I am pleased to announce the formation of the San Joaquin Valley Caucus, a bipartisan delegation of state representatives from the Valley. Thanks to Senator Anthony Cannella and Assemblymember Adam Gray for taking the lead to pull us together. The other members of the caucus are:
- Senate Republican Leader-Elect Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield)
- Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres)
- Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto)
- Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto)
- Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals)
- Adam Gray (D-Merced)
- Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield)
- Devon Mathis (R-Visalia)
- Jim Patterson (R-Fresno)
- Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield)
- Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton)
For far too long, the needs of the Central Valley have been ignored in the halls of California’s Capitol. We often see legislation and state regulations that have disproportionately negative impacts on the Valley. As a unified, bipartisan group, we can be more effective in stopping bad policy and advancing issues that serve the needs of our constituents in the Valley.
For example last year, this bipartisan delegation of Valley legislators stuck together to ensure that the water bond contained enough funding for above-ground water storage. We also unanimously opposed the ground water regulation measure that was rammed through the Legislature at the 11th hour.
Both of these measures are now in the implementation stage, so it is more important than ever for the San Joaquin Valley delegation to remain united to help ensure that these measures move forward in a way that serves, and not devastates, our region.
Although the San Joaquin Valley Caucus will not unanimously agree on all issues, we can bring greater equity to California policies and programs that impact our shared region when we do agree and act as one, like we did with the water bond. As the saying goes, “there’s strength in numbers.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 2, urging Congress and President Obama to work together to create a comprehensive and workable approach to reform the nation’s immigration system.
“Unanimous, bipartisan support from the California Senate should send a clear message to our federal colleagues that the time is now to work together to address an issue that’s been ignored for more than 25 years,” said Andy, who is the author of SJR 2.
To help move the water bond quickly through the administrative process, Andy introduced Senate Bill 127. The measure is aimed at streamlining the environmental review process so that projects, funded by the water bond, which are critical to the Valley, are built sooner rather than later. This bill would simply require any challenges to be resolved or addressed within 270 days of the Environmental Impact Report’s (EIR) completion.
There are numerous documented cases where interest groups have used the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process to intentionally derail proposed projects. The misuse of CEQA is so prevalent, that bills have been signed into law to streamline the adjudication process to build several major sport complexes, including the Majestic Realty and Farmer’s Field NFL stadiums and the Kings NBA arena.
“Dozens of communities in the Valley lack access to clean drinking water,” said Andy. “If we can change the CEQA process to help billionaire developers build sports complexes for millionaire players, we should be able to do the same to accelerate the completion of desperately-needed water projects for our most disadvantaged communities.”
To read the bill language, click here.
AgNet West Farm News Director Sabrina Hill tweets on Andy’s testimony before the State Water Resources Board on Feb. 18 in Sacramento.
Andy joined a bipartisan delegation of Valley legislators urging the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to reverse its decision to deny water pumping in February and March.
“It is alarming that the executive director (an unelected bureaucrat) of the State Water Resources Control Board has denied increasing water to our Valley as we enter a fourth devastating year of drought, even though the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all support the increase,” said Andy.
To read the letter sent to the SWRCB chair that Andy co-signed with Senators Jean Fuller, Tom Berryhill, Anthony Cannella, and Assemblymembers Adam Gray, Shannon Grove, Devon Mathis, Jim Patterson and Rudy Salas, click here.
Andy (left) accepts the Maddy Award, presented by Robyn Black (right).
The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association (CTBA) honored Andy with the first-ever Kenneth L. Maddy Award at CTBA’s annual meeting on February 9 in Pasadena.
“The late-Senator Maddy was a tireless champion for the horse racing industry during the 28 years he served in the California Legislature. Like Senator Maddy, Senator Vidak has demonstrated that he, too, is a great supporter and advocate for the Thoroughbred industry in California,” said CTBA President Doug Burge. “CTBA is pleased to honor Andy with the inaugural Kenneth L. Maddy Award.”
The Kenneth L. Maddy Award recognizes a member of the California Legislature who has shown extraordinary dedication to California’s Thoroughbred industry, and will only be awarded when someone rises to the occasion.
“The Thoroughbred industry is a vital component of California’s economy and has been a major contributor to our state’s rich history and culture,” said Andy. “I am deeply honored to win such a prestigious award named after one of California’s greatest statesmen.”
California’s $2.5 billion horse industry consists of equine breeding, racing, performance and pleasure horse industries. California’s hundreds of farms provide 50,000 employment opportunities and help support a myriad of allied service to individuals and groups such as feed growers, veterinarians and farriers.
The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association was founded in 1937 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing in California. It is governed by a board of 15 directors voted on by the association’s membership. The CTBA has kept measure with the growth of the industry in the state and is today among the largest organization of its kind in the nation.
To watch video highlights of the event called California Chrome Cleans Up at CTBA Awards Dinner, click here.
Bakersfield College (BC) has been chosen to be one of 15 community colleges in California to begin offering a four-year degree. BC will offer a Bachelors of Applied Science (BAS) in Industrial Automation as part of a pilot program created by Senate Bill 850 (Block), which Andy co-authored.
According to BC, “Such a degree, so necessary to qualify for Kern County job openings, would support technical management, industrial safety, quality assurance and other industry positions requiring more than an associate degree or two-year certificate of achievement. Typically there are over 200 openings annually in Kern County’s oil, agriculture, manufacturing and logistics industries for these types of positions, with a median income of $85,000.”
“Employers up and down the Valley say they are facing a shortage of employee applicants who have the qualified technical skills to meet their needs,” said Andy, who wrote a letter of recommendation to the Community College Chancellor requesting BC be selected as one of the 15 colleges in the pilot program. “It’s exciting that Bakersfield College was chosen to expand access for career technical training to help meet that need in our region.”
