Minutes from February 16, 2016 Open Board Meeting-Congressman Pete Aguilar

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Open Board of Directors Meeting

San Bernardino Community College District
114 S. Del Rosa Drive
San Bernardino, CA 92408


Present: Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Rigo Bejarano, Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Ann Bryan, Rachelle Bussell, Ken Coate, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Matthew Isaac, Jay Jimenez, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, Dale Marsden, Sue McKee, Tomas Morales, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, John Prentice, Brian Reider, Kristine Scott, Wendy Strack, Steve von Rajcs and Ray Wolfe.

Guests: Juan Herrera, Boris Medzhibovsky

Announcements:  1) Committees were asked to submit their white papers for the advocacy trip to D.C.  2) There will be a panel on homelessness in the Inland Empire at our meeting on March 1, 2016.  3) Loma Linda will hold a family based ground breaking ceremony on May 5, 2016 from 2.m. -5 p.m.

M/S/P:  Minutes from February 9, 2016

Kevin Dyerly introduced Congressman Pete Aguilar.

Since Congressman Aguilar’s swearing-in he has focused on pushing legislation that supports San Bernardino County’s middle class and grows the Inland Empire economy. He’s been a champion for small businesses, veterans and working families, and has worked with his Democratic and Republican colleagues to advance meaningful legislation.  Congressman Aguilar has also worked closely with federal agencies to bring critical funds back to the community and to Inland Empire residents.

The Inland Empire has one in ten unable to find work, and many families earning less than they need to afford the basics.  The Congressman stated that strengthening our economy and creating jobs is a top priority.  He believes that we can do that by building an economy that’s fair to middle-class families and small businesses.  Rather than cutting spending for public education to give tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, we need to invest in infrastructure, renewable energy and education to grow our economy and create the jobs of the future.  The Congressman has hosted numerous Job Fairs to connect job seekers with local businesses and organizations for employment opportunities.  Unlike many Job Fairs he is tracking their successes and applying the knowledge to future Job Fairs.

Congressmen Pete Aguilar and Colonel Paul Cook introduced H.R. 4024, the Santa Ana Wash Plan Land Exchange Act, which is a land-use plan that allows the transfer of land between the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District and the Bureau of Land Management. The land exchange takes place in a designated region within the Santa Ana Wash, at the junction of the Santa Ana River and Mill Creek.  The plan is comprehensive and identifies land where existing mining operations can continue to provide the aggregate needed to support the region’s growing construction industry and establishes protected areas for native plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act. The plan represents over 15 years in the making and enjoys bi-partisan support without any opposition as yet.

Congressman Aguilar recently created a Veterans Advisory Board. The committee of local veterans, veteran assistance non-profit organizations, education facilities, and veteran employment groups discuss local and national initiatives to connect veterans with job opportunities. The Veterans Advisory Board is comprised of community members on a rotating basis to tackle a variety of issues facing veterans, including employment, health care, the VA backlog, homelessness and more.  He will meet regularly with the board to address problems facing veterans in the Inland Empire community.

College affordability is critical in our area.  The Congressman will hold a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and college affordability workshop to answer any last-minute questions before the March 2nd application deadline. The workshop will provide information for students applying for FAFSA, resources for DREAMers applying for federal student assistance, and guidance for parents or guardians who have children navigating the student loan process for the first time.

He has joined Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in introducing H.R. 3337, the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act as a cosponsor.  The Congressman Aguilar listed a National Infrastructure Bank as a top priority in his Jobs Plan that was released earlier this year. The bank will facilitate funding for a number of critical transportation projects throughout California and the country—improving the roads, bridges and rails that millions of Americans rely on every day.

Although the system is often dysfunctional and sometimes feels broken with extreme partisanship, Congressman Aguilar is extremely proud to serve, work collaboratively with others and is committed to improve the Inland Empire.

A Q & A period followed.

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.