2017 In Review
Happy New Year, CA-17!
As we begin a new year, I am truly grateful for each of you who took the time to make your voice heard by contacting me with your views and concerns. My Santa Clara and Washington, DC offices received nearly 70,000 calls, emails, and letters from Silicon Valley residents who care deeply about their government. Your passion and participation is inspiring and helps me to be a more informed and effective representative for you.
I would like to highlight some of the work that I did to improve the lives of the people of CA-17 and the country.
In January – my first month in office – I met with a large group of citizens to address the noise from low-flying airplanes coming into the San Jose and San Carlos Airports. My office organized a meeting with the new FAA Regional Administrator and San Jose Airport staff to determine what remedies are possible for the noise issue. I supported the formation of the ad-hoc committee that is currently working on remedies, as well as a proposed permanent round table committee for all airport issues. It is important to recognize that aircraft noise may not be “solved” by shifting it to other areas; it needs to be reduced by modified landing procedures.
Constituents also brought the issue of odor pollution to my attention early in the year. I have advocated for three actions to mitigate this problem: (1) persuading the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to invest in technology that will enable them to identify odor sources, (2) pushing local composting operations to modify their current odor-producing processes, and (3) working with the City of San Jose to improve air quality protection enforcement.
In March, I visited Paintsville, Kentucky, to engage with an intensive program that trains children of coal miners to code. It’s vital that we prepare people across the country for the jobs of the future so that no one gets left behind.
I also worked with Facebook and Merritt College in Oakland to create a partnership for students to have internships. This vastly expands the community college students’ experiences with coding and cybersecurity and is a strong model for similar partnerships across the country. It has helped a number of minority students in the Bay Area have access to tech jobs.
In May, I joined my good friend across the aisle, Jodey Arrington of Texas, on a resolution limiting members of Congress to 12 years of service. Representing the people is public service, not a career. This will give more voices the opportunity to bring fresh ideas and new energy to Capitol Hill.
In June, I introduced the Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act. This bill would incentivize large companies to pay their employees a living wage. A person working full-time shouldn’t have to rely on food stamps and other forms of public assistance.
In July, I cofounded the No PAC Caucus to bring together members of Congress that refuse money from Political Action Committees (PACs). I also introduced a bill earlier in the year banning federal candidates from taking PAC donations. We have to get the big-money special interests out of politics.
In August, the VET TEC Act, on which I was the lead Democratic cosponsor, was signed into law. This will provide more funding for programs like NPower, which offers free courses for Bay Area veterans on computer hardware and software as well as more advanced network administration.
In September, I paired with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown to introduce a massive expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). If enacted, the bill would raise the wages of many people living in CA-17. The cost of living has skyrocketed, putting a strain on middle class folks. This bill puts money right in the pockets of hard working Bay Area families.
In October, I joined Rep. Carolyn Maloney in sending a letter to the House Judiciary Committee calling for a hearing on a dangerous form of sexual assault known as “Stealthing”. This occurs when an individual removes the condom during intercourse without the consent of the partner. Later that month, Rep. Maloney and I got together with student leaders and advocates for a campus sexual assault roundtable. With De Anza College, Foothill College, Ohlone College, and Santa Clara University all calling CA-17 home, it is vital that we act to educate and protect our students.
Weeks of negotiations with House leadership finally came to a resolution in November when, for the first time ever, unauthorized U.S. involvement in the Yemen Civil War was debated and voted on by the House. My resolution, which passed 366 to 30, states that any U.S. assistance of the Saudi-led bombing coalition which has resulted in a famine affecting nearly 7 million Yemenis is unauthorized. This is an important first step towards standing up for human rights in Yemen.
To cap the year, my bill, the VALOR Act, was signed into law on November 21, 2017. This common-sense fix will increase apprenticeships available to veterans in the Bay Area, so that they can easily transition back into the civilian economy. I am pleased to be the first freshman Democrat to have a bill signed into law and even more proud to expand opportunity for the brave men and women who have served our country.
Thank you for the privilege of representing you in Congress. I vow to spend 2018 the same way I spent 2017: fighting for a just economy that benefits all people, a foreign policy that does not rely on war, and a government that listens and works for you.
Moving forward, it is important that I hear from my constituents. Whether it’s a quick phone call, writing our office, or asking a question at one of my monthly town halls, I always appreciate hearing from you. Let’s keep up the energy in 2018!
Health Care Open Enrollment
There are less than two weeks left for Californians to get health care coverage for 2018. The ACA open enrollment period ends on January 31st. Visit www.CoveredCA.com to be sure that you’re covered for the rest of the year. 8 in 10 people will find plans for less than $75 a month, and the majority will qualify for financial assistance. Even if you were covered before, take a few minutes to look around – you might end up saving money.
Case workers in my Santa Clara office are available to help CA-17 residents navigate through the bureaucracy of federal agencies. My staff can assist with immigration or visa issues, Social Security payments, and VA paperwork among other areas. Visit my website for more information.