California Congressman Jeff Denham, (R-Ca), voted "No" on the Senate/House agreement to fund the government for the next three months and to raise the debt ceiling until February, 2014, according to Clerk.House.gov, October 16, 2013. Denham, who represents California's 10th Congressional District, was elected to his seat after Former Congressman Dennis Cardoza, (D-Ca), retired from Congress. Before being elected to Congress, Denham was a conservative State Senator from the Modesto/Stockton area. Denham is a farmer by profession and, as such, he should be aware of the high unemployment and poverty that are rampant among farm workers in his primarily agricultural Congressional District.
Unemployment in Modesto, California, the largest city in Stanislaus County in Denham's Congressional district, is 11.2%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, July 2013. Modesto's Hispanic/Latino population was 35% of the total population in the 2010 Census and Stockton's Hispanic/Latino population was 40.3% in the same census. Many of the people among this demographic are farm workers and are seasonal workers, and are very dependent on federally funded programs such as Head Start, Medical, EBT(state and federally funded) and other related programs. The Modesto/Stockton area has a high veteran population that depends on the Veterans' Programs for medical benefits and social services. Increasing numbers of senior citizens in the Central Valley are dependent upon Social Security, Medicare and very meager pensions to sustain them.
Modesto has lost most of its industrial based jobs over the last few years and has few opportunities for gainful employment and career mobility. The Central Valley of California is so impoverished and has such high unemployment that it has been nicknamed "the Appalachia of California."
Yet despite these extremely grim statistics before him, Denham voted to keep the shutdown in place, not raise the debt ceiling and throw the government into default. His vote, as this commentator sees it, is totally irresponsible, arrogant, and patently insensitive to the needs of the working people, the elderly and the disabled in his Congressional district. There is no justification for de-funding the government and causing programs upon which his constituents are dependent for their very existence to be slowed or curtailed altogether, which very well could have happened had the default, for which Denham voted, gone into effect.
The rest of Denham's voting record is not too pretty either: He voted No on a House Amendment 176, which was a bill to provide supplemental nutritional assistance to children. He voted No on House Amendment 14, which called prohibited the National Security Agency (NSA) from collecting records under the Patriot Act. He voted No on House Amendment 466, which called for Mine operators to include the cost of clean up in their insurance policies.
From his voting portfolio, it would appear that Congressman Denham is culturally and socially insensitive, unresponsive to the needs of his constituents, and focused on such stalwart Republicans as Ted Cruz (R-Tx), Pete Sessions (R-Tx) and Tom McClintock, (R-Ca). Perhaps Mr. Denham would be better served to direct his energy toward focusing on the needs of his constituents and finding solutions to the high unemployment, poverty, drug abuse and other intense social problems that characterize his district.
Denham's entire voting record can be viewed on this site.
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