Touring the North Coast with Biden Cabinet Official, Advocating for Wildfire Resources, and More: A Message from Rep. Huffman

September 07, 2021


August was a busy month for Congress, from connecting with countless community members during the district work period to returning to D.C. for crucial votes. First, I’d like to acknowledge that it has been tragic to watch the situation in Afghanistan unfold over the last couple of weeks. The way this devolved is not what any of us would have wanted and has been incredibly hard to witness, but I believe it was ultimately the right decision to end this decades-long war. And we should all commend the heroic work of our military and those who carried out this unbelievably dangerous and consequential humanitarian mission. My staff and I are monitoring the situation closely and doing all we can to help Americans and those trying to leave Afghanistan.

At the end of the month, I was honored to finally cast my vote for the historic John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, named after my late friend, colleague, and civil rights hero. Egregious attacks on voting rights are happening all across the country, and we cannot stand idly by and watch democracy crumble. This bill would restore and protect the fundamental right to vote so all citizens can participate in our democracy, and the Senate must act quickly to pass it and send it to President Biden to be signed into law. 

Historic wildfires, droughts, floods, and heat waves—we are experiencing and seeing the full-scale effects of climate change and must not fail to act. The House of Representatives took a vote to move forward the Build Back Better Act, a budget resolution that I believe is one of our last, best chances to meet the moral, economic, environmental, and existential imperative of the climate crisis. Considering the many shortfalls of the Senate’s infrastructure deal, I believe the Build Back Better Act is the only avenue we have in the 117th Congress for making the transformative investments this moment demands and seriously tackling the climate crisis while creating jobs, increasing access to education, helping hard-working families, and building the middle class.  

I will continue to advocate for climate and clean energy in this package as negotiations continue so we can cut carbon emissions, transition away from fossil fuels, and ensure there’s a hospitable planet for future generations. 

Additionally, I was pleased to hear that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine received full approval from the Federal Drug Administration. This is important news that shows what we’ve known all along: We can trust science and have full confidence in the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine. If you have not yet been vaccinated, I strongly urge you to do so as soon as possible. The Delta variant is highly contagious, and it’s going to take all of us to crush the virus. 

Below you’ll find a few more important updates from the past month. 

Advocating for Wildfire Resources 
The fires spreading through Northern California are devastating. In August, I toured some of the areas damaged by the Monument and MacFarland fires and received an on the ground briefing. I’m grateful to the firefighters who put their lives on the line for the safety of our communities, as well as to the officials who have been smart and aggressive in their action plans. I’m confident they will continue to make the best decisions possible regarding their approach to tackling these fires. 

The climate crisis is fueling a longer, more dangerous wildfire season as western states continue to experience severe drought. In addition to my FUTURE Drought Act to build a more secure water future for everyone, I joined my colleague, Rep. Joe Neguse from Colorado, in urging the federal government to make a drought disaster declaration so we can get robust federal resources to make the West more resilient to drought. The report issued by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this month underscores that the time to act aggressively is now. Thankfully, the Biden administration understands the urgency of the situation, and I will continue working alongside them to take climate action and get our communities the resources they need. 

I know that help is needed now, and so my office has released our 2021 Wildfire Resource Guide to help those affected by the recent wildfires access recovery resources. This guide provides advice on preparing for evacuation, where to find local resources, how to replace lost or destroyed federal documents, and more. 

Touring the North Coast with Secretary Deb Haaland 

Last month, I was honored to welcome Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland to the North Coast to discuss a wide range of issues impacting our district. During the Secretary’s two-day visit, we met with many local, state, federal, and Tribal leaders, and we were also joined by Brenda Mallory, the White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair and one of the top environmental officials in the U.S. We covered everything from infrastructure, the climate crisis, and clean energy opportunities to the importance of partnering with Tribes and local stakeholders on environmental and economic issues. 

We toured the Port of Humboldt Bay to share opportunities for offshore wind development underway and that the Biden administration is working on. It was great to hear more about the administration’s plans for advancing offshore wind projects to not only replace our energy dependence on fossil fuels, but also to create well-paying jobs and boost the local economy. I’m pleased that they are committed to working towards a clean energy future and are stepping up to tackle the climate crisis. 

We also held a roundtable with Tribal leaders from our district to discuss a number of pressing issues impacting Indigenous communities, such as the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, North Coast rivers and salmon, health care, and wildfires. Additionally, we visited Redwood National and State Parks to learn more about Redwoods Rising, a local partnership between state and federal governments as well as local community leaders. This collaborative project aims to conserve old-growth forests, protect damaged waterways crucial for salmon, and restore over-logged lands, all while improving climate resilience. I enjoyed engaging with Secretary Haaland on these issues, and I look forward to our continued partnership in creating solutions to address our district’s pressing challenges.  

Engaging with Local Health Providers 

They’ve stepped up to the plate and have been true leaders in helping community members navigate the COVID-19 crisis. I also toured the MarinHealth Medical Center with CEO Dr. David Klein to view the new facilities and equipment in operation. The staff at MarinHealth are delivering top notch quality health care in this state-of-the-art hospital. It’s great to see our health care providers working diligently to ensure folks in our community receive stellar service.The pandemic has been a stark reminder of the crucial work our health care workers do for our communities. I toured San Rafael’s Ritter Center, a Federally Qualified Health Clinic, and got to witness their good work in action. They offer wrap-around services for whole person care and have had wonderful success with their Housing First Program.

The Congressional App Challenge 
My office is participating in this year’s Congressional App Challenge, which is open to all middle and high school students, and I hope to see a great turnout this year. November 1, 2021 is the deadline for students to sign up for the competition and submit their apps. Throughout the fall, there will be a number of webinars for students, parents, and teachers to learn more about the App Challenge as well as receive tips for creating stand-out apps. You can sign up for a webinar here, and you still have time to register for the App Challenge on their official website.  

Serving You  
As always, my staff is hard at work serving you. Whether it’s assistance working with a federal agency or providing information about legislation and policy – we're here to help.

There is no problem too big or small. Your needs matter, and I’d like to share one of our recent success stories:

"I was frustrated working with OPM because they were unreasonably delaying my retirement. Congressman Jared Huffman's office helped me get the benefit I was due." 
– Carol Levin, San Rafael 

This is just one example of how my office can help you. As I continue my work for the people of California’s Second District, please don’t hesitate to contact my office for assistance if you are in need.  

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Thank you, and stay well,  
Jared Huffman  
Member of Congress