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Reactions to the Newtown school massacre

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“No words can console the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School or describe the pain and shock of such an unspeakable tragedy. No words can comfort the loved ones of those brutally taken from us today. All Americans share our prayers and our grief over these horrifying events.

“We are all stunned, shocked, and distraught by this tragic shooting, by this violent act, and by the loss of so many young children. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the students, teachers, and educators killed and wounded in Newtown, Connecticut. The entire nation will continue to stand as a source of support to this community in the days and weeks to come.”

From Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell:

“Earlier today, another horrific gun tragedy struck our nation as innocent men, women, and children were senselessly shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. My prayers are with the victims, their families and friends, and the communities impacted by today’s terrifying events.

“As an educator for 30 years, I know firsthand the importance of making a school a safe place where children can grow and learn. Having that sense of safety ripped from us, again, is both shocking and jarring. It is difficult to imagine what it feels like to be a parent that has outlived their child or to be part of a family inexplicably left with a gaping hole in their hearts. While exact details still remain unclear, there is no doubt that today is a somber day. A close-knit community, like countless communities all around our country, was violently attacked, and we will continue to feel the shocks of this violence for some time.

“This event, much like the numerous other shootings earlier this year, will undoubtedly lead to difficult discussions about safety, public policy and emergency preparedness. This self-reflection is natural, and it is my hope that we can finally take action to address the root causes of these horrific tragedies together, as a nation.”

From state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco:

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the children and families of Newtown. In a year with so many appalling acts of gun violence, this is the most shocking of such tragedies. While we do not have all the details behind this senseless and unconscionable massacre, it is a sad and horrific reminder of what is possible when guns get into the wrong hands. We must limit access to weapons that can result in such catastrophe and mass murder.”

From U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

“I am horrified and incensed by today’s tragedy in Connecticut. These massacres don’t seem to stop—they continue on and on.

“When senseless mass shootings reach into our kindergartens and elementary schools, one has to question what is happening to America. Gun violence took the lives of more than 8,000 Americans last year, and today claimed the lives of at least 18 children.

“As I have said many times before—and now repeat in the wake of yet another tragedy—weapons of war don’t belong on our streets or in our theaters, shopping malls and, most of all, our schools.

“I hope and trust that in the next session of Congress there will be sustained and thoughtful debate about America’s gun culture and our responsibility to prevent more loss of life.”

“But today we mourn for those who have been killed and the families that have been devastated.”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

“My heart breaks over this senseless tragedy that took so many innocent lives. My prayers go out to their families and to all those who were injured.

“This touches us all so deeply, and it is long past time that we enacted sensible gun laws and school safety legislation.”

From Gov. Jerry Brown:

“We all mourn the heartbreaking loss of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. We pray for their families and loved ones.”

From Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:

“For those calling for the postponement of any discussion of gun and mental health policy in America – you are wrong.

“Just WRONG!

“We postponed after the President and his press secretary, James Brady were shot more than 30 years ago. We postponed after the tragedy in Columbine 13 years ago. We postponed after Virginia Tech five years ago. We postponed after Representative Gabriel Giffords was shot in 2011. We postponed in July when a mentally disturbed James Eagan Holmes opened fire in a crowded movie theatre. And earlier this week, people said it was too soon to talk about gun and mental health policy when a gunman opened fire at a crowded mall in Oregon.

“Today, President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the White House briefing room named for James Brady and now we turn to our political leaders to finally and decisively act.

“Prayers are important. We are a nation that always prays at times of great tragedy. But prayer is not enough as we learn in James 2 14-26, ‘What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works…Faith without works is dead.’

“Today is a clarion call to all leaders, regardless of political party, to act purposefully. Senseless gun violence is not simply about gun control. It must also include meaningful discussion of mental health policy in America. Political parties must be realistic – Democrats can’t draw the line in the sand at banning all guns and Republicans can’t dig in on the status quo.

