U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) made a stop at Latif’s Restaurant early Tuesday morning to talk issues with members of Turlock’s Sunrise Rotary.
Water – or the lack thereof – dominated the discussion, as Denham called for more water storage to prevent future drought crises.
“We haven’t had new water storage for about 50 years,” Denham said. “We need substantially more water storage.”
As much as 10 million gallons of new water storage is needed, Denham said. Four or five large projects are already ready to be constructed, he said, if environmental approvals can be granted.
But short-term solutions are needed too, as more water storage won’t help until it rains. Denham said regulations should be eased to allow for water to be transferred where it is needed the most.
The ongoing drought has drastically affected the local economy, Denham noted. He said that, rather than increasing welfare spending, the Federal Government could spend its money better by fighting the California drought.
“We don’t need handouts,” Denham said. “We don’t need more welfare. We just need our economy to survive and thrive.”
Denham also discussed his involvement with the Farm Bill, which he called a success for California specialty crop growers, and a trip to Afghanistan where he says native forces are now taking a leading role.
“I’ll never forget how proud they were they did it themselves,” Denham said.
Immigration was a topic too, with Denham saying he expects an immigration reform package to be passed this year. Denham talked up his ENLIST Act, which would grant citizenship to illegal immigrants who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“There’s no better way to earn your citizenship than to swear an oath to our country and put your life on the line,” Denham said.
The Turlock visit is part of a weeklong visit to the district, which will culminate in a town hall meeting to discuss his efforts to bring a VA facility to French Camp.
“Building this facility in French Camp will raise the standard of care for veterans across the San Joaquin Valley,” said Denham. “This town hall meeting gives us a chance to share the most up-to-date information about the project status with area veterans and gather feedback from the community.”
The town hall meeting will occur at 10 a.m. Friday in the Community Room at Health Plans of San Joaquin, 7751 S. Manthy Rd., French Camp. Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) will also attend.
Denham’s visit has also included a tour of the Central Valley Specialty Hospital in Modesto and a dedication of two new flags to the City of Modesto to hang over the Modesto City Arch.