Nothing demonstrates the spectrum of my work and involvement back home in the Third District like the inspirational events and visits during my final week before returning to Congress.
Early in the week we visited the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UC Davis Medical Center. It is one of 41 across the country designated by the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Ralph deVere White, director of the center, is leading an expert and experienced collaborative team of doctors, nurses, and support staff to, as he puts it, "beat cancer."
The broad range of clinical specialties and multiple research tracks mean business when it comes to achieving that goal and you sense it as you tour the facility and understand the passion the staff has for its patients.
Later on in the week my staff and I saw another expression of passion during a visit to Folsom Dam where 24-7 efforts keep the Sacramento Region safe from disastrous flooding episodes and secure from natural or terroristic events so that its mission can be accomplished.
The behind-the-scenes critical work at Folsom Dam is under the radar of most of the millions of people who benefit from the coordinated and constant vigilance and procedural upgrades that we have adopted in the years following 9-11. Though we think of Folsom Dam as one concrete structure, it is actually a network of several dams and dikes that protect us.
From the unpopular but necessary closing of Folsom Dam Road, to the construction of Folsom Lake Crossing and now the Joint Federal Project spillway improvements, we are moving the dam network from a highly vulnerable state to one that is rapidly becoming a model for the rest of the country.
Working with the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and security teams from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Folsom Dam today is on a guide path of improvement -- but there is still plenty to be done.
When I returned to Congress in 2005, motivated to help our 9-11 recovery and re-examination of security practices, my staff got right to work with our federal partners on these dam upgrades. Though at completion in a few years the improvements will double our flood protection to a 200-year level, that is still less protection than New Orleans had prior to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina event.
We will continue our due diligence and vigilance and seize every opportunity to make improvements. You have my track record and promise that will happen.
Sunday at the California Capital Airshow I got to see Freedom in the form of flight during the 7th Annual demonstration of America's singular and unique contribution to aviation ingenuity. If any aircraft flies anywhere in the world it is because Americans flew first and still fly best.
The Airshow, which had record attendance this year, demonstrates our ability as a nation to set the pace in aviation and engineering. It reminds us that -- not only did we build it -- we can do it again.
Leaving the District to return to Congress I am inspired to represent you and remove any barriers in the way of your work in medical cancer research, flood control and aviation and aerospace. We cannot wait for others, America must lead the way.
Daniel E. Lungren
Member of Congress