2015 Winter District Update

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 00:00

Dear Friends,

As we begin the 2015 legislative session, education and economic growth are two of my key concerns for this term. California has made progress on many important issues including a stronger business climate and balancing our budget. But there is still much to be done to improve middle-class job growth.

As you may have seen in news reports, I am taking steps to introduce a school facilities bond of $1.8 billion. It will not come as a surprise to you that our public schools are in bad shape lacking proper air conditioning and heat, toilets that work and up-to-date classrooms. Building classrooms and modernizing facilities must be a statewide priority, especially for poorer districts that lack the ability to raise funds on their own.

You may have heard me discuss "concurrent enrollment" - I'm bringing it back this session because it's obvious that high school students can benefit from taking college and tech courses while still in high school.  Concurrent enrollment isn't just for high-performing students. Studies show that underachievers benefit significantly when they are exposed to college courses and college life.  For many, it opens a door to higher education they never anticipated.

I'm also introducing a bill to help consumers who turn to Buy Here, Pay Here auto loans as a last resort. Many of these car buyers have poor credit histories and no other way of purchasing a car.  They often end up paying tremendous interest rates, agreeing to payments they can't make and having their cars repossessed if they are even 48 hours late with their payment.

We'll have more on other legislative proposals in upcoming newsletters.  It is going to be a busy year and my staff and I look forward to serving you.



Chris Holden
41st State Assembly

In this Issue:

Black History Month

Joan Williams at Capitol
From L to R: Assemblymember Holden, Minority Leader Kristen Olsen, Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Joan Williams (Honoree), Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and Senator Isadore Hall  

February is Black History Month and I was pleased to recognize an exceptional Pasadena resident, Joan Williams, during ceremonies at the Capitol. Joan Williams is a former Miss Crown City 1958 whose special day was marred when officials discovered she was African-American and all of a sudden the city "did not have the money" for a Rose Parade float. When news stories brought this to light some 57 years later, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard apologized to Williams and the Tournament of Roses invited her to take that long-delayed ride in the parade this past January 1st.

I am proud that Joan Williams was my guest of honor for the "A Century of Black Life, History and Culture" ceremony at the State Assembly this month.

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Cash for College

Every winter, students and families are invited to learn more about cash for college at FREE financial aid workshops across California.  You will learn how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and get guidance on applying for financial aid.  The deadline for filing the FAFSA is MARCH 2.

The Cal Grant financial aid program guarantees financial aid to every qualified student who applies.  The Middle Class Scholarship, created recently by the Legislature, significantly reduces fees at California State University and University of California.  But you must fill out the FAFSA by March 2 in order to qualify. 

To find a workshop in your area, visit:  http://www.calgrants.org/applications/workshops.cfm?navid=25.

At these workshops, students and parents can talk with advisors about financial aid opportunities and get help filling out the FAFSA. 

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Business Tax Credit

The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to businesses to stay and grow in California.

The credit is available statewide to all industries. It aims to attract and retain businesses across all sectors, and 25 percent of the total credits available each year are specifically reserved for small businesses.

Business may apply for the tax online at: www.business.ca.gov .
The application review process takes approximately 90 days.

The final application period will open from March 9, 2015 - April 6, 2015.

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New Staff Appointments

Kayleen Maya-Aviles, District Director  

Kayleen Maya-Aviles joins the Pasadena office as district director. Maya-Aviles, who started January 26, spent more than two decades working in community-based public affairs, most recently as vice-president for Valencia & Company where she focused on outreach efforts for such diverse clients as KPCC radio, Metrolink, and the cities of Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Azusa. She built her early career as field deputy to Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. She replaces Bobi Johnson who took over as Principal Consultant to  Majority Floor Leader Chris Holden covering regional transportation issues including the 710 Freeway, Metro Gold Line expansion, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and Ontario Airport.

In the Capitol office, Larry Sokol has been hired as special assistant to the Majority Floor Leader. Sokol has more than 20 years of combined and varied legislative experience in both the Assembly and Senate. For the last four years he has served as the primary contact to the Assembly leadership team for both former Democratic Caucus Chair Jerry Hill and former Speaker pro Tempore Nora Campos.  Victor Muñoz has been hired as legislative secretary in the Capitol office. Muñoz is a former Sacramento Semester Program intern at our Capitol office. A recent Political Science graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, he is the first of his family to attend and graduate from college. Aaron Bonner joins the office as an Assembly Fellow following his 2014 graduation from UC Davis. His interest in public policy began at College of the Desert in Palm Desert and after transferring to UC Davis he decided to pursue public policy as a career. Buck Ellingson comes to Team Holden from California State University, Sacramento with the Sac Semester Program.

  Pictured from left to right: Victor Munoz, Larry Sokol, Buck Ellingson and Aaron Bonner.

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Chris in the Capitol and the Community:

Gov. Brown congratulates me as the new Majority Leader.  

Meeting with Gov. Brown at Inauguration Reception 

History in the making as former Assemblywoman and LA County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke (center) joins her daughter Autumn Burke (far right), the California Legislative Black Caucus and me.

It's always a pleasure to meet with representatives from Pasadena City College to discuss education issues.  Welcome PCC acting President Dr. Robert Miller and Trustee Ross Selvidge.

I had the honor of meeting with Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles during a meeting at the Capitol.

I was pleased to give the keynote address at the Martin Luther King Day breakfast attended by more than 600 people in San Bernardino.  On hand was Assemblymember Cheryl Brown and members of SEIU. 

It was great to meet with representatives of some of California's and America's most successful and innovative companies yesterday at the Capitol office.

From L to R:
Annabel Chang, Lyft; Michael Culver, e-lance/O-Desk; Prashanthi Raman, Lyft;  
Jim Hawley, Dewey Square Group; Adama Iwu, Visa; me; Andrea Deveau, TechNet; Jason Lungaard, Apple; Jennifer Johnson, Apple; Leah Harrelson-Graham, Yahoo

 Congratulations to Altadena's Citizen of the Year, Monica Hubbard. 

  Congratulations to Altadena's Business of the Year, El Patron Restaurant, Alex Cortes.

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