In The District 11/28/21

Adam Gray Meets With County Superintendents

Adam Gray met with local Merced County Superintendents to discuss all that they are doing in Sacramento and locally to close learning gaps and address necessary special education reforms.

2021 Bowl of Hygeia Award

Dr. Katie Bass, the owner and pharmacist in charge at San Joaquin Drug, is the recipient of the 2021 Bowl of Hygeia Award, an annual award recognizing ONE California pharmacist for exemplary community involvement and providing patients with accessible health care through expanded pharmacy services.

100th Anniversary of Insulin

For those living with diabetes, awareness of glucose levels is critical. When glucose levels are too high, it can impact your ability to concentrate, exercise, or even remain conscious. The Centers for Disease Control calls monitoring blood-sugar levels “the most important thing you can do” while living with diabetes. 

If glucose levels spike and go unnoticed, those suffering from diabetes can end up in emergency rooms. But the most common and effective glucose-monitoring equipment was not available for those who rely on Medi-Cal benefits.

That’s all about to change.

Getting Glucose Monitors for Medi-Cal Recipients One of Assemblyman Adam Gray’s Biggest Wins

In the just-completed legislative session, Assemblymember Adam Gray was successful in getting Continuous Glucose Monitors covered under Medi-Cal. His legislation, which becomes effective in 2022, will mean diabetic patients will be less burdened by the uncertainty of bloodstream glucose levels and can lead more normal lives. 

It also means fewer will suffer from high blood pressure, amputations, coronary heart disease, or blindness. And fewer will be required to make hasty visits to emergency rooms or become hospitalized. 

Gray first authored legislation to correct this situation in 2016, but it failed to get Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature because he deemed the cost too high. Gray fought back noting that the cost of a single hospitalization is well in excess of the cost of three dozen monitors. This year, his effort was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

The turning point came in a committee hearing in which Gray learned that those with diabetes were more likely to suffer more serious complications from COVID-19. He pointed out that being unable to adequately monitor glucose levels put every diabetic who relies on Medi-Cal at greater risk than those who have other forms of insurance. 

“Medi-Cal patients were singled out to receive lesser care as a shortsighted cost-cutting mechanism,” said Gray, who represents Merced and part of Stanislaus counties. “That has resulted in worse health outcomes and increased hospitalizations for our most vulnerable communities.

“Nearly 50% of the people I represent receive health insurance through Medi-Cal. As someone with diabetes in my family, this inequity is personal. This fight took 5 years and multiple bill vetoes to achieve, but starting next year, Medi-Cal is no longer allowed to treat poor and vulnerable people as second-class citizens.” 

Gray also helped create a permanent endowment for a public policy center at UC Merced. The Center of Analytic Political Engagement will be established in conjunction with Fresno State’s Maddy Institute. 

His goal, said Gray, was to “engage students who are passionate about making the Valley a better place to live and raise a family.” 

Providing better health outcomes for diabetics and greater opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders were among the major focuses of Gray’s efforts in the legislative session that ended last week. 

“It looks like we got a lot done,” said Gray, a Merced native. “But to tell the truth, we got a lot started. And until the people of our Valley are on the same footing with those who live in California’s coastal communities, our work will not be finished. We won’t stop until it is.”

Assemblymember Gray, Gov. Newsom mark their Commitment to UC Merced Med School

The Governor was in Merced to announce a state commitment of roughly $210 million to build a medical education building at the University of Merced campus. The Behavioral Sciences and Medical Education Building is a crucial precursor to establishing a full-fledged medical school. It will house the departments of Psychological Sciences, Public Health, the university’s medical education program, and the Health Sciences Research Institute.

The announcement was made before some 80 people, including the media and many of the region’s elected officials – Gray, state Senator Anna Caballero, and U.S. Representative Jim Costa, along with many Merced County and city officials. Also on hand were former state senators Anthony Cannella and Cathleen Galgiani and former Assemblyman Rusty Areias.

UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sanchez Muñoz noted that he began hearing about the dream of a medical school from the moment he arrived on the UC Merced campus in May 2020 – especially from Merced native Gray.

“He was one of the very first to reach out to me and make very clear to me his expectations,” said Muñoz. “He has made a valley medical school a cornerstone of his time in the legislature. He has worked tirelessly with the governor to secure the funding for this facility. … We don’t have anyone more committed than (Assemblymember) Gray.”

Gray recalled the years-long struggle to realize a medical school for the Valley.

When I arrived in the legislature in 2012, I was told, ‘That dream is dead; we built the campus and that’s what we’re focused on; that’s what we have the money for.’ But the folks in this room didn’t let that dream die.

Adam Gray

Gray commissioned a study focused on access to medical care throughout California. It found gaping disparities between the number of doctors, specialists and medical workers in cities and those serving rural California.

