Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope the New Year is off to a great start for you and yours! I am working hard to keep our community safe and healthy in 2016 by introducing bills to curb smoking at youth sporting events, reduce bureaucratic red tape in our CalWORKs program, and partner with President Obama to collect data on gun violence.
We are also busy working on several upcoming community events including several workshops aimed to help people who want to begin a career in state service, as well as a hiring fair. I'm looking forward to seeing you at these and other events.
Thank you for checking out this newsletter for more information on events and issues that may interest you. As the year progresses, we will have many more announcements; please visit my website senate.ca.gov/Pan, to learn about legislative developments as they happen.
We accomplished so much in 2015, but by collaborating together, I know we can do even more in 2016. As always, please feel free to contact my office at (916) 262-2904 or by email at Senator.Pan@senate.ca.gov.
Dr. Richard Pan, State Senator 6th District
How to Begin a State Career
Want to learn more about how to begin a career in state service? Dr. Pan is sponsoring several neighborhood workshops designed to give you an overview of the entire process from beginning to end. Attendees will learn how to navigate the State Jobs website and how to apply for job vacancies. Check out the following events in your area:
Saturday, March 5: La Familia Counseling Center, 5523 34th Street, Sacramento, CA 95820. Click here to RSVP.
Wednesday, March 9: Sam & Bonnie Pannell Center, 2450 Meadowview Rd., Sacramento, CA 95832. Click here to RSVP.
Saturday, March 12: Asian Resources Inc. 5709 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95824. Click here to RSVP.
Saturday, March 26: SEIU Local 1000, 1808 14th St., Sacramento, CA 95811. Click here to RSVP.
Free Tax Help
If you have an income of $54,000 or less, you can qualify for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). VITA volunteers will help prepare federal and state taxes. The following Community Centers and sites will have volunteers available to help. To make an appointment please call 2-1-1 or (916) 498-1000. More information can be found here.
February 2 to April 6: South Natomas Community Center, 2921 Truxel Road. By appointment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Hart Senior Center, 915 27th Street. By appointment, for elderly taxpayers. Call: (916) 808-5462
February 4 - April 8: Pannell/Meadowview Community Center, 2450 Meadowview Road. By appointment on Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Legislative Update: A New Session
We are off and running in the State Capitol on the 2016 legislative session and while we accomplished much in 2015, there is still so much work to do. The Governor released his proposed budget in early January and delivered his State of the State speech soon thereafter. There was much to like in the Governor's budget including his continued reinforcement of the Rainy Day Fund, keeping our commitments to In-Home Support Services and allowing public schools to control their own spending at the local level. It was also great to see a much-needed focus on our aging state government infrastructure, which the people of Sacramento know has gone largely ignored for many years. The proposed budget provides $1.5 billion in spending in that area. You can see Dr. Pan's comments about the Governor's speech here.
Dr. Pan also introduced a measure, SB 877 to require the state to establish and maintain a data-tracking system on violent deaths, including gun deaths. It seems counterintuitive, but California lacks such a system and we are unable to answer the call for such data from the Obama administration. This bill will help researchers fully confront gun violence much like researchers have confronted and helped to curb vehicle deaths in our country. Click here for more information on SB 877.
March for the Dream!
On January 18th, Dr. Pan was proud to join thousands of fellow residents from the region in the March for the Dream to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and remember our continued struggle for civil rights in the United States. Tens of thousands of people from the area marched to the Sacramento Convention Center where they also could participate in a "Diversity Expo" complete with speakers, music and resources on health, employment and education. The message of Martin Luther King Jr. lives on all year long and if you ever need the inspiration that comes from his words, you can listen, read and watch his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, here.
United Way - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
In addition to his many other duties, Dr. Pan is a United Way California Capitol Region board member and the chair of Impact which oversees many community projects like the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Through the VITA program, a tax payer can save thousands in tax preparation. VITA also helps promote financial literacy and independence.
On January 30th, Dr. Pan joined with the United Way to get the word out about VITA, and their free tax assistance program. Over the next few weeks, volunteers will help countless people take advantage of tax programs like the Child Care Tax Credit and California's first ever Earned Income Tax Credit, which Dr. Pan was proud to support last year in the legislature. Under that tax credit, the average qualifying household would gain $460 a year.
To get tax help, go to: http://www.yourlocalunitedway.org or call: (916) 368-3000.
Elk Grove Rotary Club
On January 27th, Dr. Pan spoke to the Rotary Club of Elk Grove and gave a briefing on some of the issues we are confronting in the legislature as well as the progress we have made since the economic downturn. Dr. Pan spoke about the boost that the Northstate University College of Medicine will mean to our local community and had a great discussion about some of the issues that are of concern to our area.
A Trailblazer Statewide and Nationally
As a result of his pioneering work to keep everyone safe from vaccine-preventable diseases, Dr. Pan has been honored by several local, state and national organizations, has given talks to leaders around the country and has been busy working with advocates in states who want to expand protection policies in their regions. Dr. Pan recently traveled to Harvard University where he spoke to doctors and policy experts on SB 277.
In the midst of the fight for SB 277, Dr. Pan was named Time Magazine's "Hero of Vaccine History." Since then, he has received several other honors including being named "Public Health Champion" by the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and "Legislator of the Year" by the American Academy of Pediatrics of California, as well as the California Chronic Care Coalition (pictured above).
Revitalizing the Lower American River Parkway
On January 28th, Dr. Pan was pleased to join and partner with Assemblymember Kevin McCarty and co-author AB 1716, to create a conservancy for the Lower American River Parkway. The bill is the important first step that is needed to receive state funding that will make our waterway and riverfront the first-class destination it deserves to be. Learn more about the effort, here.
Vietnamese New Year
On January 29th, Dr. Pan was thrilled to celebrate Vietnamese New Year with the Vietnamese American Community of Sacramento. While there, Dr. Pan met with the VACOS board, Miss Vietnam Sacramento 2016, as well as presented certificates to VACOS scholarship recipients: Thu Trần, Lê Minh Tâm Phạm, Kin Tsan, Tiên Lê, Ngọc Phạ.
Chinese New Year
On January 30th Dr. Pan joined the Chinese New Year Culture Association (CNYCA) in celebrating the New Year and the Year of the Monkey. Traditionally, Chinese New Year was celebrated in San Francisco, but local leaders brought the annual celebration to Sacramento because of our City's rich cultural diversity. The celebration put the Chinese heritage on display with traditional dancing and other entertainment as well as children's games and food.
Dr. Pan's Unsung Hero
Every month Dr. Pan highlights an individual in our community that is making a difference by caring for others, overcoming hardships or working toward a dream. January's Senate District 6 Unsung Hero was Hervey A. Taylor III, who through a career change became a teacher when he recognized a need and went on to be the beloved principal at H. Allen Hight Elementary School in the Natomas Unified School District. Taylor is retired now, but continues to mentor teachers and his former students are continuing to reap the benefits of a teacher and principal that believed in their abilities and always challenged them to achieve new heights. Check out his Q & A, here.