Happy New Year! I hope that you and your loved ones enjoyed the holidays and this newsletter finds you well. As we begin the new year, a flurry of new bills will be introduced in the Legislature in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for future newsletters to learn more about legislation that I am working on. However, before we look too far ahead, let’s take a moment to review what has been happening around Assembly District 32 this past month. This newsletter also contains information about financial aid opportunities for college and a list of upcoming events.
Do not forget to visit my website to sign up for legislative updates, find a list of upcoming events, as well as information on state resources and services available to you. Please contact my office if I can be of any assistance.
Assemblymember, 32nd District
In this issue:
- Holiday Toy Drive
- Christmas Parade
- Aera Energy Press Conference: Integrating New and Old Energy
- Bringing Computer Science Education to the Central Valley
- Cash for College
- Upcoming Events
The holidays are a time of giving and I was truly moved by the generosity and kindness on display at my annual Holiday Toy Drive. So many people and organizations were so unselfish and charitable in donating to make sure kids in need would have gifts to open on Christmas. It was truly remarkable. The feeling of family and community togetherness that comes with helping neighbors and friends is a million times more gratifying than receiving gifts. Big thanks to Aria Community Health Center, Kings County Probation Department, Rebuilding Stratford and Corcoran City Mayor Raymond Lerma for donating their time and resources to help spread cheer during the holidays and make a lot of kids happy on Christmas.
The atmosphere was festive and spirits were bright at the Arvin Christmas parade! It was great to see so many families come out to celebrate the holidays with their community. I had a wonderful time joining in the festivities with the great people of Arvin, along with Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, Mayor Jose Gurrola, Police Chief Jerry Breckenridge, Councilmember Erika Madrigal, and former Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall. It was especially fun to join the future leaders of Arvin High School’s FFA Program on their elaborate farm-themed float.
I joined Aera Energy and GlassPoint Solar at the signing of their partnership for the Belridge Solar Plant - an extraordinary, first-of-its-kind project that will use cutting edge technology to integrate solar power with oilfield operations to efficiently and responsibly meet growing energy demands. The project will have a positive impact locally and globally by creating jobs and growing the economy while conserving valuable resources and reducing emissions. It is projected to save more than 376,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is the equivalent of more than 80,000 cars—more than one-third of the cars in Bakersfield today!
I really enjoyed hosting the first Google Computer Science Roadshow in Bakersfield where students had the opportunity to learn coding from Google’s tech experts. Whether you live in Silicon Valley or the Central Valley, providing kids with access to computer science education is a necessity if we want to continue to drive innovation and economic growth in California.
Paying for college can be difficult, but California has always been dedicated to providing eligible students with an affordable higher education. The Cal Grant and the Middle Class Scholarship are two great state programs that help California families finance the future of their education.
The Cal Grant Program ensures that any qualified student will not be turned away from a college education because he or she cannot pay for it. Students who do not qualify for the Cal Grant program but have seen themselves priced out of higher education may qualify for the Middle Class Scholarship Act (MCSA).
Students apply just as they would for a federal student loan, by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Don't delay! The deadline to apply for both programs is March 2, 2018. You can find the Free Application for Federal Student Aid here.
Cash for College Workshop
I would like to invite you and your family to attend a FREE Cash for College Workshop in Bakersfield on Saturday, January 20. This event, with the Youth 2 Leaders Education Foundation and the California Student Aid Commission will provide students and parents the chance to meet with advisors that will help them complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act application and answer questions about financial aid opportunities. No appointment necessary!
What to bring:
- Student’s social security number (if applicable)
- Parent’s social security card or ITIN (if they have one)
- Parent’s federal income tax return from tax year 2016
- Student’s 2016 federal income tax return from tax year 2016
|WHEN:||Saturday, January 20
8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Workshop
Need help filing your taxes? I invite you to attend an upcoming FREE Tax Return Preparation Workshop. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program provides free basic tax return preparation for low-to moderate-income taxpayers, including military veterans, the elderly, and taxpayers with limited English proficiency or a disability. IRS-certified volunteers provide free income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.
Appointments are required.
Please visit my website or call my office at (661) 335-0202 for more information on how to make an appointment for an upcoming VITA event near you.
What to bring:
- Photo ID
- Social Security Card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for all family members
- All Earnings Statements (W-2’s, 1099’s, Social Security Income, etc.)
- Copy of Prior-Year Tax Return
- Bank Account & Routing Number for Direct Deposit
- Tuition Fees & Expenses
- Expenses Paid for Child/Day Care
VITA Workshops Date/Location
|WHEN:||Saturday, February 3
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
1130 N. 11th Avenue
|WHEN:||Saturday, February 17
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Friendship House Community Center
|WHEN:||Saturday, March 3
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Delano High School
|WHEN:||Saturday, March 24
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Karl Clemens Elementary School - Cafeteria
Paws for Patriots
In partnership with Kern County Veterans Service Department and Marley’s Mutts, I invite you to attend a Veterans Dog Adoption & Resource Fair. Come discuss state legislative issues and learn about services available to veterans. Meet and play with the Miracle Mutts program dogs and find out how you can adopt a canine companion at little to no cost for veterans. Join us to find a perfect companion for you.
|WHEN:||Saturday, February 17
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 97