Morrell Monthly: December 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Dear Friend,

During Christmas and the holiday season, we join together with loved ones as we anticipate a coming Hope and mark the passage of another year.

It is also a time of thanks as we cherish the blessings we have been given, including the freedom to gather, as well as, worship in the manner of our choosing.

In December 1941, Winston Churchill spent Christmas here in the United States, just as our nation had resolved to join World War II. He reflected on the significance of finding reason for joy and celebration - even then during one of history’s darkest hours. He thought it especially important for adults to pause from their obligations and take part in festivities with the younger generations. Here’s an excerpt:

“Here, in the midst of war, raging and roaring over all the lands and seas, creeping nearer to our hearts and homes, here, amid all the tumult, we have tonight the peace of the spirit in each cottage home and in every generous heart. Therefore we may cast aside for this night at least the cares and dangers which beset us, and make for the children an evening of happiness in a world of storm.” (Read his entire speech here.)

My family and I pray you have safe travels in the days ahead. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!


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Op-Ed: Governor’s Higher Gas Taxes Here

Picture of car being fueledAround this time each year, Californians would usually have seen a decrease in gas prices as stations shift from selling the more expensive summer blend gas to the cheaper winter blend. Not this year - and Sacramento Democrats are hoping you won’t notice.

On November 1, the governor’s gas tax kicked in, tacking on an extra 12 cents more per gallon. Eventually this amount will climb to 19 cents and higher. It is just one part of a slew of new taxes and fees that will take effect over the next few months. All told, the state will collect an additional $52 billion over the next decade from our wallets.

To read more about the taxes, you can read my entire op-ed published in the Press-Enterprise and Daily Bulletin here.

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Annual Women of Distinction Ceremony

Images from the 2017 Women of Distinction Ceremony
Highlights from the 2017 Women of Distinction Ceremony.

This fall, I partnered with the Businesswomen’s Association of San Bernardino County (BASBC) to host the 13th Annual Women of Distinction Ceremony, recognizing 36 women from around the 23rd State Senate District for their work in the community. Over 300 guests filled the hall at the Goldy S. Lewis Community Center in Rancho Cucamonga to recognize the honorees.

The annual Women of Distinction Ceremony is a tradition that recognizes the positive impact made by women from across the 23rd Senate District. These women are held in the highest esteem by family, friends, and colleagues and it is my privilege to shine a spotlight on their successes. I thank them for the work they do on behalf of others.

Along with all of our honorees, this year’s ceremony also highlighted the work of San Bernardino resident Shelley Burnach, who was selected as the Woman of the Year. She is a dedicated volunteer whose enthusiasm for serving never wanes. Shelley is always willing to give her time and resources to causes throughout the region. You can read more about her here.

For biographies on each of this year’s Women of Distinction honorees, click here.

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2018 Patriots of the Past, Present, & Future

Save the Date image

On March 9, 2018, I will be hosting the 5th annual Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future ceremony and policy forum at March Field Air Museum in Riverside to honor individuals and organizations for their commitment to our nation.

Nominations are now being accepted for “Patriots of the Past” and “Patriots of the Present.” To be considered, individuals and organizations must be based in the 23rd Senate District. A selection committee will choose three finalists for each era in the following categories: Business, Education, Health Care, Public Safety, Civic Service, and Community Service.

Additionally, nominations are being accepted for “Patriots of the Greatest Generation,” those who served in the military during World War II.

Entries are also being accepted for the “Patriots of the Future” category. This year, we are asking young people under the age of 21 to share what patriotism means to them by submitting an online questionnaire as well as a photo taken with a veteran in the community.

For details, including online forms, please click here.

For questions, please contact Aryn Luna at or (909) 919-7731.

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Image from annual Navy JROTC ceremony Image from annual Navy JROTC ceremony
Chaffey High School ROTC. The Navy JROTC at Chaffey High School held its annual ceremony and inspection this fall. It was an honor to speak with and meet such a great group of cadets who are eager to serve our country.

Image from Christmas Reception Image from Christmas Reception

Image from Christmas Reception
Christmas Reception at SkyPark at Santa’s Village. I joined San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford (2nd District) and Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) for a Christmas Reception in the San Bernardino mountains. Special thanks to the Mountain Fifes & Drums and everyone who braved the chilly weather to be there!

Image from Crafton Hills College Fire Academy Graduation
Crafton Hills College Fire Academy Graduation. For a second time, I had the honor of addressing cadets and their families at the Crafton Hills College Fire Academy graduation. As the Firefighters Memorial says at the State Capitol, it takes an “uncommon courage” to go into this field, willing to put your life on the line for others. Thank you to the cadets for your service - and congratulations!

Image from Crafton Hills College Fire Academy Graduation
University of Redlands. Thanks to University of Redlands Professor Samantha Pstross for inviting me to speak to students in her political science class. Great questions and discussion!

Image from The Village - Hemet
The Village - Hemet. I met with residents of The Village retirement community in Hemet. Many of the retirees are veterans. It was a privilege to recognize them for their service to our nation.

Image from CSU San Bernardino Groundbreaking
CSU San Bernardino Groundbreaking. The College of Extended Learning at Cal State San Bernardino hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Center for Global Innovation (CGI) building this month. Read more about the event, as well as the school, here.

Image of Senator Morrell and Jonathan Montano
Jonathan Montano. Jonathan Montano is an Air Force veteran who joined the military shortly after 9/11. In returning to civilian life, he is now pursuing a degree in nursing at Loma Linda University and has been recognized for his work in educational technology through publishing company John Wiley & Sons. He was recently named WileyPLUS Student Partner of the Year. Congratulations and thank you for your service, Jonathan!

Image of Josh Monzon with Stacy Sanchez
Veterans Wellness Services Opens in San Bernardino. This month, Marine Corps veteran Stacy Sanchez opened the San Bernardino headquarters of his nonprofit Veterans Wellness Services. At their L.A. location, Sanchez estimates that over the last nine years he and his team of caregivers have assisted more than 1,500. Pictured here: Our Field Representative Josh Monzon with Stacy. Read more about Veterans Wellness Services here.

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New Driver Licenses for Travel

Picture of planeIf you’ve gone to the airport recently or will be visiting one during this travel season, you may see signs with information about the REAL ID program.

What it means is that beginning October 1, 2020, the federal government will require your driver license or identification

(ID) card to be compliant with new security requirements if you wish to use it as identification to board an airplane or enter military bases and most federal facilities.

To meet this deadline, on January 22, 2018, the California DMV will begin providing a federal compliant REAL ID driver license or ID card as an option when renewing or obtaining a driver license or state ID.

For more information, including FAQs, click here.

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Do you know the history of Santa’s Village in Skyforest?

Picture with text about Santa’s VillageLast December, after being closed for nearly two decades, the famed Santa’s Village re-opened in Skyforest.

It’s now part of an outdoor adventure attraction called SkyPark at Santa’s Village.

Do you know the history of Santa’s Village and how it got its start in the San Bernardino Mountains?

To watch a short video about the park, click here.

Special thanks to San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford (2nd District)!

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