Dr. Chu is the only candidate who knows the issues and needs of the San Gabriel Valley, a seasoned Legislator with the fiscal experience to help put our country's economy back on track and bring badly needed jobs to the 27th Congressional District.
Click on each topic below for more infromation about Judy's platform.
Since being elected to Congress in the midst of one of the worst economic crises in our nation's history, Judy Chu has maintained a laser-like focus on creating jobs, stimulating economic development and assisting small businesses to not only survive, but to thrive as we emerge from the Great Recession.
Rep. Chu has done this utilizing a three-pronged approach: first, by supporting and authoring legislation to create jobs and stimulate the economy; second, by using her position on the Small Business Committee to hold hearings on everything from improving access to capital to mentoring for minority businesses in the federal contracting process; and third, by bring the resources of the federal government to her district, to assist her constituents in finding jobs and growing their businesses.
On the legislative front, Rep. Chu got to work immediately to help get Americans back on their feet, authoring an extension of the successful Jobs NOW program, which used federal funds to subsidize up to 80 percent of salaries for a variety of professions including park rangers, teaching assistants, child care workers and receptionists. The Jobs NOW program created or saved up to 11,000 jobs in Los Angeles County alone, and served as a model for the rest of the nation.
The Congresswoman is also a strong supporter of President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which would invest $50 billion into rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure of roads and bridges and our public schools, helping maintain our nation’s competitiveness in the 21st Century global economy while at the same time creating or saving hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Small businesses are the key to America’s economic recovery, creating two out of every three new jobs. That is why as a ranking member of the Small Business Committee’s Contracting and Workforce Subcommittee, Rep. Chu has participated or called for hearings into everything from helping ease restrictions on small business access to capital, to making it easier for women-owned or minority businesses to earn federal contracts. She has also brought congressional hearings right here to our own district, convening a field hearing in Pasadena last year to examine how the Small Business Administration can better assist our area’s diverse and expanding minority and immigrant-owned business community.
The Congresswoman has also taken the lead in bringing a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) back to the San Gabriel Valley. These centers, funded in part by the SBA, provide invaluable assistance to small businesses free of charge, including assistance with developing a business plan, marketing and raising capital. The San Gabriel Valley has been without an SBDC for more than two years, but thanks to Rep. Chu’s efforts, we may see up to three satellite SBDC offices throughout the Valley by the end of 2012.
Rep. Chu’s efforts to bring an SBDC exemplify her commitment to bringing tangible, real-time results to her constituents, in addition to working on legislation in Washington. She has held numerous workshops and events in her district designed to help residents find jobs and grow their businesses. These include SBA 101 Workshops, which bring together the expertise of the SBA and local banks to help entrepreneurs apply for federally backed loans and raise capital; exporting seminars, featuring presentations from the Department of Commerce and various state and federal agencies to help business owners navigate the customs process and expand their enterprise overseas; and two successful Jobs Boot Camp events, which drew hundreds of job seekers and which gave them the opportunity to shop their resume to prospective employers, while at the same time receiving one-on-one counseling on resume writing and interviewing, job retraining, job searching using technology and much more.
Judy Chu is proud to have cast her vote in favor of the historic Affordable Care Act, the most sweeping reform to our nation’s health care system since the passage of Medicare in the 1960s.
The Congresswoman believes strongly that every American deserves access to affordable, quality health care. That is why she voted for health care reform. And now, because of this revolutionary law, Americans will have access to free preventive care services. Insurance companies will have to justify to the public why they are raising their rates. And no American will ever be denied coverage by their insurance company due to pre-existing conditions, a terribly unjust policy that could have affected up to 1.1 million children in California alone.
But Congresswoman Chu’s efforts to improve our nation’s health care system do not end with health care reform. She has also fought against proposed cuts to research through the National Institutes of Health and the Centers of Disease Control. These are some of the most important uses of federal dollars, funding research into terrible diseases like hepatitis, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Without this funding, not only will we continue to see countless individuals suffer and die from these ailments, but California alone stands to lose billions of dollars in NIH grants, which support more than 60,000 jobs in our state.
Having taught for twenty years in the Los Angeles Community College system before coming to Congress, Judy Chu knows firsthand about the challenge every schoolteacher faces while balancing quality education with shrinking budgets. Her experiences have guided her efforts in Congress, where she has sought solutions to provide a better learning environment for every child.
That begins with first-rate educators. Study after study shows teachers are one of the most important factors affecting student achievement. Yet right now, our system allows children to be taught by teachers who aren’t even credentialed. Rep. Chu knows our children deserve better, which is why she introduced the Equal Access to Quality Education Act, legislation that builds a high-quality teacher pipeline for schools, so our classrooms are staffed by only the most qualified and effective teachers. By putting the best teachers in our schools, we build a brighter future for our children.