For every 100,000 rural California residents, there were 157 doctors compared to 411 doctors per 100,000 San Francisco residents. In Merced County, the numbers were far worse — just 91 doctors per 100,000 residents, or nearly 80% fewer doctors than the Bay Area. The study found similar shortages of nurses, medical technicians and therapists.

The reaction to such numbers was predictable, said Gray. “Here in the Valley, we’ve got a little chip on our shoulder.”

Newsom said he admired that approach. “I like this notion of having a chip on your shoulder. … But there is also pride in the Valley; pride of place … that’s something you can’t legislate, you can’t manufacture.” Now, he said, it’s time to address the problem.

“You heard from all the speakers about the glaring inequities that persist out here in the Valley,” said Newsom. “The ongoing advocacy, that stewardship, that leadership is what made this possible. I want to acknowledge not only their stewardship but also their devotion.

“Jim, Anna and Adam – they all have my cell phone. If you could just see the amount of emails and text messages that I get from them about this medical school, this university. They just won’t give up. That tenacity is the reason we are here.”

The emotion in Assemblyman Adam Gray’s voice was clear when he turned to Gov. Gavin Newsom and said, “Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Muñoz said the construction of the building enables the university to begin preparations for the medical school by hiring faculty and creating courses. UC Merced will enroll its first class of future doctors in 2023.

“It’s not just about building these buildings and teaching the classes,” said Gray. “It’s about making lives better for everyone.”

IN THE DISTRICT: BACKPACKS AND SCHOOL SUPPLY GIVEAWAY FOR STUDENTS AND ROTARY MEETING

Another back-to-school backpack and school supply give away is in the books! Thank you to Boys & Girls Club of Merced County for partnering with me to ensure our local students are prepared for the school year.

It was a pleasure joining MoRo Modesto Rotary Club with my friend and colleague Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham to discuss the logic behind starting the CA Problem Solvers Caucus and why we believe working across the aisle is essential for addressing many issues facing California. Thank you for the invite!

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW BUDGET THAT CONCERNS OUR VALLEY

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) applauded the passage today of the final 2021 State Budget revision for the year. “Despite the challenges created by COVID-19, this budget funds a number of critically important priorities for the San Joaquin Valley,” said Assemblymember Gray. 

Agriculture and Drought

“The halls of the State Capitol continue to be a hostile place for agriculture. A report from Cal Poly SLO, which found that regulatory costs paid by Valley farmers more than doubled in six years, did little to slow the zealous special interests that see this drought as an opportunity to gut water rights and the Valley’s economic engine. Water storage funding, which would make water more sustainable for human and environmental uses, continues to be off the table. Meanwhile, the State Water Board has doubled down on its treatment of irrigation water as ‘waste and unreasonable use.’ I strongly support our irrigation districts who have sued the state to stop the Board’s illegal water and power grab.” “This game of chicken has to come to an end. Farmers are not the enemy of the environment, and this drought was not caused by almonds. Real solutions need to prevail over opposition that is founded in ideology rather than public policy. The voters already told us they want to see nearly $3 billion of new water storage built when they approved Prop 1 in 2014. They didn’t approve the funds only to have the State sit on its hands.” SB 170 is the final bill that amends the 2021 State Budget and reflects an agreement between the Legislature and the Administration reached in September on a number of budget issues that were unresolved in the July budget agreement. The 2021 Budget Act, AB 128 (Ting, Chapter 21, Statues of 2021) has previously been amended by AB 161 (Ting, Chapter 43, Statues of 2021), SB 129 (Skinner, Chapter 69, Statues of 2021) and AB 164(Ting, Chapter 164, Statues of 2021).

$60 Million for San Joaquin Valley Groundwater Recharge and Storage

“I am extremely frustrated that this budget contains no real funding to build new reservoirs or raise our existing dams. The State’s refusal to do the obvious things – build more dams – is a major reason why we are in this drought to begin with. However, we were able to secure $60 million for floodplain restoration projects that will act as groundwater recharge sites and water banks. Not only will these projects combat groundwater overdraft and subsidence, but they will also improve the drinking water quality in disadvantaged communities. The funding is sufficient to build at least one project on every major river that flows through the San Joaquin Valley. These funds are also dedicated to the Valley and cannot be siphoned off to other areas as we have seen done under the Prop 1 Water Bond. While new dams are needed, these projects will both protect against flooding and add thousands of new acre-feet of water storage underground.” 

UC Merced Center of Analytic Political Engagement (CAPE)

“I fought this year to create a permanent endowment for a public policy center at UC Merced to engage students who are passionate about making the Valley a better place to live and raise a family. By exposing students to the institutions and mechanisms that make our government work, I hope UC Merced can collaborate with the Maddy Institute at Fresno State to shape the next generation of advocates for the Valley.” 

