One of my top priorities in Congress is to help bring jobs back to the Inland Empire and spur economic investment in our region. Despite recent improvements in the nation’s economic outlook, the unemployment rate in Riverside County has remained higher than the national average, and any recovery will be gradual. To address persistent unemployment, I will support bold investment in transportation and infrastructure, strengthening our small businesses, research and development into new technology, and workforce training programs to prepare workers to compete in the 21st century.
Investments in Infrastructure
Investing in our local infrastructure will put people back to work and improve our community for future generations. With interest rates at record lows, now is the time to issue bonds to build and renovate our roads, highways, bridges, and schools. These investments will help to revitalize the construction sector, reduce traffic, and improve our public education system. Freight transportation in Southern California creates nearly one million jobs and generates more than $30 billion in tax revenue for local communities. Between our ports, freeways, airports, and rail yards, more than $287 billion in goods and merchandise is transported through Southern California each year. To keep goods and people moving smoothly, I will work with my colleagues from the Inland Empire to ensure that Riverside County is getting its fair share of federal funding for transportation and infrastructure projects.
To grow our economy and get people back to work, we must ensure that small businesses have the resources they need to continue growing, innovating, and creating jobs. During these tough economic times, small businesses are finding it harder and harder to gain access to capital so they can expand and hire workers. I support cutting red tape and making it easier for small businesses to get micro-loans to help them grow and compete. Small businesses are the foundation of the American economy, and we must make it easier for them to compete for and win federal contracts. I look forward to meeting with local business leaders in the Inland Empire, hearing their stories, and collaborating with them to find ways that the federal government can work for them. To learn more about opportunities for small businesses that already exist, please visit the Small Business Administration
Promoting Research and Innovation
With resources like UC Riverside in our own backyard, the Inland Empire can be a leader in research and innovation that creates green jobs. Already, UCR is conducting advanced biomedical research, and the new Medical School will bring additional jobs to our region. As a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, I will work to ensure that our nation’s research institutions continue to receive the federal funding that allows them to compete and excel on the global stage. I support research and development tax credits to help foster a business climate that encourages innovation, and will work with community leaders to build partnerships between researchers, businesses, and local manufacturers.
As an educator and Member of the Riverside Community College Board, I’ve seen first-hand how job-training and vocational programs give students the skills they need to find a job and keep it. I support partnerships between community colleges, local businesses, experts, non- profits, and community leaders that give students hands on experience that will prepare them to succeed in the 21st century workforce. It’s time to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). This crucial law, which supports workforce development activities, like job search assistance and job training, is ten years overdue for reauthorization. While I support improving the effectiveness and accountability of WIA, I oppose efforts to consolidate the programs that provide services to our young and elderly workers, workers with disabilities, English language learners, and low-income workers.
Growth in the green job sector has the potential to create quality, well-paid jobs that help improve the environment. Studies show that green jobs tend to be better paid on average and that they are more likely to be union jobs. Investments in green retrofits will improve energy efficiency and put people to work in communities across the country. As a member of the Congressional Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) Caucus, I believe that we must prepare our students and workers to meet the demands of this emerging field. I will work with my colleagues promote policies that get students excited about STEAM fields so they can compete for green jobs of the future.
Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
As a Co-chair of the Equality Caucus, I am a proud cosponsor of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring and employment practices. I believe that this is a critical piece of legislation to further protect LGBT Americans and ensure that no one in this country is denied employment based on who they are.
Riverside County has the 8th largest veteran population of any county in the United States. As a result, I am committed to ensuring that our veterans and transitioning service members are workforce-ready and able to find well-paying jobs. As the Ranking Democrat on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, I am constantly working with my colleagues to guarantee that all veterans have the tools and support they need to excel in the workforce.
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