Championing the building of the long-proposed Temperance Flat Dam, Assemblyman Dr. Joaquin Arambula addressed the Fresno Chamber of Commerce at a Friday morning breakfast.
That was one of many issues Arambula spoke about. He started his speech touching on the need for training medical professionals and explaining his recent votes on raising gas taxes.
The Fresno Democrat talked about two private efforts to build a medical school in the Valley. He said he supports both of them. [Note of disclosure: one of those schools is California Health Sciences University, founded by the Assemi family. The Assemi family also owns Granville Homes, parent company of GV Wire.]
Arambula then discussed his April vote on SB 1, which raised taxes on gasoline in order to fund road projects. He said it was a tough choice. “You don’t always get the choice of making the popular vote,” he began. “Knowing that each city and municipality will now be receiving a 104% increase in transportation funding was a deciding factor for me.” He touted that Highway 269 into Huron will be getting much-needed attention.
The Assemblyman indicated he would support extending the Cap & Trade program by another ten years after voting against a prior version. Supporters of Cap & Trade, heavily promoted by Governor Jerry Brown, say it would help clean up the state’s air. Arambula noted that he would support as long as the Central Valley would be taken care of, reminding the audience of the $70 million grant headed to Fresno he helped secure.
“They call us the Appalachia of the West. We are health deficient and we are economically deficient. I want to make sure that if the state is going to continue to hand down regulations, that we help our industries and communities meet the climate change goals,” he said.
Arambula noted bi-partisan support for a revised Cap & Trade plan that could be voted on Monday. He wants to make sure that his support of the gas tax and Cap & Trade will benefit his district. “In brining Cap & Trade, High Speed Rail and transportation dollars into our communities, I am also pushing for workforce investment opportunities for our people…including making sure we bring the High Speed Rail maintenance yard to Fresno.”
He briefly touched on the need to bring a trained workforce and affordable housing that would go along with those new jobs.
Arambula then talked about what else is needed: water.
“As a Valley native, I was born and bred to understand that water is the lifeblood of our Valley. Our Valley has suffered through a prolonged drought. A drought that could be and should have been more bearable if we as a state invested in water infrastructure and made it easier for our water districts and growers to have the water that they needed,” Arambula spoke.
He enthusiastically showed support for building the Temperance Flat Dam. He encouraged the California Water Commission, which is accepting applications for funding projects, to meet in his district in order to get the dam built.
“The State of California will be investing in the first major above-ground storage project in almost 50 years. I believe that Temperance Flat Dam is crucial to the Valley and California’s future. I am asking that the Water Commission help us build it,” Arambula said.
Arambula invited Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to come visit the area where Temperance Flat would be built and understand how the project would not only benefit the Central Valley, but Southern California as well.
On his district website, Arambula set up a page to encourage letter writing and support of Temperance Flat.
Watch the full speech:
cover photo: David Taub