as the program is designed to give young people every opportunity to prepare for the future and engage them in their communities. Each student was also given a Senate Certificate of Recognition from Andy at an event at the State Capitol in June.

“These young leaders deserve recognition,” said Andy, “They have a very bright future ahead.”

Addressing Teacher Shortages

Common sense kids action commendation

California’s schools are facing a pending teacher shortage crisis. The Commission on Teacher Credentialing reports that enrollment in teacher preparation programs has fallen from almost 78,000 a decade ago to 19,933 in 2013–a decrease of 74 percent. In addition, the California Teachers Association reports that one-third of the state’s teaching workforce is nearing retirement age.

“Students in the Valley deserve to have access to a quality education and that’s not possible without enough teachers,” said Andy.

That’s why Andy co-authored Senate Bill 62 which will help address teacher shortages, particularly in low-income communities in the Valley and around the state.

SB 62 will reduce the cost of becoming a teacher and require aspiring teachers who apply for the state financial aid program to teach for four years at a school with a shortage of teachers in subject areas, like mathematics, science, and special education, especially in rural and low-income communities.

Meet Team Vidak Interns

To help serve the folks of Senate District 14, which includes nearly a million people in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare County, Andy is very proud and appreciative to have smart, talented and dedicated young men and women interning in Team Vidak’s Capitol and district offices.

Capitol Office

Senator Vidak with Andrew Phelps

Andrew (Drew) Phelps has, once again, joined Team Vidak as a summer intern, this time in Andy’s Sacramento office. He served last summer in the Hanford District Office. Born and raised in Tulare, Drew attended high school at San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno and recently graduated from Pitzer College with a B.A. in Political Studies. After his summer in our office, Drew will be entering his last semester at Claremont Graduate University and will graduate in December with an M.A. in American Politics. “I am incredibly excited to be serving the community with Senator Vidak for the second time. I have high expectations to build on my experiences last summer and hope that my time in Sacramento will be just as professionally educational and socially meaningful as my time in the district,” said Drew.

Fresno District Office

Vanessa Suarez

Vanessa Suarez has joined Team Vidak as a summer intern in Andy’s Fresno District Office. Vanessa currently attends Clovis Community College and is working towards transferring to a University of California campus for a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Policy. Her experiences in Student Government while working to achieve her educational goals have fostered in her a desire to serve her community presently and in the future. When asked what she looks most forward to during this internship Vanessa replied, “I am most excited for the opportunity to learn about our environmental legislation from different perspectives and how we can solve our water crisis in the Central Valley.”

Hanford District Office

Elizabeth DeSousa

Elizabeth DeSousa has joined Team Vidak as a summer intern in Andy’s Hanford District Office. Born and raised in Visalia, Elizabeth attends El Diamante High School and is preparing for her senior year to graduate as class of 2017. Her experiences throughout the community has sparked an interest in the policy issues surrounding education, civil rights and the environment. Elizabeth aspires to continue to her education in a University of California and work towards a M.A. in Political Science or Pre-Law, ultimately to become an attorney. “I am excited to work with the Office of Senator Andy Vidak to gain experience and learn more about the legislative system in California,” said Elizabeth.

Bakersfield District Office

Heartfelt thanks to the following interns who recently served in Andy’s Bakersfield District Office:

Oscar Miranda

Oscar Miranda was born and raised in Dinuba. He attended high school two years in Dinuba and his final two years in Moses Lake, WA. His exposure through school and personal relationships granted him countless opportunities with a number of other internships, such as the Kern County Farm Bureau and Bakersfield Life Magazine. As a sophomore in college working towards his Computer Science degree, Oscar has earned a minor in Communications and Journalism both of which opened doors for him in the professional field. “It was an honor to have worked alongside other educated individuals in the senator’s Bakersfield office,” said Oscar.

Common sense kids action commendation

Alyssa Franco graduated from Centennial High School in 2015 and is now preparing for her second year at Cal State Bakersfield. While she is studying Business Management and plans to go on to get her M.A. in Music Business, she has recently become involved and interested in the public policy of her community. “Interning for Senator Vidak has been such an amazing opportunity for me to branch out and get involved in my community. I truly appreciate the unique experience that I’ve gotten here as a part of Team Vidak,” said Alyssa.

Roberto Liera

Roberto Liera was born in Jalisco, Mexico and at the age of 10 moved to Bakersfield where he graduated from Golden Valley High School. Roberto graduated from Taft College with an AA in Business and Technology and now currently attends CSU, Bakersfield where he is working on his BA in Business Administration with a concentration on Accounting. Roberto’s plan after graduating is to open a business with his father where he will focus on the financial aspect of the business. “I am happy to have been part of team Vidak, because I was able to meet new people and enhance my communication skills which are going to be helpful in business,” said Roberto.

Michelle Cervantes

Michelle Cervantes has joined Team Vidak as an intern in Andy’s Bakersfield district office. Born in Salinas, California and raised in Bakersfield, Michelle attended Ridgeview High School and graduated with Honors. Michelle is currently attending California State University, Bakersfield and is working on her B.S. in Traditional Biology. She plans to further continue her education and attend dental school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “I have learned so much from working for the community in the office of Senator Andy Vidak. Having gained valuable skills for my future is something that I am deeply proud of, and I am thankful for having received the opportunity to join team Vidak.”

Maria Castanon Roman

Maria Castanon Roman, born and raised in Zacatecas, Mexico. I attended Robert F. Kennedy High School in Delano CA. I am entering my Junior year at California State University Bakersfield towards my B.A. In Spanish, with a minor in Sociology. Maria’s favorite quote is, “Las nubes grises también forman parte del paisaje.” (“The gray clouds are also part of the landscape.”)

Jocelyn Camacho

Jocelyn Camacho, who was born and raised in Visalia, is attending California State University, Bakersfield. Her exposure to multiple communities through direct contact and relationships with other students throughout Kern County has granted her an understanding and appreciation for local issues and politics. Jocelyn is entering her sophomore year at California State Bakersfield and pursuing a double major in Political Science and Agricultural Business. She enjoys being involved at her school and in the community. “I am honored to have been an Intern for Senator Vidak. I hope I achieved my duties as an Intern and was able to grow my professional network,” said Jocelyn.

Upcoming Senate Calendar

Seal of the California State Senate

July 1

  • Last day for policy committees to meet and report bills
  • Summer Recess begins upon adjournment

July 4

  • Independence Day observed

August 1

  • Legislature reconvenes from Summer Recess

August 12

  • Last day for fiscal committees to meet and report bills

August 15 - 31

  • Senate Floor Session only. No committees may meet for any purpose without a rule waiver

August 19

  • Last day to amend bills on the Senate Floor

August 31

  • Last day for each house to pass bills, except bills that take effect immediately or bills in Extraordinary Session
  • Final Recess begins upon adjournment