FRESNO, CA (KMJ) – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein visited Fresno, Thursday, speaking at a luncheon called a “Washington report with Senator Dianne Feinstein,” hosted by the Central Valley Community Foundation.
Senator Feinstein began the lunch by awarding the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery to Mariposa County Sheriff’s Deputy Rudy Mirelez who exhibited exceptional courage in saving and protecting others and whose heroic actions were above and beyond the call of duty. U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert and Mariposa County Sheriff Doug Binnewies attended the presentation at the Doubletree Hotel.
“Deputy Rudy Mirelez is a worthy recipient of the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery, it is an honor for the U.S. Attorney’s office to support the nomination of Deputy Mirelez. He now joins the ranks of law enforcement officers across the nation who stood in the front lines to fight against crime and violence.”-U.S. Attorney Talbert.
Speaking with Central Valley Community Foundation CEO and luncheon host Ashley Swearengin in a Q&A format, Senator Feinstein touched on a number of subjects important to Central Valley residents, including immigration and farm labor.
Speaking of her Blue Card plan to offer undocumented farm workers a path to work legally, Feinstein asked for support from luncheon attendees for her plan which would give illegal immigrants a blue card to work exclusively in the fields, which would then start them transitioning toward a green card after a period of five years.
Senator Feinstein also spoke of the drought and the challenges of water, and money allocated for storage whether it’s Temperance Flat or other dams that the state will select to fund. She estimates that decision will be made by 2018.
Feinstein talked of the impact of the AHCA and said it will be felt in California and the Central Valley. Rather than a subsidy for residents, she wants to make sure healthcare costs are not more than 9.69 % of a persons salary, and promises to not vote for any bill that cuts Medicaid.
She spoke of the Trump Administration, chastising the President for his tweets and policies, saying; “It isn’t words out of your mouth, it’s words on paper,” that matter the most when it comes to taking action. She was disappointed that President Trump voted Thursday to cut involvement with the Paris Climate Accord, and was worried about the effects that rising temperatures would have on people.
Host Ashley Swearengin asked her; “What can we do to bring business here?” Senator Feinstein responded “You have to promote, promote, promote.” She said if she were Mayor Brand, she would put together a chamber of people to go and pitch the Valley’s merits to the Bay area as an ideal location to do businesses without the high cost of living.
Click here to listen to the report by KMJ’s Liz Kern:
Earlier in the day, Senator Feinstein toured Terra Nova Farms to see its on-farm groundwater recharge project.
At the end of her day, she had a meeting with community leaders discussing human trafficking at Fresno Police Headquarters.
In attendance were leaders from the law enforcement agencies, Fresno District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, Sheriff Margaret Mims, members of the Fresno Police Department, and other organizations like Made For Them, Molly’s House, and Fresno EOC that help women who are victims of trafficking.
DA Lisa Smittcamp said it was the opportunity for the Senator to take information back to Washington in the fight against trafficking and the women and children forced into this trade.
Senator Fenstein spoke about the efforts to curtail trafficking around big sports events, where girls are brought in to work as prostitutes.
Labor trafficking was another concern that was discussed with DA Lisa Smittcamp commenting that her office has one of the first units in the state to fight it.
Click blow to listen to the story by Liz Kern: