Representative Ro Khanna has seen a complete change of power in the U.S. government since he was first elected in 2016. But regardless of who was in power, he has always built alliances to better the lives of constituents.
With President Joe Biden’s American Recovery Act, congressional District 17 — which spans parts of Santa Clara and Alameda Counties — will see notable funding for both physical and human infrastructure in 2022.
“I’m excited about what we’re going to be able to do with the American Recovery Act,” said District 17 Representative Ro Khanna. “Now we have a specific plan to help cities.”
Khanna ticks off the projects that are funded this year:
- Sunnyvale pedestrian and bike routes, including connections to CalTrain stations and Safe Routes to School improvements near Columbia Middle School and Braly Elementary School.
- Santa Clara bike paths on three corridors: De La Cruz Blvd: Montague Expressway to Trimble Road, Lick Mill Blvd: Tasman Drive-Montague Expressway, and Scott Blvd: Calabazas Creek Trail to Saratoga Avenue.
- Cupertino library expansion, including a multi-purpose room for community use.
- A new track and other maintenance and improvements on the Capitol Corridor rail line between San Jose and Sacramento.
There’s also funding for human infrastructure, Khanna said, pointing to appropriations for a new Santa Clara County student mental health wellness center and expanded community caregiver training and resources for caregivers of children under six.
“It’s wonderful for libraries to be such a central place, helping people in the digital world,” said Khanna. “Now they will be able to expand their pilot programs.”
There’s also funding to train health care workers in Asian Pacific Islander communities to address disparities in outcomes and access to care in these communities.
These projects are just the beginning, said Khanna. “Under Biden I’m told we’re going to be able to submit these things every year, bringing in resources to make people’s lives better.” Khanna also notes that constituents can propose community projects, as long as the projects have backing from municipal officials.
Khanna is also working on other legislation that will benefit the community.
He is a co-sponsor of the Manufactured Housing Community Preservation Act, which would create a new grant program to help nonprofits, resident-formed cooperatives, and other local entities purchase and maintain an MHC with awards of up to $2 million. The bill has passed the financial services committee and will be on House floor soon.
Last month Khanna also introduced the Farm System Reform Act to level the playing field for family farmers and ranchers by clamping down on agribusinesses’ monopolistic and deceptive practices, incentivize producers to move away from concentrated feeding operations (CAFO), and hold CAFO operators responsible for the pollution and other damage caused by these massive operations.
The Congressman also chairs the House’s subcommittee on the environment, and
will be calling on the executives of fossil fuel companies to testify about climate change disinformation.
“Millions are going into climate disinformation,” Khanna said. “They’re funding academic studies minimizing climate change, funding campaigns of politicians minimizing climate change.
“You can’t have climate action while a have climate misinformation,” he continued. “You put that under the spotlight and [enact] laws that require disclosure.” The disclosure will reveal the “concerted campaign funding, the think tanks that fund [climate] misinformation sites, and dark money groups.”
Most of all, Khanna wants people to understand that even in our cynical time government can and does work. Better civics education can make it work better. What can make it work better right now? “Exceptions to the filibuster,” he said.
You can reach Rep. Khanna at his website, khanna.house.gov, or by phone 408-436-2720.