It's been a busy month in the 12th Senate District! Since the Legislature adjourned for the year last month, I've been driving from county to county talking to folks about the issues that matter most to them - particularly job creation and economic growth.
I visited Marich Chocolates in Hollister, where employees and managers alike expressed frustration with the inflexible regulations that make it harder for the company to do business as efficiently as possible - a big concern, particularly as they consider whether or not to expand their operations in the coming years. Folks who attended the Salinas Taxpayers Association mixer were similarly upset with Sacramento's continued reliance on taxes and fees - money that comes directly out of taxpayers' already thinning wallets - to balance the budget. Stories like these were repeated whether I was in Dos Palos or Madera or Livingston or anywhere in between.
It's been a good, healthy dose of reality being back at home during the last six weeks or so, and you can be sure I'll continue talking to people and working to identify solutions to these challenges. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well, so don't hesitate to contact my office through my website if you have any additional insight to share. And don't forget to forward this email to a friend so they can sign up to receive our eNewsletters and keep up-to-date about what's going on around the 12th Senate District and in Sacramento.
This month's "Ask Anthony" question came from Belinda in Merced who asked for an update about the spending, pension and regulatory reform measures my colleagues and I were pushing for earlier this year. In short, though the state budget ultimately passed the Legislature along a party-line vote, that doesn't mean my Senate Republican colleagues and I have abandoned our commitment to the long-term reforms we believe will get Californians working again and our state budget back on track. In fact, we've put our proposals in legislative form in four bills: SCA 13, SCA 14, SB 195 and SB 196. Click on the video below to hear my thoughts on what we can do to get our state back on track.
Thanks to the help of the California Small Business Association, I had the opportunity to host a Small Business Advisory Council in my Modesto office with local small-business owners to discuss the challenges they face in this tough economy and what the state can do to make it easier for homegrown enterprises to grow and succeed in California. As a small-business owner myself, I know firsthand just how tough it can be to start and grow a business here in California - and that's exacerbated not only by a slow economy, but also by the frustrating hurdles constructed in Sacramento that can slow growth and hamper the success of our state's enterprises.
I got to spend some time with students from Shaffer Elementary School in Atwater recently to see firsthand the good work underway there to help kids get off to a strong start so they grow up to be successful students and productive members of our local communities. Along with Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II, Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin and Merced Chief of Police Norm Andrade, we talked not only about the ways a high-quality early childhood education helps stimulate young minds, but also about how it can help keep kids away from crime. Plus, we had a ton of fun hanging out with some terrific preschoolers!
One of my most important roles as a state senator is constituent service, and that includes helping people cut through red tape. Recently, our office was able to help Susan Mead with Rayco Industrial Supply in Modesto resolve a problem the company was having getting Caltrans to pay a $68.66 invoice. Businesses like Rayco play a critically important role in our local economies, so we're glad to offer whatever help and support we can. If you need help resolving an issue with a state agency, feel free to contact one of my district offices; we're happy to do our part to help keep the wheels of state bureaucracy moving!
Friday Night Lights
It's fall, and that means it's time for Friday night football! I had a great time in Dos Palos last month, when I got to root on the Broncos varsity team as they took on the Chowchilla Redskins. Unfortunately, the Broncos lost 28-18, but it was a terrific opportunity to spend some time with Dos Palos residents over some pizza before the game to talk about their concerns about what's going on in Sacramento and locally that affects the area's families and communities.
Red Ribbon Week
October 22-30, 2011, is Red Ribbon Week, a chance to promote awareness and strategies designed to keep kids from using drugs and alcohol. In honor of California's Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who was brutally tortured and killed by drug traffickers in Mexico in 1985, we urge young people to pledge to live a drug-free life.
2012 Small Business Awards
Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes outstanding small-business owners for their contribution to the American economy and society. Next year's National Small Business Week will be celebrated the week of May 20, 2012, and if you know of a local small business deserving of a nomination for the 2012 Small Business of the Year Award, please call my Modesto Office at (209) 577-6592. For more information or to nominate a small business yourself, visit the SBA website or call Melende Ward in the Fresno SBA Office at (559) 487-5791, ext. 2709. Nominations will be accepted until November 10.