For more information, click here.
The following excerpt was written by John Cox and published in the Bakersfield Californian on 2/19/15:
A federal program that trained select entrepreneurs in Fresno for the last five years is about to debut in Bakersfield with the promise of helping small business owners take their companies to the next level.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s free Emerging Leaders program will put 17 local entrepreneurs through a seven-month curriculum intended to help chart their growth over the next three years.
Bakersfield is one of only two California cities, including Los Angeles, participating in the program this year. Nationwide, the SBA is adding 22 cities this year, bringing the total to 48.
To qualify for participation, applicants must own a business with annual revenue between $400,000 and $10 million. They must have at least one full-time employee, not including the owner, and be in good financial condition, unencumbered by tax or legal problems.
A spokeswoman for the SBA’s Fresno district office said the agency hopes to select a group of entrepreneurs whose diversity reflects that of the larger community. For example, organizers will want to work with some longtime business owners and some who launched their enterprise more recently, she said.
Applications are due March 13. They can be submitted online at www.sba.gov/emergingleaders.
Rogelio Caudillo has been hired as the district scheduler/district representative in Vidak’s Hanford office. Rogelio served in Andy’s Capitol office this past year as a Senate Fellow.
“We are very excited that Rogelio, who is from our district, is remaining a part of our team,” said Vidak. “Rogelio’s knowledge of our Valley and our issues makes him a very welcomed part of Team Vidak, and further increases our ability to serve the people of Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties.”
Born in Delano and raised in Earlimart, Rogelio is a first-generation university graduate from a rural community. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from California State University, Bakersfield. It was during his undergraduate studies that he became especially passionate about public service. His passion led to leadership positions in various campus organizations, attending an academic seminar from The Washington Center in our nation’s capital, and receiving an award of recognition from the Center for Kern Political Education. He is a graduate of the 2013-2014 Senate Fellows Program.
Team Vidak Senate Fellow Carolina Garcia (right) with Senate Chief Assistant Secretary Bernadette McNulty puts her first measure across the Senate Desk for Andy. As a Fellow, Carolina is an integral part of the Capitol staff, aiding Andy on legislation and policy committees, among other duties.
Click poster to read plain text document
The theme of this year’s California Agriculture Day is “Breaking New Ground!”
“The State Capitol will be bustling with excitement as California agriculture comes together to educate legislators and the general public about the various crops grown in the state,” writes California Women for Agriculture in the organization’s “Cream of the Crop” Feb. 2015 newsletter.
The event, held on the West Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento, is open to the public March 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A stage program will begin at noon. For more information, visit CA AG Day.
The event is sponsored by California Women for Agriculture, the California Department of Food and Ag (CDFA) and the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.
For more than 160 years, the California State Fair has been showcasing the best of the best. Individuals and commercial producers are encouraged to show off their talents in a variety of competitive exhibits, including horse racing, livestock, crafts, fine arts, homemade wine, and more. Folks can win bragging rights and cash prizes by entering. For a full list of competitions and deadlines for entering, please visit www.CalStateFair.org.
California’s First Woman Senator: Rose Ann Vuich (1927-2001)
Rose Ann Vuich
– – by Terry McHale, as published in the “Capitol Morning Report,” February 4, 2002
Rose Ann Vuich was a second generation Serbian-American from the farm town of Dinuba, located on the outskirts of Fresno, California. Her political career was launched in 1976 when she was chosen to replace the presumed Democratic candidate, who had withdrawn from the race.
It was assumed that her Republican opponent, an Assemblyman, was unbeatable. The Democratic Caucus viewed Vuich as sincere, but naïve. They thought her indefatigability and grassroots understanding of the district was more old-sfashioned than practical and remained unconvinced that she could compete with her opponent’s connections and political wiles. As a result, Vuich had little money for her campaign. However, she had enough for a thirty-second television piece mocking her opponent for voting to fund Southern California freeways while failing to appropriate money for Highway 41 in their own district. She blamed him publicly for the “freeway to nowhere.” The criticism caught fire and the “Freeway Lady” won the race.
As the state’s first female Senator, Rose Ann Vuich made a habit ringing a bell several times a day when colleagues addressed the collective members of the Senate as “Gentlemen,” failing to note that the chamber was no longer an exclusively male domain. And it was Vuich’s election, not the Capitol’s extensive retrofit in the 1970’s, that made necessary the conversion of a closet into a women’s bathroom. The bathroom, located behind the Senate floor, is still referred to as “The Rose Room.” Vuich was not a commanding speaker, yet she had a piercing intelligence and could handle the spotlight when necessary. On the issues, she was a key vote against a costly Los Angeles prison and said no to the confirmation of Dan Lungren (future attorney general and Republican nominee for governor) for state treasurer. The latter drew the wrath of statewide politicians who vainly sought a strong candidate to oppose her.
Vuich, who reflected the conservative make up of her district, was re-elected three times. A strong advocate for agriculture, she made a habit of bringing fresh produce to the Senate and withholding it from hungry colleagues until she explained how beneficial the agricultural industry was to the overall health of our state.
Vuich served when politics could be a profession, and legislators had time to master the issues they cared about. She traveled extensively and authored legislation that created the California Trade and Commerce Agency. She also wrote California’s “Agricultural Export Finance Program,“ which became a national model.
After sixteen years in the Senate, a time when she proved that graciousness was not a sign of weakness and that being a woman was not a barrier to providing daring leadership, she retired in 1992. The election of Rose Ann Vuich, the farm kid from the Central Valley, marked the beginning of positive change when subsequent women legislators joined her in shaping the past quarter century. She will forever remain as a symbol of great leadership to all women.
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 senate.ca.gov/vidak.