Studies also show that social and economic disadvantages facing students at school make it harder to improve teaching and learning. If we don't address the obstacles outside school walls, like language proficiency, hunger, local crime and homelessness, we'll never turnaround what goes on within them. There are schools providing community-based solution for students with wraparound services like tutoring, extending learning services, health care and social supports. To help those community efforts, Rep. Chu introduced the DIPLOMA Act, which dedicates more funding for schools to build partnerships with community organizations that help students succeed inside the classroom. It is a win-win solution for our children, our schools and our community.
While we take steps to improve early and secondary education, we must also ensure a path to higher education so that every student, regardless of background, can afford a degree and keep America competitive in the global economy. That’s why Rep. Chu is leading the charge to preserve full funding for Pell Grants for California’s students. Pell Grants make college possible for over nine million Americans. Financial aid through Pell Grants allow for economic mobility and opportunity for students all across this country, but some on Capitol Hill want to cut this investment in America’s future to save a quick buck. Rep. Chu knows it would be pennywise and pound foolish to cut this program out from under our children.
The San Gabriel Valley has six major freeways cutting through its geographical boundaries. And because of the area's tremendous population growth, most of those freeways have reached their capacity and are jammed with commuters during peak hours. In desperation, more and more drivers are jumping off the freeways every day and taking major east-west thoroughfares like Valley Boulevard, which are starting to resemble parking lots during rush hour.
That is why as a member of Congress, Judy Chu has fought hard to expand mass transit and give San Gabriel Valley commuters safe, efficient and green transportation alternatives. Along with other members of the Los Angeles Congressional Delegation, Rep. Chu worked with L.A. County Metro to ensure timely disbursement of Measure R funds for the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority. As a result, construction has started on the second phase of the Gold Line, from Pasadena to the Azusa-Glendora border. Construction on the iconic freeway bridge across the 210 Freeway is already underway, and by 2015, light rail will serve the Eastern San Gabriel Valley for the first time since the Pacific Electric Red Cars.
But this is only the first step. The Congresswoman also supports the 30/10 plan, which will use future Measure R tax revenues to accelerate light rail construction throughout the county, originally planned over 30 years, to be built in just 10 years. This would allow the extension of the Gold Line Foothill Extension beyond Azusa to Glendora, Claremont, and eventually the Ontario Airport, in a third of the time originally envisioned.
The Congresswoman will also make it a priority to see the Gold Line East Side Extension’s second phase follow the proposed 60 Freeway alignment through Monterey Park, Rosemead and eventually to the City of Industry; will continue to fight for funding to complete the Alameda Corridor East rail upgrades, which will move freight more efficiently through the Valley while upgrading street-level crossings to make them safer and more efficient for road traffic; and will work to secure adequate funding for maintenance and upgrade of our local freeways through federal transportation legislation.
Congresswoman Chu continues to fight to protect our environment by supporting clean-up efforts of our local air and water resources. She is standing up against attempts by the majority in Congress to undo the Clean Air and Water Acts, and is a big proponent of clean and renewable energy, which not only helps us become more energy independent, but also creates new jobs. Rep. Chu is proud of her 100% Lifetime Score by the League of Conservation Voters.
Preserving our local water resources
The San Gabriel Valley is home to several Superfund sites due to contamination of groundwater from rocket fuel, a legacy from the days when the Valley was a major aerospace industrial center. As a result, 136 water wells in the area had to be shut down, severely impacting the use of the San Gabriel Basin's aquifer, the source of about 90 percent of area residents' drinking water and a natural emergency reservoir for the water-starved Southland.
Congresswoman Chu introduced a bill to strengthen the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund by renewing federal interest in the clean-up efforts, and giving local water agencies more time and flexibility to continue removing contamination. To date, 39 tons of contaminants have been removed from the Basin, making our water cleaner and safer, while also creating 2,700 high-skilled and high-paying jobs.
Protecting the San Gabriel Mountains & the San Gabriel River Watershed
The San Gabriel Mountains provide over 70% of L.A. County’s outdoor recreation and are visited by 3 million residents a year.
However, this precious resource is in need of support and assistance, and is lacking safe and proper facilities, clean up efforts, and educational programs. San Gabriel Valley residents and environmental groups have pushed for additional conservation, resources and park facilities in the Mountains and throughout the San Gabriel River Watershed to protect the few natural resources we have left and expand recreational opportunities throughout the region.
Congresswoman Chu will be introducing legislation to urge the National Park Service to help renovate and preserve the area by establishing the San Gabriel Rivers and Mountains National Recreation Area. To revitalize the San Gabriel Watershed, Rep. Chu introduced legislation to study how we can improve the river and expand its use by focusing on ecosystem restoration, outdoor recreation enhancements, and ways to conserve rainwater and keep our water clean.
Green Technology and Clean Energy
Finally, Rep. Chu continues to support initiatives that will free our nation from its dependence on foreign oil. These efforts include supporting the creation of green tech jobs that will help battle global warming and provide American men and women with secure, well paying jobs.
