We welcome spring after a year of extreme and record-setting climate events in the United States and worldwide. The trends today are clear. We are now seeing unprecedented changes in climate such as Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc on the East Coast, causing immense human suffering and a massive federal bill.
Now that 2012 is behind us and the new Congress has begun, it is time to think about our priorities and challenges in the coming year. It is an honor to again have the privilege of serving our area in Congress, and I’ve been meeting with local leaders and citizens to hear about shared goals for our community.
Some things never change.
The vitality of the single most important estuary on the West Coast is once again at risk from an old-fashioned political power play. If it's successful, local water users, the economy and the environment of our region and state will pay a huge price.
The war in Iraq is coming to a close. The men and women who fought so bravely will be home for the holidays, and we must plan for their return. These returning heroes must not only be honored, but granted the services they need to face the challenges they will encounter.
America suffers from a substance abuse problem. Maintaining our national industries and our jobs requires us to consume millions of tons of fossil fuels each and every day. Unfortunately, our addiction to fossil fuels comes with a high price, perhaps even higher than what we pay at the pump or for our monthly utility bills.
Tomorrow we will recognize an important milestone. It’s been one year since the revelation of substandard facilities and excessive bureaucratic red tape faced by recovering soldiers and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The rising cost of health care is a painful topic of discussion for many families these days.
Those rising costs and reductions in employer-provided health coverage mean working American families can’t see doctors when they should and can’t get medicines when they need them.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet here in Danville with a group of women small business owners from the Tri-Valley and the greater Bay Area. The types of businesses varied widely from engineering and communications consulting to eco-conscious private air charters. Yet what united all of them was determination, a commitment to innovation and excellence, and an entrepreneurial spirit.