“The NRA and the gun lobby are not supportive the President and now is the time for him to give them a real reason. The President must call the question. Put the gun lobby on the bench. Call on every member of congress to step out from behind the money and power of the gun lobby and act before we are lulled back into a false sense of security and forget to have the conversation again until the next tragedy. There are families in Connecticut, Oregon, Virginia, California, Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin and every other state that have suffered loss due to gun violence and they do not want a postponement this debate any longer.

“How many more people have to die before we decide the time is right to have this debate and take action? Now is a time for prayer…and leadership.”

Lots more, after the jump…
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Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2012
Under: Barbara Boxer, California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, Dianne Feinstein, George Miller, gun control, Jackie Speier, Jean Quan, Jeff Denham, Leland Yee, Mike Honda, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | 9 Comments »

Which local House members are targets in 2014?

With House elections only a month behind us, eyes are already turning toward the 2014 election’s landscape.

The fine folks at renowned political prognosticator Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” have tagged several Northern California House members as potentially vulnerable in 2014:

For Republicans, they might take fresh shots against Rep.-elects Scott Peters (D), Ami Bera (D) and Raul Ruiz (D), who all defeated Republican incumbents in razor-thin races. They may have some other opportunities across the state, particularly if some unsuccessful but promising 2012 challengers — Ricky Gill (against Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney) and Kim Vann (against Democratic Rep. John Garamendi), among others, decide to mount rematches.

The difficulty for Republican candidates in California, though, is that their statewide party is in rump status, akin to Democrats in Texas — and, unlike demographics in Texas (which might very slowly move in the Democrats’ direction), demographics in California provide little hope to resuscitate the California GOP.

The article also notes the potential for a fight in the 10th Congressional District, where Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto, beat back a challenge this year from former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez, a Democrat from Stockton. “Hernandez is openly considering a repeat run, although he might wait until 2016 — a clear indication that he understands the turnout problems Democrats have in midterm elections.”

Meanwhile, Rep.-elect Eric Swalwell – the Dublin Democrat who unseated 20-term Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, last month – today tells Roll Call exactly what we reported right after Election Day: that it’s never too soon to consider who’ll be coming at you two years hence.

Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Under: Ami Bera, Eric Swalwell, Jeff Denham, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Pete Stark, U.S. House | 1 Comment »

Your state and Bay Area House-race roundup

All in all, it was a dismal night for Republicans in California House races.

Of the 11 California House races deemed competitive by the renowned Cook Political Report, Democrats won seven outright and are on top in two too-close-to-call other races. Another way of slicing and dicing it: All of the three endangered Democratic incumbents in these races won re-election, but only one of the four Republicans might’ve. And of the new or open seats, Democrats won three of the four.

More specifically:

    The battles to unseat Reps. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, and Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, remain too close to call with some mail-in and provisional ballots yet to be counted, but both trail their Democratic challengers by narrow margins.
    Reps. Jerry McNerney; John Garamendi, D-Fairfield; and Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara all turned away their Republican challengers to win re-election. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto, is the only Republican incumbent definitely left standing in these competitive races.

Not than anyone considered it competitive, but Democrat Jared Huffman trounced Republican Dan Roberts to succeed Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-San Rafael, in the North Bay’s newly drawn 2nd Congressional District, which reaches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border.

In the Bay Area, as usual, the only question for most Democratic incumbents (with the exception, of course, of Pete Stark) was by how enormous a margin they would dispatch their challengers. See how that all stacks up as of this hour, after the jump…
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Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, Dan Lungren, George Miller, Jackie Speier, Jeff Denham, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, Pete Stark, Sam Farr, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | 7 Comments »

3rd quarter fundraising reports for House races

Yesterday was the deadline for House candidates to file campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission for the third quarter of 2012, July 1 through Sept. 30. Here’s what’s happening in some of Northern California’s more interesting races:

3rd Congressional District
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, raised $448,758 and spent $518,327 during 2012’s third quarter, and had $162,452 cash on hand as of Sept. 30 with $93,947 in outstanding debts and obligations, leaving $68,505 unencumbered. Republican challenger Kim Vann of Arbuckle raised $410,369 and spent $491,005 in the third quarter, and had $156,862 cash on hand as of Sept. 30 with $52,514 in outstanding debts and obligations, leaving $104,347 unencumbered.

