Meetings with Veterans, Civil Rights Groups, and Local Labor Leaders
Dear Contra Costa Residents:
This week, I returned to DC as we begin the Second Session of the 115th Congress. In the coming months many deadlines for important programs are fast approaching. Among them are funding the government; giving California, Puerto Rico, and other affected areas the funding they need to recover from recent natural disasters; protecting DREAMers and TPS recipients; and reauthorizing important health care programs like CHIP and Community Health Centers. With all of these big ticket items coming due, it is more important than ever that we work together, reach across the aisle, and protect the American Dream.
As we begin our work for the year, we will be hosting our first town hall of 2018 in El Cerrito this coming Saturday, January 13th at 2:00 p.m. at the El Cerrito Community Center. This town hall will be focused on the impact of the new Republican tax bill, which was signed into law last month by President Trump, will have of Contra Costa residents. To RSVP to the event click here, or if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact my offices in Walnut Creek or Richmond.
MARK AROUND TOWN
Honoring SPC Kimkirvie Mapaye for his service to our country
I had to privilege to meet SPC Kimkirvie Mapaye, a Bay Point resident recently wounded in combat while serving in Afghanistan. SPC Mapaye is an inspiration to all who meet him. His courage and dedication exemplify the character of the men and women in uniform who selflessly serve and protect our great country every day.
Meetings at the District Office
I was pleased to meet with Bill Whitney, CEO of the Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council, to discuss the role of labor in the Bay Area and across the country. Prior to the 2016 election, I created an effort called the “Future of Work, Wages, and Labor.” Three of my Democratic colleagues from Michigan, New Jersey, and Wisconsin have joined me in this effort, and together we spent the last year traveling the country talking with workers, labor leaders like Bill, and leading experts about the challenges facing our economy and workforce. Stay tuned for our report on the ideas we have to strengthen our workforce and prepare future generations of workers for success.
I also had a productive discussion with representatives of the American Jewish Committee San Francisco, a leading champion for civil rights and the well-being of the Jewish people. In attendance was Eran Hazary (Assistant Director, AJC), Matt Khan (Regional Director, AJC), and Lofty L. Basta (Chairman of Cardiology, USF and AJC Board member).
OPINIONS FROM THE DISTRICT
Below are some of the top issues you shared with me over the last week:
- 933 constituents contacted me opposing the FCC’s decision to roll back Net Neutrality.
- 40 constituents wrote in to express their frustration with the President and request that Congress begin impeachment proceedings.
- 16 constituents wrote that the Republican Tax Plan will be bad for their families and for the American public.
LEGISLATION MARK RECENTLY SUPPORTED
Fair Employment Protection Act (H.R. 4152)
The public revelations and awareness of sexual harassment throughout industry and government in the recent months show that we must do more to protect employees from sexual harassment and hostile work environments. This bill clarifies the responsibilities that businesses have to protect their employees, and outlines when employers can be held responsible for inappropriate and illegal actions that they could have prevented.
Reach Every Mother and Child Act (H.R. 4022)
Since 1990, the world has more than halved the unnecessary deaths of children under the age of five and reduced maternal mortality rates by over 40 percent. Unfortunately, every year 5.9 million children under the age of five still die from preventable or treatable causes, including 1 million infants who die on the day they are born. Investing in women and children reduces poverty, stimulates economic growth, increases our national security by providing hope and building country capacity, and, most importantly, saves lives. This bill calls for a comprehensive strategy to reduce preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths within a generation.
Recognizing Achievement in Classified School Employees Act (H.R. 2234)
Schools could not function without classified employees, like paraeducators, bus drivers, food service professionals, custodians, security professionals, and health specialists. These dedicated public servants work every day to improve the lives of our students and strengthen our communities. This legislation would create federal "Recognizing Inspiring School Employees" awards for classified public school employees who provide exemplary service to students.
LETTERS MARK RECENTLY SENT
DeSaulnier-led letter to FAA on aviation safety
I sent a second letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urging action to address an important issue in aviation safety, the preservation of cockpit voice recorders. Another incident, this time at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, resulted in an airplane nearly landing on an occupied airport taxiway. I am concerned that in safety incidents like these, cockpit voice recorders are not being removed from the air craft and made available to safety investigators. In addition to urging the FAA to take action, I also wrote to Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, calling on him to hold a hearing on this issue.
Letters to Administration officials opposing the restriction of words in official reports
A recent article in The Washington Post reported that CDC employees were instructed to refrain from using seven words and phrases such as “evidence-based” and “science-based” in budget proposals. This kind of infringement on scientific and First Amendment freedoms cannot be tolerated. I joined my colleagues in sending letters to the CDC and OMB to seek clarification and an explanation of these troubling allegations. We must not allow the Administration to censor anyone, particularly our scientific community.
Letter to Congressional leadership in support of the Community Health Center Fund
Community health centers provide primary and preventative care services to over 27 million patients across the United States, including 4 million in California. Yet several months after its funding ran out, Congress has yet to consider clean legislation that would fund this program. I joined my colleagues from California to call on Congressional leadership to work in a bipartisan manner to immediately extend funding for this vital program.
MARK IN THE NEWS
After speaking on a health and community safety labor panel in Bay Point, Mark caught up with KRON4 news to discuss ensuring workplace safety for those who work with dangerous materials and about the need to better educate the next generation of workers. As the original author of the Industrial Safety Ordinance in Contra Costa County, which is now a statewide model in California, I look forward to introducing it on a federal level to protect workers, communities, and the environment nationwide. To watch the interview please click on the video link below.