Rep. Chu voted to promote U.S. investment, innovation and competitiveness in clean energy with tax breaks for California companies creating the green tech jobs of the future. These “green collar jobs” will focus on renewable energy production, solar power panels, and retrofitting of our nation’s infrastructure in order to decrease the environmental damage to our communities.
She also supports the Obama Administration’s proposal to double auto fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
Congresswoman Judy Chu believes that, just as the military pledges to never leave a soldier behind on the battlefield, we should never leave our veterans behind when they return home after serving our country.
That is why Rep. Chu has voted in favor of the largest increase in healthcare for veterans in the history of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She has also worked to expedite claims processing for veterans, after hearing from her veteran constituents that sometimes getting reimbursements for the medical care they deserve is typically denied on a first attempt, and an appeal can take more than a year. So she co-sponsored the RAPID Claims Act, to speed up this process and make the VA give veterans the information they need to efficiently file their claims. And she also asked for a study examining the reasons for the delays in the VA's Los Angeles Regional Office, to look for ways to eliminate the backlog at one of the largest VA centers in the country.
Judy Chu's approach to veterans affairs shows her commitment to working for her constituents both at the national level, in Washington, and right here in our own communities. Her efforts to assist local veterans go well beyond examining the claims backlog at the Los Angeles VA office. She also co-sponsored the first ever Veterans Stand Down in the San Gabriel Valley, helping bring unemployment assistance, food, clothing, counseling services, and other resources to one of the largest homeless veterans populations in the Southland. The Stand Down was so successful, serving hundreds of local homeless and needy veterans, that plans are already in the works for a second event this year. These local efforts, combined with her votes in favor of the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvement Act to provide schooling and vocational job training through the GI Bill for our thousands of troops returning from the Middle East, are proof that Congresswoman Chu is committed to repaying the sacrifices that our Service Men and Women have made for our country's safety and security.
Protecting our men and women in uniform means not only ensuring that they are not forgotten once they return home from duty, but that they are also taken care of while they are performing their active duty overseas. That is why Judy Chu is also a leading voice in Congress against military hazing.
On April 3, 2011, Rep. Chu's nephew, Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, was hazed by his fellow Marines while stationed in Afghanistan. After three hours and 20 minutes of torture that included physical exercise in full armor, kicking and punching, digging a fox hole and having the entire contents of a sandbag poured onto his face, Harry had been demeaned to the point of suicide. He took his own life little more than 20 minutes after the torture stopped.
Congresswoman Chu soon learned that her family’s loss was not an isolated incident. In Harry’s unit alone, there were 6 cases of hazing in the year before his death, and over the past two years, a number of hazing incidents throughout the armed services resulted in suicide, including the cases of Danny Chen in Afghanistan and Hamson McPherson, Jr. in Okinawa.
Congresswoman Judy Chu immediately called for Congressional hearings on hazing in the military. On March 22, 2012, because of her dedication to the issue, the House Armed Services held the first hearing on military abuse since 1979. She is also pushing for legislation to make hazing a crime under the United States Code of Military Justice. Already 44 states have anti-hazing laws and 31 states define hazing as a crime in their criminal codes. She believes it is time for the military to follow suit to better protect their service members from hazing and abuse.
Rep. Chu understands the need for strong military traditions and allowing officers to maintain discipline in their ranks. But she believes that just as in civilian life, there must be safeguards in place to protect individuals in cases where disciplinary measures cross the line into outright abuse and assault.
As a member of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security with jurisdiction over the criminal code and law enforcement, Judy Chu works tirelessly to keep our streets and our children safe.
Dr. Chu believes that one of the best ways to do that is to support the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in our communities: local police and firefighters. These days, budgets for local public safety personnel are tight, as the state, counties and cities slash their budgets to make ends meet. But we can’t risk our safety. That’s why Judy has consistently fought for robust federal funding, especially during these tough times, to give local police the equipment and tools they need to do their job best and to hire more local cops and firefighters to police our streets and protect our homes and businesses.
Judy Chu supports laws that keep guns from falling into the wrong hands. But nearly a decade after 9/11, the federal government can stop suspects on terror watch lists from getting on airplanes, but it can't stop them from buying firearms. Rep. Chu supported legislation to block firearm sales to terror suspects, adding them to the list which already prohibits convicted felons and persons with serious mental health problems from owning a gun. And Dr. Chu also supports background checks for every firearm sale. Californians should feel safe knowing that dangerous people such as convicted felons and domestic abusers are being seriously screened when they try to purchase a firearm.
Rep. Judy Chu successfully passed legislation to go after the drug cartels where it hurts the most: their bank accounts. The violence spread by the drug cartels is no longer confined to Mexico alone – even our community in the San Gabriel Valley has been affected. Tragically, two years ago, Bobby Salcedo, a rising star and Vice Principal and School Board Member, was senselessly murdered by the cartels. The violence breeds pain and fear no family should endure. Dr. Chu’s new law allows federal law enforcement to seize the money and property of organized crime leaders here in the United States while they are on trial abroad. Because of this law, the Department of Justice has taken over $50 million dollars of dirty money away from organized crime.