Medi-Cal Coverage of Continuous Glucose Monitors

“The State will finally give Medi-Cal patients with diabetes access to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). CGMs are the standard of care for every other insured group in the State, but Medi-Cal patients were singled out to receive lesser care as a shortsighted cost-cutting mechanism. That has resulted in worse health outcomes and increased hospitalizations for our most vulnerable communities. Nearly 50 percent of the people I represent in the State Assembly receive health insurance through Medi-Cal, and as someone with diabetes in my family, this inequity was personal for me. This fight took five years and multiple bill vetoes to achieve, but starting next year, Medi-Cal is no longer allowed to treat poor and vulnerable people as second class citizens.” 

Adam Gray: In The District, August 2021

VA-Atlas Telehealth Facility

Thank you to Mike Hughes and Al Cotta for inviting me to attend this morning’s Los Banos VFW Post 2487 & American Legion Post 166. Did you know that their hall is the only VA-ATLAS telehealth facility in all of California?

Merced County Law Enforcement Awardees

It was a privilege for Team Gray to be invited to help recognize the 2019 and 2020 Merced County Law Enforcement “911 Dispatcher of the Year” awardees. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your dedication to the people of Merced County and the entirety of our state.

Love Stanislaus County Office Building Grand Opening

A big thank you to @modchamber and @centralvhcc for inviting Team Gray to join in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new @lovestanislauscounty office building! We’re lucky to have such a dedicated organization giving back to and engaging with our community.

West Modesto King Kennedy Neighborhood Collaborative

It was a pleasure meeting with the Modesto Police Department Clergy Council to discuss their concerns and their visions for the community. I look forward to partnering with them to support and empower our students and future leaders, and am excited to get to know their congregations.

Stanislaus County Farm Bureau Meeting

Thank you to the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau for allowing me to join your Board of Directors meeting. Though Sacramento might be addicted to attacking agriculture, I appreciate all that you do to continue feeding our state, nation, and world.

ASSEMBLYMEMBER ADAM GRAY IN THE DISTRICT STORIES 8/6/21

BACKPACK GIVEAWAY


We wrapped up our first backpack giveaway of the summer with the help of the Modesto Police Officers Association and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County. We had almost 300 students right here in West Modesto who will start the school year with new backpacks, school supplies, bike helmets, and smiles. We are working on upcoming giveaways!

HOULIHAN PARK RENOVATION

In Planada and taking part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the $2.4 million Houlihan Park renovation project. This project reflects more than eight years of work by the residents themselves, and when completed, will feature a children’s splash park, an outdoor stage, jogging paths, and exercise stations. What a win for the community!

CLUB MERCEDES MEMBER SOCIAL

Each year, Superintendent Steve Tietjen and Assemblymember Adam Gray co-host a Club Mercedes member social. This year’s event was extra special, as it was one of the first times everyone was together in over a
year. A big thanks for all that they do for the students in our community!

ABOUT CLUB MERCEDES:

“The Foundation of Every City is the Education of its Youth” Club Mercedes is a non-profit organization in Merced, California since 1947.

We support local school and city sports teams through cooking fundraiser dinners and serve as their sponsors as well. We encourage new membership and welcome guests! Our bar is open daily and have regular social events, stay tuned in to find out about each one! Come and enjoy our daily bar service and membership benefits! 

State Water Control Board Labels Water Used To Grow Food As A “Wasteful And Unreasonable Use”

In no other industry would the destruction of billions of dollars in economic productivity and thousands of jobs be tolerated. ASSEMBLYMEMBER ADAM GRAY RESPONDS WITH LETTER CALLING OUT THE WATER BOARD.

Click letter to read Adam Gray’s Response to Water Control Board

Adam Gray’s Letter to State Water Control Board

In The District 6/2/2021

Open Cockpit Day at Castle Air Museum!

Still a few more hours to check out Open Cockpit Day at Castle Air Museum! Lots of fun for the whole family, including a chance to tour a presidential aircraft, build model airplanes, and use a flight simulator! Big thanks to Roger Wood and Atwater Rotary Club-Atwater Ca for their help putting on today’s event.

MEMORIAL DAY 2021 EVENTS

Each year, our community observes Memorial Day in such meaningful ways, and for that I am appreciative. More photos from #AD21 Memorial Day Remembrance Events: Lakewood Funeral Home / Lakewood Memorial Park and Ceres Memorial Park 🇺🇸Thank you to American Legion Ceres Post 491 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10293 for your efforts

#AD21 Memorial Day Remembrance Events: Honoring our Fallen Heroes at the Lion Bridge on 7th Street in Modesto 🇺🇸

Merced PRIDE

A historic evening for Merced!  The Merced LGBTQ Alliance, in partnership with the greater Merced community and allies, raised a Progress Pride flag in Bob Hart Square. The flag will fly high for ALL of #NationalPrideMonth, helping to bring visibility and dignity to our neighbors.

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