Honoring Women In Merced And Stanislaus County

Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2020 Latina Women's Award Luncheon

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, the amendment which granted American women the right to vote and The Merced County Courthouse Museum has organized a fantastic exhibit spotlighting 40 admirable women from Merced County who, with courage and strength, led the effort for social, political, and gender equity. The exhibit will run from March 12 to June 14 at the Merced County Courthouse Museum.

March is #WomensHistoryMonth, and the Legislature will celebrate the accomplishments of women through California on March 23 at the 2020 Women of the Year Ceremony. Here is a highlight of women in our community who are a change makers, fighters, and who is pave the way for future generations. #AD21CommunityProfiles

Odessa Johnson

Odessa Johnson has lived in Modesto for more than 50 years, and she has made countless contributions to our community that will live on forever. In 1967, she became the first African-American educator at Modesto High School, and eventually she rose to become Dean of Modesto Junior College, a Modesto City Schools Board Member, and a U.C. Regent. She is a civil rights leader who has dedicated her life to improving the world for future generations.

Captain Becky Hagen

Captain Becky Hagen began her career with the California Highway Patrol twenty years ago, but she made history when she became the first female commander of CHP – Merced Area in March 2018. Throughout her career, she has been assigned to several CHP area offices, but as commander of our area, one of her top priorities is driving down the death and collision rates on the county’s roads and highways. Captain Hagen has dedicated her to career to keeping Californians safe.

Alicia Rodriguez

Alicia Rodriguez has been a cherished volunteer in and member of Planada for more than twenty years. Each day, she works to provide a safe and welcoming space for local families and to increase access to community resources for those who would otherwise be without. Her work as with our the St Vincent de Paul- Planada chapter has strengthened community ties.

Faye Lane

Ms. Faye Lane has selflessly dedicated herself to shaping the lives of Ceres Unified School District students for decades, working for thirty-two years as a classified employee. She was elected to the School Board in 2007, and she continues to serve with distinction today.

Patty Castillo Davis

With accolades including opening for Dwight Yoakum, playing alongside Grand Old Opry performers, and singing at the Vatican, Ceres’s very own Patty Castillo Davis has made her mark in our community. In addition to her musical talents, she regularly serves the community by providing food, shelter, and clothing to those in need. Through her music, she creates a greater awareness for the arts while also highlighting social justice and gender inequities.

Kendall Wesenberg

Modesto’s very own USA Olympian, Kendall Wesenberg, competed in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Though she played a variety of sports growing up, she didn’t pursue the sport that would make her an Olympian until she was in college at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In addition to her Olympic showing, Kendall is the first American woman to win the European Cup for skeleton.

Sue Emanivong

A business owner, volunteer, and community organizer, Sue Emanivong is one of Merced’s hardest working residents. A first-generation Laotian whose parents immigrated from a refugee camp in the 1980s, and she is a lead organizers of the local Laotian New Year celebration. She’s also behind the summer Street Faire, Red Nose Day, Kid’s Day, and Back-to-School Supply Drive. Sue helps to unite our community and ensure a healthy, well-informed community.

Katrina K. Hoyer

Dr. Katrina K. Hoyer is an Assistant Professor and researcher at UC Merced (Ph.D. from UCLA) and is one of the leading immunologists studying the immune system’s response to Valley Fever — a disease which, until recently, has been little understood. Dr. Hoyer organized and hosted last year’s inaugural Valley Fever Summit at UC Merced and is the recipient of a major grant for Valley Fever research.

Martha Nateras

Livingston’s Martha Nateras is the founder and president of the Young Women’s Conference, a nonprofit organization which seeks to to empower, enrich, and inspire our world’s future, women leaders. She also works as a counselor at Livingston High School and is a local rotarian.

Necola Adams

Necola Adams, a native of Merced and known locally as “the Cookie Lady,” is a successful small business owner that has been enriching lives and creating gourmet cookies for over 20 years. Serving freshly made cookies at two-dozen Hollywood sitcom sets doesn’t scratch the value she provides to our community. Necola is also a tremendous community activist, the founder of the Merced County Nut Festival, an active League of Women Voters member, and much more.

Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Awards Women That Help Their Community

The Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held it’s 2020 Latina Women’s Luncheon. Congratulations to the awardees: Lillian Sanchez-Ramos, Nereida Ochoa-Jantz, Nicole Lopez, and Sylvia Ruano. Their hard work uplifts not only other women and Latinas, but the whole community!

Assemblymember Adam Gray Fighting To Close Central Valley Healthcare Worker Gap

Expanding insurance coverage is important, but if there are no doctors in your community then there still isn’t reliable access to health care. Assemblymember Adam Gray had a discussion with #CentralValley educators about maximizing efforts not only to build a local medical school, but also about how we can strengthen the healthcare workforce by expanding pipeline programs, residency slots, and loan forgiveness programs.

Adam Gray went before the Assembly Budget Subcommittee to advocate for eliminating educational debt (think, scholarship and loan repayment programs) for physicians, behaviorists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in under-served healthcare areas. Attempting to close the healthcare workforce gap.

In The District 3/6/2020

Friends of the Merced County Fair Dinner

Friends of the Merced County Fair Dinner

Friends of the Merced County Fair put on a charity dinner. The event allowed the community to gather and support the work The Merced County Fair does for the area.

Merced County Recieves State Funding

Merced County receives money to upgrade Houlihan park in Planada and Pioneer Park in Gustine. The money will be used for maintaining and upgrading the community facilities.

Merced County Courthouse Museum to Display Womens’ Exhibit

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, the amendment which granted American women the right to vote. The Merced County Courthouse Museum has organized an exhibit spotlighting 40 admirable women from Merced County who, with courage and strength, led the effort for social, political, and gender equity. The exhibit will run from March 12 to June 14 at the Merced County Courthouse Museum. #WomensHistoryMonth

Golden Valley Health Center Opens New Location

Golden Valley Health Centers formally celebrated the opening of its ELEVENTH Modesto location. Dedicated providers like Golden Valley ensure that all individuals, regardless of one’s ability to pay, have access to high-quality, judgment-free, safe healthcare services.

Gray Joins Merced Seniors’ Luncheon

The Merced Senior Community Center invited Assemblymember Adam Gray to join for lunch. They reminisced and shared stories about living in Merced through the years.

In The District 2/21/2020

New Western Dental Building Opens In The Valley

New Healthcare Provider Opens Doors In Valley

Another healthcare provider opened its doors in the Valley. With more than 300 locations in California, Western Dental is the leading provider of Medi-Cal dental services in our state. Assemblymember Adam Gray’s team participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony with the Los Banos Chamber of Commerce at the company’s newest location in Los Banos. These clinics are an important part of the efforts to expand meaningful access to healthcare throughout the Valley.

Gray Introduces Legislation to Strengthen California’s Firefighting Mutual Aid System

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) has introduced Assembly Bill 3198 to establish a grant program for local fire departments participating in California’s firefighting mutual aid system.

For nearly seven decades, fire departments have been part of a “neighbor helping neighbor” system of mutual aid.  Under the California Fire Service and Rescue Emergency Mutual Aid System, local jurisdictions experiencing an emergency incident likely to exceed, or has exceeded, their ability to control it may request the outside assistance of other jurisdictions.  

“Unprecedented wildfires have undoubtedly strained California’s firefighting mutual aid system and we are all too familiar with reports of mutual aid requests for fire suppression going unfilled due to lack of available resources,” said Assemblymember Gray. “It is time to ensure local fire departments have the mutual aid resources they need to quickly deploy at the onset of an emergency incident.”  

“As Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, I listened to fire officials from across the state communicate their frustrations with mutual aid as we know it this past month,” said Assemblymember Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita). “Through their testimony, it was clear this system we’ve relied on for decades requires significant updates to accommodate resource shortfalls and more pernicious fires. I commend my colleague Assemblymember Adam Gray for recognizing the urgency in supporting our brave firefighters and first responders in their important, lifesaving work.”  

