Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) today met with a delegation from Inland Action, a group comprised of local elected officials, business leaders and other prominent area residents, who visit Washington annually in support of federal funding and legislation to help Inland communities.
Rep. Baca said, "I look forward to meeting with Inland Action because this is a knowledgeable group of concerned citizens who share my commitment to the Inland Empire. It is important for me to listen to them, to hear them identify the priorities they have and to discuss how we can continue to work together on vital issues including education, housing, job development, public safety, transportation and water."
Participants in the meeting praised Rep. Baca for introducing anti-crime legislation, especially Mynisha's Law and the Stamp Out Gang Violence Act, and noted that these initiatives would make a difference in Inland communities affected by gangs and violent crime. Rep. Baca expressed agreement with an approach that includes prevention and intervention similar to Operation Phoenix, the plan implemented by San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, who attended the meeting and led much of Inland Action's presentation. Other attendees also expressed appreciation for Rep. Baca's previous support for public safety and cited his success securing federal funding for key programs and equipment used for law enforcement.
Rep. Baca explained the legislative and appropriations process particularly after recent reforms implemented in the new Congress and described the outlook for some of the items on Inland Action's agenda. He expressed confidence that he and Senator Boxer would be able to move Mynisha's Law through Congress, noting that the next step is to try to get a hearing on it within the House Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Baca also made a plea for collaboration among members of the Inland congressional delegation and California congressional delegation on a bipartisan basis. "We have to be able to come together and help one another to enact legislation and gain funding for California. Let's put the common interests of the people we represent first and foremost so our state can get its fair share of federal tax dollars," he said. Rep. Baca mentioned his frequent collaboration with Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands) on appropriations requests and his recent support for an Inland water project introduced by Rep. David Dreier (R-Glendora) as examples.