7th Congressional District
Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, raised $507,383 and spent $436,323 during the third quarter, and had $1,229,226 cash on hand as of Sept. 30 with $23,743 in outstanding debts and obligations, leaving $1,205,483 unencumbered. Democratic challenger Ami Bera of Elk Grove raised $731,002 and spent $1,665,117 during the third quarter, and had $402,609 cash on hand as of Sept. 30 with $256,454 in outstanding debts and obligations, leaving $146,155 unencumbered. So while Bera outspent Lungren by almost four-to-one in July through September, Lungren had eight times as much money to spend heading into the campaign’s final weeks.

9th Congressional District
Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, raised $523,483 and spent $558,723 in the third quarter, and had $1,037,825 cash on hand as of Sept. 30 with $5,294 in outstanding debts and obligations. He was outmatched by Republican challenger Ricky Gill of Lodi: Gill raised $722,729 and spent $601,445 in the third quarter, and had $1,145,983 cash on hand as of Sept. 30. But counting Gill’s $153,222 in outstanding debts and obligations, McNerney had a slight edge in unencumbered money to spend going into the contest’s home stretch.

10th Congressional District
Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto, raised $314,288 and spent $813,223 in the third quarter, and had $752,864 cash on hand as of Sept. 30 with $16,358 in outstanding debts and obligations, leaving $736,506 unencumbered. Democratic challenger Jose Hernandez of Stockton raised $490,922 and spent $679,746 in the third quarter, and had $269,644 cash on hand as of Sept. 30 with $24,893 in outstanding debts and obligations, leaving $244,751 unencumbered. So, Denham had a half-million dollar edge going into the campaign’s final weeks.

15th Congressional District
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, raised $266,871 and spent $202,712 in the third quarter, and had $537,749 cash on hand as of Sept. 30 with no outstanding debts and obligations. Democratic challenger Eric Swalwell of Dublin raised $233,537 and spent $151,894 in the third quarter, and had $161,117 cash on hand as of Sept. 30 with no outstanding debts and obligations. That’s a better than three-to-one cash advantage the incumbent had over his Democratic insurgent challenger heading into the campaign’s final weeks.

It’s important to note that these numbers don’t tell the whole story in the 3rd, 7th, 9th and 10th Districts, where partisan committees and various super PACs are spending a great deal of money to buy copious ad time on their candidates’ behalf.

Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, campaign finance, Dan Lungren, Jeff Denham, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Pete Stark, U.S. House | 4 Comments »

Bill Clinton to stump in Davis for House candidates

Former President Bill Clinton will visit the University of California at Davis tomorrow to give a boost to four Democratic House candidates fighting fierce battles here in Northern California.

Bill ClintonClinton, arguably now one of his party’s most beloved figures, will bring his vaunted rhetorical skills to bear on behalf of Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, who faces a challenge from Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann, a Republican, in the 3rd Congressional District; Dr. Ami Bera, the Elk Grove physician who’s challenging Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River in the 7th Congressional District; Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, who faces a challenge from Republican Ricky Gill of Lodi in the 9th Congressional District; and Jose Hernandez, the former NASA astronaut challenging Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto, in the 10th Congressional District.

These races – especially Bera’s second attempt at unseating Lungren – have generated millions of dollars in advertising spending from the campaigns, national organizations, and super PACs. Clinton will headline a rally for the candidates Tuesday morning on UC Davis’ quad.

“Middle class Americans need champions in Congress who will fight for good American jobs, and who will put people before politics,” Clinton said in a statement issued Monday. “I’m proud to endorse four people who will do just that: John Garamendi, Jerry McNerney, Ami Bera, and Jose Hernandez. They’ve got fresh ideas to help restore the economy for middle class families, and they know Congress is a place for service, not personal gain.”

