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Securing our Communities


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Securing our Communities
Last month, all Members of Congress took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people. Over the past two weeks, House Democrats have come together to fulfill that duty, holding hearings and briefings to listen to powerful, poignant testimony from Americans who have dealt firsthand with gun violence -- and seeking ways to prevent it in the future. On Wednesday, I was pleased to join Congressman Mike Thompson, Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and other leading public officials in the Bay Area at a forum on the topic of gun violence prevention.

With the memory of Newtown still fresh in our minds, we know that the time for action is now; that we must do everything in our power to stop such terrifying violence in the future. President Obama has put his own proposalson the table and outlined 23 executive actions his administration is taking to prevent gun violence. With Democrats leading the way, Congress must put forth a clear, concrete, and comprehensive plan to end the violence. This challenge will not be met easily, but it can -- and must -- be met soon.

Moving Towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform
This week, President Obama called for firm and swift action on immigration reform -- and Congress must answer this clarion call with a bill that is comprehensive, that reflects our history as a nation of immigrants, and that puts the American Dream in reach for anyone who comes to our shores. The President's principles build upon the commitment of House Democrats to reform that secures our borders, upholds our laws, protects our workers, unites families, and provides a pathway to citizenship. His proposal seeks to keep LGBT couples together and ensures we attract the best and the brightest in science, technology, engineering, and math to our country. The plan expands on the work of House Democrats to pass the DREAM Act, offering the promise of earned citizenship for students and service members. An historic opportunity awaits this generation of American leaders. Now, we simply need the will and the courage to act. Let's work together to honor our values, respect our nation's immigrants, and pass legislation that makes America more American.

Caring for our Veterans
In every generation, it has remained our responsibility to provide services, assistance, and aid to our veterans; to offer them every opportunity for success as they re-enter civilian life. On Wednesday, I was proud to deliver remarks at a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of Veterans Commons, a new home for homeless veterans in need of support. A joint venture between Swords to Plowshares and the Chinatown Community Development Center, Veterans Commons will provide permanent housing for 75 chronically homeless veterans with disabilities as well as counseling services, nursing and medical services, and job training. In 2009, I was pleased to secure $380,000 in federal funding for the project which is part of a national effort, led by President Obama and his team, to take a broad, comprehensive approach to meet the objective of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.

In San Francisco, we have a history of supporting our veterans. From DeMontfort House to the Veterans Academy at the Presidio, we have witnessed the transformational impact of smart, clear, comprehensive services on the lives of local veterans. Veterans Commons will stand as another success story in our community.

Good Luck, Niners!
This week is "Red and Gold" week in honor of the San Francisco 49ers' appearance in the 47th Super Bowl. I look forward to watching our home team take on the Baltimore Ravens and bring back a win for San Francisco. After we take home the trophy, I am hopeful that our beautiful, vibrant city will be selected to host the legendary Super Bowl in the coming years. Go Niners!

Please feel free to forward this information to your family and friends. To learn more about these efforts, to express your views, or to sign up for email updates, please visit my website. I am also on Twitter at

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