December 2013 Newsletter
In the spirit of the season, our office put food on the table for close to 600 families this month. In our Third Annual "Turkey Club" Giveaway, we collaborated with local businesses and nonprofit organizations to feed needy families from San Diego to Calexico. Nothing brings me more pride than to give back to the community in this way. Donations were generously provided by Northgate Market, AT&T, Personal Insurance Federation of California, Boomers Insurance and the California American Water Company.
In addition to these events, I have personally met with constituents, business leaders and local stakeholders throughout the entire district. Hearing directly from you will help me develop a strong legislative package that expressly addresses the needs of our district. As your elected official, your ideas, comments and suggestions are important. If you have ever thought "there ought to be a law", then we want to hear from you. Many important changes are underway, making this an exciting time to participate in the legislative process.
In closing, this month's Community Spotlight highlights Ed Lopez. Mr. Lopez has focused on everything from education to housing and health care during his 20-year career working with nonprofits, business and government in the San Diego area. As the new executive director for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), he will drive the kind of community collaboration that will support and transition neighborhoods into exceptional places for families to live and businesses to grow. Congratulations, Mr. Lopez!
For questions or more information about our legislative process, our district office is always ready to assist. Thank you to everyone for making this a most amazing and successful year. I look forward to making continued strides together in 2014 and beyond. Have a safe and happy holiday!
Community Spotlight: Ed Lopez, Chula Vista, CA
Mr. Ed Lopez gives his time to prominent community organizations throughout the city including Barrio Station. He chairs the board of the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center and previously chaired the board of the South County Economic Development Council (SCEDC). He served two terms as an elected member of the San Diego Unified School District's Board of Trustees; and was a board member for the Center City Development Corporation Board (CCDC).
Thank you, Ed Lopez for all your hard work and dedication to this community!
'Turkey Club' Drive Feeds Nearly 600 Families
As we make our way out of this recession, many people are still struggling to make ends meet. In the spirit of the holidays and in an effort to help those in need, our third annual Turkey Club Giveaway reached hundreds of people in Calexico, San Diego, Chula Vista, National City and Riverside. This amazing endeavor helped us bring our community together and put food on the table for nearly 600 needy families. Donations were generously provided by Northgate Market, AT&T, Boomers Insurance and the California American Water Company. I am thankful for the opportunity to give back to the community in this way.
Health and Wellness Fair, San Diego (Paradise Hills)
At the 5th Annual Wellness Fair in Paradise Hills, we presented a Senate Certificate to Dr. Benjamin Camacho. Dr. Camacho was recognized for his work as a Cardiologist and internal medicine doctor in the community of Paradise Valley Hospital and National City. He spends countless hours attending to community efforts and was a great supporter of this year's health fair. Thank you, Dr. Camacho for providing quality healthcare.
City Heights Town Council Meeting, San Diego (City Heights)
In early November, I presented before the City Heights Neighborhood Town Council. In this address, I provided an update on legislation regarding foster children, clean and safe neighborhoods and the No Hunger for Heroes Act, which makes it easier for veterans to access food stamps. Residents offered suggestions on issues related to mental health and state budget constraints affecting their neighborhood. As discussed at the onset of this newsletter, hearing directly from our residents is an important and effective way to develop a strong legislative partnership. I have taken our discussion back to our office and am currently working closely with my staff to find ways in which we can create the most positive impact for our district based on these discussions.
Medical Facility Tours: Sharp Hospital and Surgery One Facility, Chula Vista
I had an opportunity to meet with healthcare leaders and professionals at Sharp Hospital and Surgery One Center in Chula Vista. I was able to tour each facility and learn about their history, the demographics of the patients served, the number of patients treated, the differences between the two centers and the current state-issues with reimbursement rates. We also discussed the community needs assessment done by Sharp as well as the strict standards of hospital patient care and effective outpatient surgery procedures. To learn more you can view the assessment here: Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment.
Learn more about Sharp Chula Vista here: http://www.sharp.com/chula-vista/about-us.cfm
For more on Surgery One, please visit http://www.otaylakessurgery.com/.
Local School Visits: Chula Vista High School and Leonardo da Vinci Elementary, Chula Vista
I had the pleasure of joining our local elementary school students in the classroom and also the opportunity to participate in a special event honoring our veterans at Chula Vista High School. Both experiences were incredibly memorable. I appreciate the attention and candor of our local students.
Leonardo da Vinci Elementary students were respectful and attentive. They even indulged me in a mock legislative hearing and successfully ran a bill through the process! I was very impressed by their questions and appreciated the opportunity to interact with our future state leaders.
Chula Vista High School paid tribute to our veterans in an event that brought them and active duty military and veterans to their school to share their stories and to receive thanks for their dedicated service and selfless commitment to their community, state and nation. Veterans visited student classrooms before participating in the all-school patriotic assembly. It was incredible to see the students, teachers, staff and administrators honoring the service of our veterans. In addition to fostering core values of fairness, equality and personal responsibility, their event provided an important educational opportunity that will benefit all students for many years to come.
Their effort deserves strong accolades. Read more at: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/Nov/11/veterans-chula-high-school-teens/?#article-copy
Public Safety Roundtable, El Centro
I collaborated with our Congressional Representative Juan Vargas and State Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez in hosting a roundtable that brought together local, state and federal law enforcement officials to address public safety issues critical to the Imperial Valley. The event was held at the One Stop Business and Employment Services Center in El Centro, CA. I applaud the men and women who joined us at the roundtable for the job they do in keeping our communities safe. Our discussion focused on public safety challenges in the Imperial Valley, including building improvements and the need for ongoing efforts to enhance earthquake alerts and emergency network systems. Keeping with my commitment to listen to our constituents, I will take their concerns back to Sacramento, and continue to be a tireless advocate for them. We truly appreciate their service to our community.
Read more at: http://www.imperialvalleynews.com/index.php/news/imperial-valley/5952-congressman-vargas-joined-by-senator-hueso-and-assemblymember-perez-host-critical-public-safety-roundtable.html
National Philanthropy Day, Community Foundation Luncheon, Heber
I joined local philanthropists, volunteers and the Imperial Valley Community Foundation for the Annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon in Imperial County as we honored locals for their contributions to the Imperial Valley. We recognized people that have volunteered and given back to their community. So many of these awards are long overdue. Our country was built on philanthropy and we must thank our community organizations and individuals for the work they have done with our schools, churches, museums and libraries.
For more click here:
Flu Season is Here
On average, about 24,000 Americans die each flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a regular flu shot. Seasonal flu vaccines are updated each year based on which strains are circulating, how they spread and how well current vaccines protect against newly identified strains.
Younger children, older adults, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions all can use flu shots. Flu shots are ideally administered in early fall, as it's impossible to predict when the flu will start spreading, and it takes about two weeks for the vaccine protection to kick in. Flu season typically peaks in January or February.
The vaccine is covered by insurance and Medicare, and some plans don't require any copay for vaccines. Drugstore vaccination programs tend to charge about $30, though the new "quadrivalent," or four-strain version, may be slightly more expensive.
Receiving an annual flu vaccination will greatly reduce an individual's chance of contracting the flu virus, and when more individuals get vaccinated, less flu can be spread throughout the community.
For more information, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ and http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/