Posted on Monday, October 8th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Dan Lungren, Jeff Denham, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, U.S. House | 9 Comments »

Bay Area politicos speak about Libya slayings

Here’s what some California politicos are saying about the slaying of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

From Gov. Jerry Brown:

“All Californians mourn the loss of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other three Americans killed in Libya on September 11th. As a graduate of Piedmont High School and UC Berkeley, Ambassador Stevens represented the very best that California and the United States have to offer. His dedicated service to our country and our world will never be forgotten.”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

“I am heartbroken by the loss of four Americans in Libya, including United States Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, a Californian who dedicated his life to service and diplomacy.

“These extraordinary public servants were working to help the Libyan people build a better future and will go down in history for their contributions to the cause of peace and freedom.

“Today we must all stand together to honor the service of these exemplary Americans and commit ourselves to bringing the perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice.”

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“Our thoughts and prayers rest with the families and loved ones of Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans killed in this vicious and heinous attack against the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi. We condemn this brazen assault in the strongest possible terms.

“These American diplomats served on the front lines of our efforts to work with the Libyan people toward a future of democracy, freedom, justice, and stability. Their commitment to peace and security stand in stark contrast to those who perpetrated this violent act.

“On my visit to Libya and the region earlier this year, I met with some of the courageous foreign service officers representing our nation in the Middle East, despite enormous risk to their own safety. As we mourn the loss of the Americans in Benghazi, we pay tribute to all of the men and women standing their post abroad on behalf of our values and our partnerships across the globe.”

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi and I extend my thoughts and prayers to the families, friends and loved ones of all the victims of these heinous acts. Among those killed was a son of California and the Bay Area, Ambassador Chris Stevens, who attended Piedmont High School and Cal Berkeley in my congressional district. By any account, his service to our nation was exceptional. Those who knew him well describe him as an “unflappable” diplomat. Certainly, his service, and the service of those lost must be held up as an example of what is best about our nation and the better, stronger future for our country they were working to achieve.”

From Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo:

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic killings of Chris Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya, and three State Department workers in Benghazi, Libya who worked toward the development of democratic institutions in the war-torn country. I strongly condemn the acts of violence by extremists who attacked the consulate.

“Ambassador Stevens, a Northern California native, dedicated his professional life to conflict resolution and aiding countries in transition from conflict to peace.

“He, and the other State Department workers and their families are in my thoughts and prayers at this time.”

From Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa:

“Last night, four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens who grew up in my district, lost their lives in a senseless, coldblooded and violent attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. The families of those we lost are in our thoughts and prayers. And those responsible will be brought to justice.

“Now is not the time for politics or politically provocative language. Now is a time to honor these brave Americans and ensure that all American diplomats serving the United States are safe, and their mission of international peace and partnership is continued.”

From Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield:

“I strongly condemn the murder of Ambassador Stevens and the three other members of the diplomatic mission to Libya. These men and women dedicated themselves to selflessly serving our country and partnering with the Libyan people to build a new democratic government. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these patriots. Their legacy of service will live on.”

From Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto:

“I condemn the violent assault on our consulate in Benghazi and Embassy in Cairo, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other brave Americans who lost their lives. There is never justification for such violence, and the United States remains committed to liberty, democracy and religious tolerance throughout the region and the world.”

Posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Under: Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, Jeff Denham, Jerry Brown, John Garamendi, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | 25 Comments »

Congressional candidate carries Olympic torch

Former astronaut Jose Hernandez, the Democratic candidate in California’s 10th Congressional District, carried the Olympic torch for half a kilometer through Bletchley, England at about 10 a.m. GMT (for us, about 3 a.m. this morning).

Carrying the torch was “an incredible honor,” Hernandez said in a statement issued a short while ago. “Few things better represent what is achievable through hard work, dedication and the will to succeed than the Olympic Games. Standing with our country’s greatest athletes, who come from different cultural, geographic and economic backgrounds to represent Team USA, filled me with an overwhelming sense of pride in our amazing country.”

Hernandez is running against Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock.

