Visiting Congressman Jared Huffman
By, Cate Guempel
Congressman Jared Huffman was in the midst of a busy morning when our group arrived to speak with him. After glancing at the impact he had on the community with the many photos and newspaper articles pinned to the lobby walls, we were led to his personal office where the congressman had his recently broken ankle wrapped and propped up on his desk. We were warned that he was expecting a phone call and we may be interrupted at any time. Even with the many responsibilities that seemed to hang in the air of his busy office, he seemed very relaxed and down to Earth, while looking back now, his ankle was probably causing a substantial amount of pain and discomfort. From the many topics we grilled Huffman on, we all received thoughtful replies and standing here listening, I felt that he truly went into politics because he believes in something; I can’t help but hope that he makes whatever that something, is a reality.
Jared Huffman is a U.S. Congressman serving California's 2nd district. He speaks on many environmental issues and even has an upcoming bill, The Drought Relief and Resilience Act. According to Jared, a member of the democratic party, the people acknowledge the existence of global warming and the majority of the republican party are the ones rooted in oil companies. This may not be too far off as a recent poll suggests that 70% of Americans believe that Global Warming is real. So why is global warming still considered such a controversial issue? Whether the republican party is representing the people accurately or not, this could be what is holding back government action on the topic.
Later, when I got my questions in, I asked his view on the subsidization of water, especially during California’s worst drought in recorded history. He took me back to 1900’s when the Reclamation Act of 1902 was put into effect; essentially the act promoted moving West with the government paying for certain resources. This was the start of the water infrastructure we have today, Huffman explains. While this type of system may have had merit then, it is not what we need now. How we price our water is basically how we put a value on it and when only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater with only 1% of that accessible for human use, water is a precious resource. This is true now more than ever, as California is reaching another year of its severe drought. California’s water is used mostly for agriculture, a whopping 80%, but how that water is used has not been valued according to the drought. We must revamp and re-incentivise our water, Jared concludes and mentions that he would do so by increasing water rates for farmers, who, for example, in the Central California Irrigation District paid $17 per acre-foot of water used in 2014.
Beside his friendly and dedicated demeanor, Huffman impressed me that he has the drive that is needed to better this country and truly make a change. Huffman discussed how politicians can get into Congress for the wrong reasons, such as to become rich, wield power or assist corporate owners, and become corrupt into their work. Fortunately for our district, Huffman is clearly focused on the issues at hand, not on bettering his own personal fortune. We need Congressmen like Huffman to bring the beneficial changes that are needed.