Update from Senator Padilla – One Year In
As I mark my first year as your United States Senator, I am writing to share some highlights of our work on behalf of Californians like you. It is my honor to serve, and I want to continue to hear from you about the issues that matter most in your life.
Connecting with Californians
Even during the pandemic, I have been fortunate to connect with Californians across the state over the past year. I joined over 50 in-person and online events with local leaders to discuss COVID-19 response, wildfire resiliency, affordable housing, the drought, and more. This included hosting the 25th annual Lake Tahoe Summit. I also participated in over a dozen town halls with Members of Congress, regional partners, and press.
As Congress was debating major investments in our nation’s infrastructure, I held a state-wide infrastructure listening tour to ensure Californians’ feedback was included in the historic bipartisan bill that was signed into law in November. My 17-stop tour allowed me to listen to the needs of communities from Sacramento and San Jose to the Central Valley, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
And when our state faced tough moments, I made sure to be on the ground and help find solutions. I toured and received a briefing on the emergency response to the oil spill off the coast of Orange County, and Senator Feinstein and I pushed the federal government to investigate the pipeline leak. I visited the Forest Service’s Incident Command Post in Quincy to hear from officials on the ground about how the federal government could best support fire crews as they worked to combat the Dixie Fire. With California once again facing drought, I visited the Central Valley to discuss critical water infrastructure investments needed in the region. As global supply chain disruptions slowed the movement of goods, I met with officials at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to discuss what federal resources are needed in order to reduce congestion, improve the flow of goods, and bring down costs for Californians.
I look forward to reaching even more communities in California in 2022.
Helping Californians and Small Businesses Navigate Federal Government
My California team has helped thousands of Californians and small businesses access benefits or navigate the federal government. For example, we have successfully returned over $12 million to Californian small businesses across the state. We also helped with stimulus benefits and tax refunds from the IRS, and social security payments. If we can ever be of service, please feel free to reach out to my DC office or one of my regional California offices.
Historic Legislation to Invest in California Infrastructure and Workers
I proudly cast one of my first votes for the American Rescue Plan Act, which President Biden signed into law this past March. The American Rescue Plan helped lift half a million children out of poverty in California, provided direct checks to struggling families, increased COVID-19 testing and vaccination capacity, supported small businesses, and continues to provide critical funding for housing and transportation.
In addition, several of the bills I introduced this year were signed into law in part or in whole as part of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress in November. This includes $5 billion to fund projects that strengthen our electric grid for extreme weather events and natural disasters, $15 billion to replace lead pipes and service lines to improve the safety of drinking water across the country, $5 billion to help school districts transition to electric school buses, and a fix in federal law to allow Urban Indian Organizations to spend their federal funding on health care facility construction and renovation projects.
Advocating for California Values
From climate change to voting rights and immigration, I advocated for issues that matter most to Californians through my first bill introductions, committee assignments, and work with fellow Senators.
Here are some highlights of these efforts over the past year:
- SF Chronicle: Padilla proposes increased protection for 1 million acres of California wilderness
- LA Daily News: LAUSD, Sen. Padilla pitch power of transitioning to electric school buses
- C|Net: Following Padilla led letter, Biden to let California keep setting emissions standards, reversing Trump ban
- NPR: California Sen. Alex Padilla On Essential Worker Immigration Bill
- MSNBC: Sen. Padilla: “The time is now, the urgency is there” for voting rights legislation
Staying in Touch
My office responded to over 1.4 million letters from Californians last year, and I want to continue to hear about the issues that matter most to you and your family. Feel free to use the survey link below to sign-up to ensure you get future updates.
As we weather the pandemic and continue to rebuild our economy, I am inspired by the incredible resilience of Californians. No state can match California’s diversity—culturally, economically, or ecologically. I truly believe there is strength in our diversity, and it gives me great optimism for our future. I look forward to continue fighting for you every day in the U.S. Senate.
Thank you and please continue to stay safe,
United States Senator for California