From the first national Christmas tree lighting in 1923, held by President Coolidge
(Source: The White House Historical Association)
The end of another year invites each of us to pause and reflect on the last 12 months and anticipate what lies ahead. For many Californians, there have been challenges, especially in recent weeks. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this season.
In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge became the first president to host a national Christmas tree lighting. It was in the years immediately following World War I - a tradition that continues to this day. Before heading out to the festivities, he sent a message to disabled veterans of the conflict saying, “The heart of America is with those who made the great sacrifice in defense of our ideals.” It is a sentiment that we still share today, especially as many in the service are away from their families during the holidays. Read more here.
President Coolidge also observed the following: “Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
As we take time for encouragement and cheer during these final days of the year, we celebrate as well as contemplate. My family and I wish you safe travels and good fellowship with loved ones.
Each year, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association releases a scorecard highlighting legislators’ voting records on measures related to taxes.
This year, I was one of 13 legislators from the State Assembly and State Senate to receive a 100 percent rating from the organization.
In November, I teamed up with San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford and the City of Rancho Cucamonga to host a free “Age Well, Drive Smart” senior driving course.
Nearly 300 people attended this inaugural event in our area. Special thanks to the California Highway Patrol for providing the training.
Heading into next year, we will be looking to hold similar events around the 23rd Senate District. I’ll keep you posted on those details and developments.
For more information about this program, you can contact the district office at (909) 919-7731.
This fall, I worked with the nonprofit Building Resilient Communities on our 6th Annual Ark of Safety emergency preparedness forum. The annual event is an opportunity for Inland Empire faith, community, business, and education leaders to come together to discuss how to make our neighborhoods safer and the role houses of worship can play in providing relief.
This year’s event focused on earthquake readiness and connected participants to various government agencies and nonprofits that serve to assist during emergencies and natural disasters.
Thank you to the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino for the use of their facility - and thank you to Building Resilient Communities president Debra Williams for her dedication to this program. I look forward to partnering up again in 2019!
Each year, the Center for California Studies at California State University Sacramento places college graduates in various offices in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches as part of the Capital Fellows Program. These nationally recognized public policy fellowships offer unique experiences in policy-making and development in each branch of government.
I have had the great privilege of participating in the program for the last four years.
Our past fellows have gone on to pursue careers in public service in and around the State Capitol.
Tess Scherkenback was placed in our office for the 2017/18 year. She graduated summa cum laude and top of her major at Azusa Pacific University with an M.A. in Political Science and a double minor in Music & Humanities. She is a strong proponent of volunteerism and community service, teaching ESL. We are fortunate to have been able to hire her on as a legislative aide on our staff.
Heading into 2019, we are pleased to have Carney King as part of our office.
His past experience includes serving as the Operations Manager for the California Republican Party, and as an independent contractor for the consulting firm Meridian Pacific., Inc. Carney is an Army veteran from Elk Grove, California and graduated from the University of Oregon in 2017.
Applications for the 2019-20 Capital Fellows Programs are now OPEN. They are due by Monday, February 11, 2019.
Communities around the 23rd Senate District have been marking the holiday season all month long. My staff and I were glad to join parades in both Blue Jay (top) and Redlands (middle). Special thanks to the Boy Scouts for walking alongside parade participants, including Lake Arrowhead Troop 89 and Redlands Troop 33! Our staff also joined the Menifee community for its Hanukkah menorah lighting at Mayfield Park (bottom).
I was honored to be asked by San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon (at left) to be the guest speaker at the sheriff’s academy fall graduation. Congratulations to this new class - thank you for your service.
I had the opportunity to speak at a lunch meeting of the Menifee Rotary Club. At left, local realtor Vickie Carpenter and Menifee Mayor Bill Zimmerman. At right, club president-elect Debbie Manion.
The West Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District recently reached its 35th anniversary. Field Representative Joshua Monzon met with President Paul Leon (left) and the district board to mark the occasion.
Thanks to AT&T for partnering with our office to bring the “It Can Wait” initiative to Alta Loma High School. The program focuses on drawing attention to the dangers of distracted driving, with particular emphasis on the risks that come with using smartphones while behind the wheel. Learn more at www.itcanwait.com.
Congratulations to two new businesses in Big Bear! At top: Bob and Nancy Wallace celebrate the ribbon cutting for The Furniture Store. At bottom: Sevag and Melissa Baghboudarian mark the grand opening of their family business, Graphics Designed Ink.
Bank of America Small Business Banking celebrated their newly renovated space in Redlands. This branch has been open in the city since the 1950s. Congratulations! At left: Redlands Manager Sadiya Rasheed, Market Leader Nohe Gamboa, myself, and Inland Empire Market President Al Arguello
Each year, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation releases its State Business Tax Climate Index with the intention of informing business leaders, policymakers, and taxpayers on the efficiency of their tax systems and how their individual systems compare with other states.
The index ranks states based on more than 100 factors in five different tax areas: corporate taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, and property taxes, then adding the results for an overall ranking. Rather than focusing on the amount collected in taxes, the study highlights the general competitiveness of their tax systems.
For the 2019 ranking, California comes in at #49 - burdened by particularly high income and sales taxes (ranked #49 and #43 in those respective categories) pushed by the majority party in Sacramento.
Taxes are a large factor in whether or not businesses choose to locate or expand. For over a decade, an annual poll of over 500 CEOs from around the country has ranked California the worst place to do business.
Going into next year, especially as a new governor takes office, there needs to be a focus on ensuring businesses can continue to build a strong economy and create jobs in our communities.