“The Administration and the Legislature have been very proactive in addressing the challenges posed by these catastrophic wildfires,” continued Assemblymember Gray. “Working together, we have made significant progress in deploying technology to detect fires earlier, prioritizing mitigation work, prepositioning resources during extreme weather, and establishing a Wildfire Threat Center to improve forecasts and enhance alerts and warnings.  This grant program will be an additional tool for our first responders to keep Californians safe during any type of disaster.”  

Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), Chair of the Senate Government Organization Committee, and Assemblymember Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita), Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, are coauthoring the bill.    

“In the weeks ahead, I look forward to working with the fire service, local governments, the Administration and my colleagues in the Legislature to refine this proposal to craft a grant program that best meets the needs of the firefighting mutual aid system,” concluded Assemblymember Gray.

In The District 2/14/2020

United Way Cuts Ribbon For Merced County's "Little Free Library"

United Way of Merced County’s Little Free Library’s Ribbon Cutting

The ribbon was cut for the opening of the United Way of Merced County‘s Little Free Library! Little Free Library book-sharing boxes play an essential role by providing 24/7 access to books (and encouraging a love of reading!) in areas where books are scarce.

The ability to secure a good job is tied directly to one’s ability to read and process information. Book-sharing improves literacy rates, grows children’s imaginations, and puts books in the hands of those who may not be able to afford them.

Meeting With The Coalition For Medical Education

Assemblymember Adam Gray reported a successful meeting of the Coalition for Medical Education. California Governor Gavin Newsom pledged $15 million in ongoing funding to provide more doctors, strengthen the medical education partnership between UC Merced and UCSF Fresno, and increase access to health care in the Central Valley.

Recognizing Officer Lorenzo Beltran

Congratulations to Ceres Police Department‘s Officer Lorenzo Beltran, who has been recognized nationally for his phenomenal work as a school resource officer at Central Valley High. Thank you for your dedication to keeping the school, its students, and our community safe.

Inspiring The Next Generation of Leaders

Assemblymember Adam Gray spoke with Atwater High School seniors about his job as a legislator, the role of government, and the importance of voting.

In The District 2/07/2020

Campus Parkway Buildout Cutting Of The Ribbon

Orestimba High Tours Capitol

Fifty students from Orestimba High School are visited the Capitol to learn about the legislative process and to participate in a mock hearing. Assemblymembers gave the students a tour and thanked their educators for helping the next generation of leaders be civically engaged.

Assemblymember Gray Authors Bill To Fund Merced County Fair

Fairs are vital component of our communities, local economies, and statewide emergency management planning. Assemblymember Adam Gray partnered with The Merced County Fair in authoring a funding bill for the event.

Click Here for more information

2020 Primary Election

The 2020 Primary Election is a few weeks from today. Ballots have already been mailed in some counties throughout California. A few dates to keep track of:
🇺🇸 Last day to register to vote online: FEB. 18
🇺🇸 Last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot: FEB. 25
🇺🇸 Election Day: MARCH 3

Click Here for a guide to your California Ballot

Super Bowl

On Super Bowl Sunday, Assemblymember Adam Gray talked with many constituents about retired Niner greats. Sharing who are some of his favorite players, past and present.
🏈 PAST: Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, and Ronnie Lott
🏈 PRESENT: George Kittle and Deebo Samuel

Composite Squadron 50 New Facility

Under the leadership of Major Jon Domke, the cadet corps at Lt Col Arthur King Composite Squadron 50 has grown from 8 cadets to 35. They opened a new facility!

Campus Parkway Buildout

Back in 2017, Senator Anthony Cannella and Assemblymember Adam Gray worked across party lines and secured $500 million for local transportation projects like Campus Parkway. They recently celebrated two crucial steps in the Campus Parkway buildout (Phase II completion and Phase III groundbreaking), a project that means a great deal to Merced County.

In The District 1/24/2020

Adam Gray Visits Merced County Farm Bureau

Assemblymember Adam Gray spent the evening at the Merced County Farm Bureau meeting .

$15 Million For UC Merced Medical Students

Photo from the Merced Sun Star

Governor Newsom’s budget includes $15 million for UC Merced medical education. This investment will allow more students to train to become doctors in the Valley and it will directly increase access to care in our community.