Posted on Monday, July 9th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Jeff Denham, U.S. House | No Comments »

Congressman flies GOP flag on energy in Bay Area

One day after President Obama was touting his energy record at Silicon Valley campaign stops – stronger fuel economy standards, increased clean energy production, foreign-oil imports at a 15-year low – a Central Valley congressman was in the Bay Area to say there’s a better approach.

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, is a regional captain of the House Energy Action Team (HEAT), a Republican policy effort that mounted a “2012 American Energy and Jobs Tour” today. The theme is the GOP’s work “to reverse Administration policies that are causing unnecessary pain at the pump, on Valley farms and in grocery stores as well as costing our nation jobs,” his office said.

He toured the Valero refinery in Benicia and had an energy roundtable discussion with refining business representatives and community business leaders; later, he made a brief stop at an Oakland truck stop.

On his web page, Denham says that even as the nation explores “newer, cleaner energy sources, we must continue to utilize the rich resources within our own borders and on the Outer Continental Shelf, such as oil, coal, liquid, natural gas, and oil shale. One of the most promising outlets for new energy sources is nuclear energy, one of the cleanest forms of energy on the planet.”

For his full remarks as prepared for the Benicia event, read after the jump…
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Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Under: energy, Environment, Jeff Denham, U.S. House | 2 Comments »

Bipartisan effort paves way for Tracy solar project

Two Central Valley congressmen from opposite sides of the aisle agreed on something and got it done.

Stop the presses!

Both Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, and Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, issued statements today praising a bill that President Obama signed into law Tuesday to grease the wheels for a solar-energy project in Tracy.

Jerry McNerneyTracy wanted to buy 200 acres of government land on Schulte Road as the site of a solar electricity-generation project, but Congress had conveyed the land to the city with the condition that most of it be used for recreational or educational purposes – a provision that held up the solar project for years. McNerney’s bill waived any remaining restrictions on the land’s use once it’s bought by the city.

“The City of Tracy will now be able to build a solar energy project that will create nearly 200 local jobs,” McNerney said today. “I welcomed this opportunity to reach across the aisle to pass this commonsense bill, especially in the current climate in Washington. I have been fighting for the City of Tracy on this issue from the beginning, and I am proud that we were able to come together to pass this bill.”

Jeff DenhamDenham noted the bill, which he cosponsored, passed unanimously through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and, Emergency Management, which he chairs.

“Investing in this type of job creation project is key to the Valley’s economic recovery. It’s not a Republican issue, it’s not a Democrat issue – it’s an American jobs issue,” Denham said. “Today’s accomplishment is the result of a collaborative effort by a bipartisan group of members who worked hard to see this bill become law. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues in the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle to put people back to work. I’ll keep fighting for jobs in the Valley as the solar project continues to advance.”

In fact, it was actually the Senate version of the bill – introduced by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and cosponsored by Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. – which made it to the president’s desk. Boxer last week said she’s pleased that Tracy officials “will now be able to move forward with their plan to develop land that has been vacant and unused. This is a wonderful economic opportunity that will bring needed jobs to the area.”

Posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
Under: Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Jeff Denham, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Stockton firm helps Jeff Denham pay recall debt

PAQ Inc. — the Stockton company operating Food 4 Less, Rancho San Miguel and other supermarkets throughout the Central Valley — is helping state Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, retire almost half his remaining debt from fighting off last year’s abortive, Don Perata-conceived recall campaign.

Though Denham – now raising funds for his 2010 campaign for lieutenant governor – handily defeated last June’s recall effort with 75 percent of voters in his 12th State Senate District voting “no,” campaign finance reports show the Friends of Jeff Denham Against the Recall committee finished 2008 with $308,110 in the bank and $433,050 in outstanding debts. The only major contribution the anti-recall committee had received in 2009 was $5,000 from the Gun Owners of California Campaign Committee last month – until Tuesday, when PAQ laid down a cool $50,000. The company also had given $15,000 last August.

Posted on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
Under: California State Senate, campaign finance, Jeff Denham | Comments Off on Stockton firm helps Jeff Denham pay recall debt