Working for you: August 21-29

August 30, 2014

I had the opportunity to have a lunch meeting with Mr. Dongman Han, the Korean Consul General. We mostly discussed the relations between our two nations. He had a beautiful service medal his government is planning to give to those Americans who served in the Korean War, in appreciation of their sacrifice. He told me that the Korean people still deeply appreciate America’s role in helping ensure their freedom and prosperity.

He also wanted to discuss trade. Even though I opposed the Korean Free Trade Agreement, there is still room for cooperation on trade issues that will offer equal benefit to both countries. Lastly, he wanted to ask for my consideration of H.R. 1812, which will allow many of the Korean students who receive college and graduate degrees here in the United States to remain in the U.S. for extended periods.The Girl Scouts Council of Central California came in for a meeting to get acquainted and to inform me of some of their activities and achievements. They are doing considerable outreach to include girls who may not otherwise have the means to participate in Girl Scouts. Since I was a Boy Scout myself and later a Cub Scout leader for my sons, it was a real treat to meet these volunteer leaders and hear about their work.

I paid a visit to YouthBuild in Stockton. I have been involved with YouthBuild for several years now, helping to bring home funding for their organization. YouthBuild offers training for job skills and life skills to young people who come from troubled circumstances or who have started on a bad path but want to improve themselves. It’s a pleasure to visit their operations because each time I visit, I get to see the new things the participants have built, created, or planted. This year, I saw a healthy garden full of vegetables they are growing. I met the graduating class and had the opportunity to give them a few words of encouragement as well as answer a few of their questions. Some of the YouthBuild participants are involved in refurbishing the U.S.S. Lucid, which is a wooden hull ship used for minesweeping in the 1950’s and ‘60’s and retired in the ’70’s.

Extensive work in needed in rebuilding this ship, the last of its kind in existence. Three great young people gave me an extensive tour of the ship and I was very impressed by the scope of the project and by the hours of work they’d invested in it. The ship will be ready to display as part of the Stockton Historical Maritime Museum within five years.

I was also invited to attend a ribbon cutting at the Weber Institute of Applied Technology. The new program at Weber will focus on aeronautics. Also in attendance were representatives of SUSD, Lowe’s Hardware Store, and many other dignitaries. I was asked to speak for a few minutes, which gave me an opportunity to praise the efforts of everyone involved in bringing in this and other similar tech education and training opportunities for out youth.

Caltrans carried out its second annual Small Business Event at the Ag Center near the Stockton Airport with several federal, state and local agencies there to offer assistance to small businesses,. I had a chance to address the participants at the beginning of the event. The event was well attended, with about 150 businesses present at the early morning session. I share their enthusiasm and excitement about business opportunities in Stockton and San Joaquin County.

I also spoke this week at a housing workshop hosted by the Taylor Family Center in Stockton. They had experts on-hand to share their expertise with people struggling with foreclosure, rental issues including Section 8 Housing, and any other related issues. It’s important to provide residents with accurate information about their rights and opportunities.

I spoke at the ribbon cutting for California Human Development as they dedicated their new Galt Training Center. Galt is now in my congressional district, and I have been involved with CHD for years. The training center provides training for employable skills such as truck driving, fork lift operating, and health care skills as well as citizenship preparation. CHD has dozens of sites around Northern California.

The San Joaquin Medical Association has regular meetings and asked me to attend one this week to discuss health care issues that concern them. They are concerned about the Sustainable Growth Rate problem that will, if not fixed, cause Medicare reimbursements to fall 30% on January 1. There is a temporary fix for the next year, but nothing permanent. They also wanted to express their opposition to the California Ballot Proposition 46, which will allow medical malpractice lawsuits to increase above $250K for punitive damages as well as require physicians to be subjected to drug testing in certain cases. We went on to discuss a wide range of issues, which gave me some legislative ideas and a clearer understanding of some of their challenges.

On a beautiful Thursday morning I took a tour of the Port of Stockton. The boat ride ambled down the channel from the Stockton Marina to the west end of Rough and Ready Island with a narrated explanation of the ships and landmarks along the way including a brief history of the Port. The ride took a little less than two hours and was a great way to put the Port and its history into perspective. This free tour is available at 10am, 1pm and 4pm on Thursdays and Saturdays until September 11. I encourage anyone with a little free time on those days to take this enjoyable and informative tour. Lastly, I met with some representatives of the California Retired Teachers Association. One of the prominent regional Medicare Advantage providers abruptly changed their network of providers leaving many seniors with the prospect of changing their doctors and driving long distances to the closest providers within the new network. This is irregular and causes quite a bit of consternation to many seniors and there may be remedies, both legislative and regulatory, at the state and federal level that will be very helpful to many of the Medicare recipients.