As 2016 draws to a close...
It’s been another busy year in Washington, DC, but as 2016 draws to a close, it’s time for an update on two vital responsibilities – for your safety, and for the future – as well as on what our office has been doing right here in the East Bay.
Your safety is the top priority, and as a House Intelligence Committee member I receive regular briefings on the threats facing our nation. I visited Pakistan to discuss anti-terror efforts; visited South Korea to monitor North Korea aggression; and led colleagues in urging more robust funding for transit security. I made sure the bipartisan Intelligence Authorization Act included my efforts to track foreign fighters traveling to terrorist safe havens; to examine how intelligence agencies help their workers manage student loan debt; and to leverage the great talent found at our national laboratories.
And this month, I along with Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-7), introduced the Protecting Our Democracy Act, to create an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate Russia’s or other foreign entities’ attempts to interfere with our 2016 election. These were covert attacks on the bedrock principles of our representative democracy, and we must get to the bottom of the issue and figure out how to prevent it from ever happening again.
Planning for the future involves ensuring Americans can have the educations needed for the jobs of tomorrow. As chairman of Future Forum – a leadership group of the youngest House Democrats – I supported bills to let students refinance their student loan debt at the same low rate being offered currently to new borrowers, and to double the maximum tax deduction for interest paid on any qualified education loan. I also was the House sponsor of the Strengthening Forgiveness for Public Servants Act, would provide student loan forgiveness much sooner for teachers, police officers, public health workers and others who dedicate their careers to public service.
My commitment to working across the aisle on these and other issues remains firm: Of the nine bills introduced and 455 co-sponsored in this 114th Congress, nearly two-thirds were bipartisan.
Through it all, I’ve flown home at every opportunity to meet with constituents, visit businesses, and address local issues. We held three town halls (Sunol, Hayward, and Castro Valley); met constituents at seven Congress on Your Corner meetings plus a “Hike with Your Rep;” and visited many schools and community organizations. We hosted three emergency preparedness workshops, delivered Valentines to veterans, and took part in a Facebook seminar for small businesses; an educational event for first-time home buyers; and a Congressional App Challenge Hackathon for kids who code. I met with juvenile justice stakeholders to discuss how best to break the cycle of poverty and crime, and with East Bay business and education leaders to discuss how to push our innovation economy forward. And I’m still pushing to extend BART to Livermore and connect it with the Altamont Corridor Express commuter train, to relieve traffic jams on I-580 and decrease pressure on our housing market.
Looking ahead, we’ve got a big change happening. To save taxpayers’ money and make our district operations more efficient for you, we’ll be consolidating our two district offices (Pleasanton and Hayward) into one in Castro Valley. Our new contact information is:
3615 Castro Valley Blvd.
Castro Valley, CA 94546
As I prepare for my third term, I remain honored by the privilege of representing you in Congress and am eager to keep fighting for every American’s Freedom to Dream.
With best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year,
Member of Congress