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Garamendi holds senior center conversation, visits dialysis patients, meets with Clearlake Police

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – On Thursday, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA3), who represents half of Lake County, held a district work day in in the county focused on listening to constituents and assessing pressing public safety and health issues.

Senior center conversation

At the Live Oak Senior Center in Clearlake Oaks, Congressman Garamendi took questions from nearly 50 Lake County residents on a wide range of issues, including the future of Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, the impact of proposed budget cuts on Lake County, immigration and the growing climate of fear, the advantages of universal health care, campaign finance reform, concerns about the Administration’s ties to Russia, financial conflicts of interest within the administration, access to services for veterans, and affordable housing.

Video of the full conversation will be available at http://www.facebook.com/repgaramendi on Saturday.

Several attendees also asked how the general public can influence policy in Washington. The Congressman cited the proposed plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“Yes, all the Democrats opposed the repeal of the ACA, but that’s not what defeated the bill,” the Congressman said. “It was thousands of people like you, across the country, calling and writing your representatives and making your opinion heard. When only 17 percent of the country supports repeal, that sends a powerful message to Congress. You have made a remarkable difference in public policy.”

At the senior center conversation, Garamendi’s district staff and several local resource providers were on hand to help seniors.

Meeting with Clearlake Police Department

After the senior center conversation, Garamendi traveled to Clearlake to meeting with the Clearlake Police Department, including Acting Chief Tim Celli.

They gave Garamendi an update on their efforts to combat the rise of hard drug labs in the community.

The police were also interested in hearing Garamendi’s perspective on how the department can acquire more federal grants, and how proposed cuts to Community Development Block and COPS grants could impact rural departments like Clearlake.

These grants provide departments with resources for community policing, training, and equipment purchases.

Garamendi offered his office as a resource to help the department seek grants, particularly grants from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Agriculture Rural Assistance Program.

“There’s no doubt that cuts being proposed by the Administration to the Community Development Block and COPS grants would directly harm public safety in rural communities like Clearlake,” Congressman Garamendi said. “I appreciate the update by Acting Chief Celli and his team, and I’ll bring their concerns back to Washington.”

DaVita Dialysis Center visit

Following the Clearlake Police Department meeting, Garamendi met with patients and medical professionals at the DaVita Dialysis Center in Clearlake.

He heard their perspectives on dialysis treatment and offered a friendly ear as they discussed their concerns with happenings in Washington. Many were too ill to attend a public forum like the senior center conversation.

Garamendi then spoke with their doctors about the needs of dialysis centers, ways the Affordable Care Act has helped dialysis patients, and their concerns with the proposed plan to repeal the ACA.

They urged Garamendi to support H.R. 5942, the Dialysis Patient Access to Integrated-care, Empowerment, Nephrologists, Treatment, and Services Demonstration Act of 2016, which would establish a pilot program to study an integrated care model for Medicare beneficiaries requiring dialysis.

Upon the conclusion of the meeting, Garamendi asked his staff in Washington to add him as a cosponsor.

“We can improve the care we give to dialysis patients. All of us have a stake in this battle, because kidney disease can strike anyone at any time. It was important for me to hear the concerns of doctors and patients at the dialysis center. I am urging my colleagues to join me in cosponsoring H.R. 5942,” Garamendi said.

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