VAWA and NAFTA discussed at Mccarthy mobile office meeting
A group of nearly twenty locals gathered Friday morning in a conference room on the top floor of the Porterville Centennial Plaza to meet with Cole Karr, a field representative for Congressman Kevin Mccarthy, at this year’s final mobile office meeting.
The Mccarthy mobile office meetings are held the first Friday of every month, and offer the public a chance to voice their concerns about governmental policies and procedures. This month’s meeting addressed a wide range of topics.
To begin the meeting, Karr updated the group on things that have been happening in the Mccarthy office over the past month.
Karr began by introducing Chloe Graham, a recent Berkeley graduate who found a position as a staff assistant in the Congressman’s Bakersfield office working on non-profit outreach. Following Graham’s introduction, Karr briefed the group on what has been happening with Mccarthy.
After the recent election, the House majority will be shifting, and Mccarthy has been elected as the minority leader for the House. Mccarthy’s goal for the next two years as the minority leader is to reunite the country for more togetherness.
Karr announced that the House is working on including an extension for the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act in the appropriations bill for the fiscal year of 2019. Mccarthy is working on a seven year extension that could potentially double the authorizations for water storage projects and desalinization (removing salt) of water.
After his updates were given, Karr opened the floor for public comments and concerns.
First to speak was Annabelle Goebel, who asked Karr if he knew anything about the progress of the task force for ballot fraud.
“The President has that task force,” said Karr. “I am not sure of anything that is moving forward just yet on that.”
Mickie Manning, a member of the Zonta Club of Porterville, asked about the status of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Several members of Zonta were in attendance at the meeting, stressing the importance of VAWA.
“We want Kevin Mccarthy to know how important it is, not just to our community, but to the central valley, as far as recertifying the act,” said Manning.
Karr responded to Manning by saying that the act looks like it is going to lapse, as it has not moved forward in to the House from the committee phase. This means that the act was not included in extension for the appropriations bill, and that VAWA had expired. Karr stated that Mccarthy has supported the act in the past and his position on VAWA has not changed. He also informed the group that Mccarthy will be pushing the act to pass out of the committee phase before the end of the year.
Toni Dumont, the executive director for the Family Crisis Center and member of the Zonta Club of Porterville, said the services offered at the shelters and the crisis center would be nonexistent without the funding VAWA provides. Dumont also shared that the homelessness rate in the area has gone up, and a significant amount of the increase in the homeless population is women fleeing from domestic violence.
Other members of the group supported the reauthorization of VAWA, and stated the funds are used responsibly. Karr stated that he would pass this information on to the Congressman.
As the discussion about VAWA came to a close, Melody Gillespie expressed her concerns about the installation of a 5G internet network in Porterville. Gillespie said that an experiment in the Netherlands caused hundreds of birds to drop dead after the 5G internet had been switched on. Gillespie stated that exposing people to the high powered internet service could potentially have devastating health impacts, as long-term exposure to the already implemented 4G internet has been proven to cause cancer.
Gillespie wasn’t solely concerned with 5G internet however, and relayed to Karr that she also was very worried about the new NAFTA agreement.
“In the middle of the treaty, there is a part that gives Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook and other big tech organizations immunity for the racketeering and giving away of technology that Americans pay for to China,” said Gillespie.
Karr responded to Gillespie by telling her that the NAFTA agreement has already been signed by the executive authorities without any changes being made to the treaty, and the agreement was already in use.
As the meeting wrapped up, Karr announced that the tentative date for the next mobile office meeting is Jan. 4 at 10 a.m. in the conference room on the second floor of the Porterville Centennial Plaza. These meetings are open to the public, and locals are encouraged to attend.