Read more at the Merced Sun Star article here:

Gray Introduces Legislation to Repeal the Ticket Tax

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement upon introducing Assembly Bill 1980 to repeal the automatic 20% tax on traffic tickets imposed by the state:

“During a time of fiscal uncertainty nearly two decades ago, the state imposed a 20% tax on traffic tickets and devoted the funding to prop up the General Fund. At the time, the state promised this was a temporary measure, but to the surprise of no one eventually made the tax permanent just a few years later.

“The State Auditor has repeatedly recommended this tax be eliminated. The revenue does not support law enforcement or any specific public safety program. Instead, the funds are up for grabs every year to spend with no accountability to the public. This tax amounts to nearly $40 million per year stolen from taxpayers without explanation.

“I introduced a similar bill last year in partnership with Stanislaus County Sheriff Jeff Dirkse who knows this tax has nothing to do with improving safety on our roads. We received the support of law enforcement groups like the Peace Officers’ Research Association and criminal justice groups like Restore Justice and the ACLU.

“All sides agree this tax is unjust, indefensible, and long overdue for repeal.

“This year we will redouble our efforts, and with Governor Newsom indicating his support for reforms like this in the budget, I am confident we will succeed.”

SIGN THE PETITION: http://bit.ly/stopthetickettax

In The District 1/17/2020

Oath of Office

Assemblymember Adam Gray had the honor of administering the Oath of Office to the incoming Rural County Representatives of California Officers, including the new Chair, Merced County Supervisor Daron McDaniel.

Women Making California History

Congratulations to Sue Parker, the Assembly’s new Chief Clerk, and Alisa Buckley, the Assembly’s new Chief Sergeant at Arms. Both took the oath of office this week and made California State History as the first women to serve their positions.

Scam Alert

Scammers are calling and impersonating law enforcement officers, specifically those who work for the Sheriff’s Department, claiming they are calling to collect legal debts or other types of debt. These calls are coming from a 209 area code, making it seem legitimate. THE STANISLAUS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT DOES NOT CALL REGARDING LEGAL OR MONETARY MATTERS.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be an officer of the law requesting money, do not engage. You can report the incident to the Sheriff’s non-emergency at (209) 552-2468. The other option is to not answer the phone to any number that is not familiar to you.

The original post can be found here: Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department

Assemblymember Gray Seeks Audit of State Regulator’s Failure to Prevent Utility Wildfires

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) has submitted a request to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee seeking a state audit of the California Public Utilities Commission. As the state’s primary entity tasked with the regulation of public utilities, Gray’s audit letter seeks information about the commission’s role in PG&E’s inadequate and dangerous management of its power lines which sparked some of the most destructive wildfires in California history.

“A lot of the conversation around utilities and wildfires has focused on shareholders and executives at PG&E placing their own profits over the public’s safety,” said Gray. “That criticism is well deserved. Shareholders are just now realizing it would have cost a lot less to make responsible safety improvements over time rather than go through bankruptcy with multi-billion dollar settlements.

“However, government incompetence is also part of the story. The CPUC regulates public utilities and knew about the decaying and outdated condition of PG&E’s infrastructure, yet they failed to act. Instead, the commission often denied what little safety improvements were proposed by the utility.

“Many have pointed to climate change to explain the dangerous conditions which allowed recent wildfires to grow so quickly and burn so intensely. Ironically, the CPUC has been at the center of the state’s fight against climate change since the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Instead of raising the alarm that climate change will make dangerous wildfire conditions more common, the commission has pushed its Safety and Enforcement Division to the bottom of the priority list.

“I am asking the State Auditor to provide an independent and nonpartisan analysis of what went wrong at the CPUC. Why was public safety not a priority for the commission, and why were grid improvements like burying power lines in fire prone areas not approved? Despite playing a central role in helping California adapt to climate change in other areas, why was the CPUC asleep at the wheel on the risk of utility caused wildfires?

“The state has promised not to allow these tragedies to happen again. In order to fulfill that promise, we need answers to these questions. If the CPUC is not capable of ensuring the public’s safety, then it is time we figure out a new way to regulate public utilities so that homes, businesses, and families come first.”

Gray’s audit request will be voted on by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee at a hearing scheduled for February 19th.

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