Rep. Jerry McNerney Gives “State of the Ninth Congressional District” Speech
Congressman Jerry McNerney released the following video in anticipation of the president’s State of the Union speech. Rep. McNerney discusses opportunities and challenges our community is facing in the coming year, and his plans to address them.
Here is the text of the Speech.
As the president gets ready to give his State of the Union address here in Congress, I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss the state of our Ninth District. To talk about the challenges we’re facing, some of the great opportunities we have – and most importantly, how I will be fighting for you in Washington this year.
First, let’s talk first about the economy. We hear in the news that the stock market is up, that things are looking better, that we’re recovering. But for many, things are still pretty tough. When I travel around our neighborhoods, I hear from hard-working folks who are raising families, working more than one job, and still have trouble making ends meet. There are many more who lost their jobs and still can’t find a new one. This isn’t how things are supposed to be. Our nation’s middle class families are what makes this country great and we need to make sure they succeed.
That’s why I’ll be working this year to protect our area’s families – opposing giveaways to the Wall Street banks, keeping health care costs down, and fighting for fair wages. I’ll be working to help homeowners still dealing with the aftereffects of the housing crisis. And I’ll be working to help create good, new jobs. For example, we could put thousands of people to work in our area building and repairing our roads and bridges, and our electrical and water systems. I am focused on commonsense solutions like this that will put us on the right track and start getting people back to work.
And our cities have to be part of the economic recovery. Places like Stockton and Antioch are on the rise but they just need that extra push to really get things going. That’s why I am working to bring everyone to the table – from state, local, and federal levels – trying to identify existing sources of funding as well as creating new tax breaks for our small businesses and city governments. I’ve invited Housing Secretary Julian Castro to come and tour South Stockton, and meet with us to see how hard folks are working to turn things around. I’m confident when he sees the potential, he’ll help bring us the resources we need.
It is also absolutely essential for the economy that our city streets are safe and free of crime. This will encourage more businesses to invest in our area. That’s why I will work to bring more money home for our law enforcement agencies to put more cops on the streets, and support after school programs and other initiatives that help keep our young people on the right track.
I’m proud that our area has one of the greatest natural resources in the world – the California Delta. I led the charge last year to oppose the BDCP and its destructive tunnels. Once we showed how damaging those tunnels would be to our families, farmers and small businesses, the state was forced to delay the plan. We have the opportunity to work toward a solution to our state’s water issues that benefits everyone in the long term. A real plan that captures and stores more water, instead of just shipping more water south. I’ll be working with my colleagues on reasonable solutions to these challenges throughout this year.
During my eight years in office, nothing has been more important to me than improving the lives of our veterans. As many of you know, my son answered the call to serve in our military after 9/11, so this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. That’s why I was so angered by the news last year that veterans were intentionally being denied prompt medical care. I was one of the first members of Congress to call for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to resign, and he did step down and accept responsibility. But there are systemic issues at the VA that we need to address, and I’ll work to hold the VA accountable for fixing those problems.
That includes making sure the VA commits to building a medical facility here in our area as promised – they’ve already bought the land, they just need to build the clinic. Last year, I wrote a bill that would make it easier for the VA to expedite construction of some facilities, like the one in French Camp, by working with private companies that can do it much more efficiently. I will encourage my colleagues who care as much about our veterans as I do to help me get it passed this year.
There’s a lot to do this year – and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. There are now Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. I’m hopeful that we can move past the partisan bickering and posturing that has prevented Congress from moving forward on very important issues. I’ve worked hard to propose commonsense solutions that everyone can get behind, no matter what party they belong to, and I will continue to do so.
My job is to represent you, to fight for you, and for our communities. I’m honored to have this job, and I never take for granted the trust you’ve placed in me. I want to continue to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to contact me here in Washington or at home in California about any policy issues that concern you, or if you need help with any federal issue. I’m home in California nearly every weekend, in our communities – attending events, volunteering, meeting with folks – and of course looking for the best ice cream I can find. I hope to see you soon. Thanks again for your time