This April Fool’s Day, workers from around the Central Valley mobilized in front of the district office of Congressman Jeff Denham, calling on him to stop foolishly blocking strides to create badly needed jobs for his constituents.
A new poll from Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shows that 57% of residents in the Central Valley support the proposal to build California high-speed rail, but Rep. Denham has barely held a single public hearing in his district on the proposal–despite holding several hearings with special interest groups opposing the project in Washington, DC and other East Coast cities.
“It takes a real Tea Party ideologue to refuse funds designed to create jobs in the Valley,” said Tim Robertson, organizer for the North Valley Labor Federation. “With unemployment in his district over 13% and a 57% Valley-wide support for High Speed Rail, it makes you wonder who Rep. Denham is really working for.”
California residents argue that Rep. Denham, chairman of U.S. House Subcommittee for rail transportation seems to be so blinded by the lobbying efforts against high-speed rail made by radical special interest groups in Washington, DC that he has forgotten about the needs of the very voters who elected him just two short years ago. Local workers are calling on Rep. Denham to stop his political posturing in Washington, DC and get to work supporting real job creation in the Central Valley.
“We came out today to tell Jeff Denham that the Valley needs good jobs, not political grandstanding,” said Billy Powell, a business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 684. “It's high time that politicians like Denham start listening to working people instead of high-paid DC lobbyists.”
California’s proposal to build high-speed rail infrastructure connecting Northern and Southern California is becoming increasingly popular because of the tens of thousands of good paying jobs it would create, the tourism dollars it would bring to cities on stops along the way and the benefits it would bring to stymying the worsening climate crisis.
Organizers of the event announced that today’s demonstration was just the beginning of their efforts to get Rep. Denham and other elected leaders around the state to do the right thing for workers, the economy and the environment by making high-speed rail a reality for all Californians.