Central San Joaquin Valley legislators responded Tuesday to Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of the State address:
Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno – “The governor’s State of the State address highlighted a positive agenda for our state. I believe there are still areas where we can make improvements to benefit our people and economy.
“We need to continue our investments in education including K-12 and higher education. I plan on pushing an agenda that will include increased access to our great institutions of higher education, including Fresno State.
“We need to invest in our state’s infrastructure. I think everyone agrees our infrastructure is decaying and we need to work with our national representatives to fund infrastructure projects that will protect the safety of our residents and further the economy of our state.
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“As the budget chair on Health and Human Resources, I also plan to work closely with the Brown administration to ensure that the progress we have made in expanding health care to Californians remains intact.
“I also want to ensure that we invest in training more health care professionals so everyone who needs health care has access to health care.
“Governor Brown highlighted many areas where our state has been a national, even international, leader. I look forward to working with the Brown administration and my colleagues to ensure that our great state of California continues to be a leader at home and abroad.”
Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals – “I was very glad to hear the governor stress the need for a focus on infrastructure in the year ahead. Our priorities in 2017 must be building new water storage and fixing our roads.
“The recent storms could have filled Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Dam if they had already been built, so we must focus our efforts on ensuring these projects are funded and completed. Our farms and families have conserved; now the state must step up to support them with more water storage.
“While the governor and I have differing views on how to tackle funding for our failing roads, I know that if we work together we can find solutions that will benefit all Californians. I’m ready and willing to work together with Republicans and Democrats, just as the governor laid out in his address. Let’s make 2017 a productive and prosperous new year.”
Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia – “Governor Brown closed his statement by singing ‘This Land is Our Land,’ but without a single mention of California’s $47 billion agriculture industry, which the Legislature has continued to assault and over-regulation, he made it clear that California’s land may not be for agriculture.
“The governor’s speech was long on rhetoric but completely lacking any policy on how we are going to address the $1.9 billion deficit, but you can’t fill that hole while driving our ag industry out of California into the waiting arms of Texas, Idaho, Iowa, and the like.”
“The governor spoke a great deal about depending on the Trump administration for billions of federal funding to help with our state’s crumbling infrastructure, a problem exacerbated by the majority party’s refusal to come up with a viable plan. Yet the governor and the Legislature continue to pass meaningless resolutions with strong rhetoric against the administration and even hiring a private attorney to help the state fight President Trump.
“The governor and the majority party are acting like grounded teenagers challenging their parents while asking them for the car keys. I look forward to working with the governor and the majority party to solve California’s problems whenever they decide to work with the Trump administration.”
Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno – “Today the governor took credit for a lot of things. He should be taking responsibility for the consequences instead.
“When was the last time he went on a ride-along with a police officer? When was the last time he stood in line for a job? This was a speech for the insiders who have gotten us into the trouble we are in and California deserves a whole lot better.”
“The governor conveniently chose to distract us from the real problems facing our state with his own version of the facts, ignoring an exploding crime rate as more and more prisoners are released, an ever increasing cost of living, and an unemployment rate that no longer takes into account the staggering number of people who have just given up.
“We heard spin today instead of leadership.”
Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres – “I was encouraged to hear that Governor Brown recognizes the need to improve California’s infrastructure. Fixing our roads and building more water storage are priorities to continue our growth.
“Much has been made of concerns with the new administration in Washington D.C., and although California is a major force in America’s economy, we must find common ground. Without water and funding an update to our transportation system, California will find it hard to move forward.
“Yes, we have to look out for California’s best interest, but we are all Americans and must work together. And to echo the governor, ‘Amen to that brother.’”
Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte – “Instead of a panicked, defensive response to what may or may not happen in Washington, we should be focusing on the very real and concrete issues here at home. As rain water rushes uncaptured out to sea, roads crumble from the rain and snow, and unemployment remains in the double digits in parts of the state, we should not be looking to Washington in fear. We should instead be looking at what we can accomplish here by doing our jobs.
“The lack of focus on water, transportation, and jobs remains a very large concern to me. I continue to push for the prioritization and focus that has been so sorely lacking from leaders in Sacramento.”