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Let me start off by wishing everybody in District 13 Gung Hay Fat Choy! I wish all of my constituents in our wonderful Asian communities much prosperity during this Lunar New Year's celebration.
Some of that prosperity has recently rubbed off on me! I want to thank the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal for honoring me as a "2010 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley." It truly is a pleasure to be associated with you.
I continue to watch the health care reform debate in Washington, and have great hope that Congress will come to a compromise and pass a reform bill soon. Recent studies show that if enacted, four million uninsured Californians would directly benefit. As a major supporter of universal health care coverage for all Californians, I am convinced that our work force productivity, quality of life, and peace of mind would vastly improve if families know that quality medical help is available when they become ill.
This is going to be another difficult budget year for the State of California. Financial experts predict we will have a $20 billion deficit each of the next five years, so unfortunately, tough times will continue. As I have done since I was first elected to the legislature in 1996, I will conscientiously consider every budget proposal presented to me, and remember that there are "real" people behind any cuts. However, we should all recognize that if the Governor and other legislators refuse to consider new revenue as part of the solution, then deep cuts to health services, education, and public safety are all on the table.
An important project begins throughout the nation this year: the U.S. Census. The federal government will use the Census to distribute federal money to California schools, hospitals, infrastructure, and police, just to name a few, and determine our congressional representation. We must not remain invisible this year because there is too much at stake.
In this edition, I've also included an interesting study from my friends at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research regarding low-income women and their access to quality health.
I was shocked to learn of the high rate of Hepatitis B in our Asian communities. Any first step to solving a social problem is outreach, so my office has joined with San Francisco Hep B Free and Asian Week to help educate the community about this disease. Finally, as a former math teacher I understand that it is a constant challenge to motivate our children to excel at math and science. That's why I'm delighted to include "Lessonopoly" for you to review. It was created by my friends at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, and uses the Winter Olympics to tap into your child's hunger to learn.
As always, it is my pleasure to represent District 13 in the State Senate. It is a privilege I strive to honor. Thank you.
Senator Elaine Kontominas Alquist
California Senate District 13
Representing The Heart of Silicon Valley