BY TED HOWZE, DVM
Special to the Journal
The Central Valley has always risen to great challenges and the community response to Covid-19 is no exception. Over the past two months our Operation Compassion effort has delivered thousands of food boxes and critical supplies to Valley seniors, disabled veterans, and individuals in need. Volunteer teams and my staff joined with our local partners Turlock Christian School, the Salvation Army, the Assyrian National Council of Stanislaus County, Sikhs for Humanity and countless small businesses to meet the needs of our community during this lockdown. I’d like to personally express my gratitude to every one of these individuals and organizations for their steadfast partnership in making sure local residents in need don’t go hungry or under-nourished.
But as our community rose to the occasion and flattened the curve to make sure that local hospitals and frontline workers are not overwhelmed by this virus, we have begun seeing greater numbers of people in need of food and supplies. Sadly, working families are now among those most affected. Unemployment, small businesses closing permanently, the mental health strain on individuals and families; these are crises brought on by the lockdown we cannot ignore.
I‘ve witnessed the power of our community firsthand and its ability to step up for those in need. My family felt the love, support and compassion first hand after my first wife tragically passed away seven years ago. I‘m motivated to share the same compassion and support to help meet the needs of our workers and their families, as well as vulnerable local seniors. That's one reason why I‘ve launched a new #TrustTheValley partnership with our local mayors. You can get more information at TrustTheValley.org.
Ten local mayors throughout our District are standing beside me in our effort to represent you in Congress. A big reason is because we share priorities for the valley born of common experiences. We’ve walked in the same “boots” one might say. They also know our valley communities are on a shared journey that needs an experienced guide.
The people of our Turlock and Denair communities mean everything to our family. We can rise to this occasion, care for those who need it, and get our communities working again safely. Now is the time to seize that local spirit and bond together like we always do, and that's why local leaders are joining me in calling on state and federal officials to trust local officials to reopen our communities in a safe and responsible manner. We must continue taking this virus seriously for at risk individuals but state and federal officials should trust our County Supervisors, Mayors, City Council Members, and public health officials to manage openings in a responsible and safe way that meets the needs of local residents, workers, healthcare facilities, elderly population, and families. Experience has proven local control is always much more efficient than decisions made by far-away politicians in Sacramento or Washington D.C.
So let's continue to get it done, and tell these Sacramento and D.C. politicians we can best serve the health, safety and economic needs of our residents. This isn't about party or politics — it's about making sure our elderly and vulnerable populations stay well, our workers get back to work, kids can get back outdoors, and we keep our Central Valley way of life moving forward for all of us.
— Dr. Howze is a former Turlock City Councilmember, large animal veterinarian and candidate for Congress.