Press Releases

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September 23, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Sam Farr (D-Calif.) announced that he will be traveling with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Cartagena, Colombia for the signing of the peace accord between the Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
“This is an incredible, historic moment for peace,” said Congressman Farr. “The transition after decades of violence won’t be easy, but Colombians are ready for a new era of peace and prosperity. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Medellin from 1964 to 1966, I’ve maintained a deep connection to Colombia and I’m thrilled to join Secretary Kerry and President Juan Manuel Santos for this momentous occasion.”
Following the signing of the peace deal, Colombian voters will need to approve it in a referendum to be held on October 2, 2016. If endorsed, the Colombian government and FARC will move forward with the transition process. 

September 15, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA) and Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced the bipartisan Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act (H.R. 6037) to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of current and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.
“Since its establishment in 1961, Peace Corps has served as a vehicle for peace, hope and compassion,” said Rep. Farr. “I’m deeply humbled to have Judge Poe, a strong advocate for Peace Corps Volunteers in his own right, name this bill after me and I’m honored to cosponsor it. Expanding, promoting and improving Peace Corps has been a passion of mine since serving in Colombia from 1964-1966 and I look forward to using my remaining few months in Congress to continue this important mission.” 
“Congress took a historic step in passing the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act in 2011, but there is more work to be done to protect our angels abroad,” said Congressman Poe. “These young ambassadors from the United States must know that when they go to countries far away, their government has their back. This bill will go even further to both keep volunteers healthy and ensure that those who have experienced sexual assault have the assistance and protection they need. These safeguards are necessary not only to protect current volunteers, but also to ensure more young Americans join the Peace Corps in the future.”
More specifically, the bill:
  • improves health care standards for current Peace Corps Volunteers;
  • enhances access to health care for returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) by extending the time period they’re eligible to receive treatment for service-related conditions; 
  • expands and improves provisions of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act to enhance Peace Corps ability to assist and protect volunteers that have experienced sexual assaults; 
  • increases disability payments for RPCVs that are disabled and unable to work due to service-related conditions; and
  • provides further reforms to improve oversight, management and efficiency of Peace Corps.
The bill’s text is available here

September 8, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Sam Farr (D-Calif.) announced that Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) received two federal grants totaling $7,967,612 from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The funds will be used to construct a maintenance facility in King City, purchase new full-size buses for long distance routes and for employee training. 
“Public transportation provides a vital link for many on the Central Coast,” said Rep. Farr. “Investing in public transportation serves area residents and boosts travel and tourism while reducing our carbon footprint. I’m very pleased to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation to deliver federal funding for MST and I look forward to continuing to advocate for improving public transit.”
“MST is excited to have the support of Congressman Farr to help us receive much needed federal funds to update our rapidly aging fleet by replacing buses on popular regional routes and funding the construction of a new bus maintenance and operations facility in King City. These funds are critical in helping MST in our efforts to provide safe, convenient, and affordable public transit throughout the Monterey Bay region,” MST General Manger/CEO, Carl Sedoryk said.
The funding to build a new facility in King City will expand MST’s services in southern Monterey County and reduce the need to have empty buses travel from Monterey and Salinas, which will improve overall bus maintenance and reduce operating costs. The grants will also allow MST to purchase nine new full-size buses to replace older buses that are either 12 years old or have 500,000 miles. Lastly, the award includes funding for workforce development training through the National Transit Institute, as well as the Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium.
Rep. Farr sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation in May 2016 in support of MST’s grant application.
MST provides transit bus service to an area that stretches more than 150 miles; a distance comparable to that between Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. In 2015, MST provided more than 4 million passenger boardings. 
The grant notifications from the U.S. Department of Transportation are available here and here

September 12, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Sam Farr (D-Calif.) announced that the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County (RCD) was awarded $1,300,695 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 
This federal grant will fund model cooperatives of Monterey County farmers in two small watersheds in the Lower Salinas Valley to protect surface water quality with collaborative water and nutrient conservation practices.
“When we promote healthy eating through fresh fruits and vegetables, we also have to promote healthy lands and waters,” said Rep. Farr. “This grant will fund this important work that I helped support through the Agriculture Water Quality Alliance and other efforts. As the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I work closely with the USDA and will continue advocating for innovative solutions to support farmers and improve our environment.”
According to Paul Robins, the RCD’s Executive Director, “We are fortunate to have such a broad collaboration of agricultural and environmental organizations committed to developing and testing collaborative solutions that farmers can work with and that meet public water quality objectives. It gives us a breadth of expertise for addressing the questions of science, economics and trust that are necessary for coming up with credible steps forward that both water quality regulators and farmers can consider with a straight face. This project would not be possible without the leadership of the Central California Grower Shipper Association, The Nature Conservancy, the Central Coast Wetlands Group, the University of California, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.”
This grant is made through USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which funds projects to spur innovative conservation initiatives on both rural and urban farms across the country. The award notification is available here

September 1, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Sam Farr (D-Calif.) announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) awarded millions of dollars to Central Coast organizations to provide housing assistance services to low-income Veteran families to prevent homelessness.
This federal funding is provided through the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. SSVF funding supports outreach, case management and other flexible assistance to prevent Veteran homelessness or rapidly re-house Veterans who become homeless.
“No one should ever experience homelessness and certainly not Veterans and their families,” said Rep. Farr. “Organizations such as the Veterans Transition Center of Monterey County have been able to enroll and house hundreds of Veterans over the last two years because of SSVF funding. I’m proud to support the SSVF program and I’m very pleased to see this funding headed to the Central Coast to uplift our Veterans and their families.”
Housing Resource Center of Monterey County received $509,434 to serve Veterans in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. The Veterans Transition Center of Monterey County is a sub-grantee of the Housing Resource Center of Monterey County.
“SSVF support has been a phenomenal tool to enable us to find and house deserving Veterans  – we’re able to take them directly from the street or shelters into transitional housing programs like ours and provide immediate assistance. Just recently, a disabled Veteran with a family of eight relocated to California looking for a close-knit community with a track record of helping Veterans.  They were living in their car, but we were able to secure SSVF funding and put them in a 4-bedroom house within a week of their arrival. How great is that?” said Terry Bare, executive director for the Veterans Transition Center of Monterey County.
Homeless Services Center received $470,091 to serve Veterans in Santa Cruz County.
Goodwill Industries of Santa Clara County received $427,894 to serve Veterans in San Benito, Santa Clara and Alameda Counties. 
Vietnam Veterans of California, Inc. received $4,040,000 to serve Veterans in Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, San Benito County and other counties. 
“This is outstanding news for the Central Coast, but there’s still more work to do. We know there are more Veterans who need our support. While I’m retiring from Congress at the end of the year, I’ll continue advocating for the VA, cities, towns, local elected officials, landlords, housing authorities, organizations and others to develop innovative solutions to serve our Veterans and their families. We must maintain our urgency and help those Veterans who served and sacrificed for all of us. It’s our turn to help them,” added Rep. Farr.
Following the closure of Fort Ord in 1994, Rep. Farr began working with federal government officials, Veterans and active duty military groups, community residents, and California government officials to build a Veterans cemetery and a joint VA-Department of Defense state of the art health clinic. The health clinic will serve active duty service members and their families and Veterans under one roof. After years of dedicated work, Rep. Farr secured millions in federal funding to build the Veterans cemetery and the health clinic, which is scheduled to have a preview event in October prior to a full opening in 2017. 
Rep. Farr’s district includes all of Monterey and San Benito Counties, and a southern portion of Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties.