Capitol Alert

Ami Bera says Joe Biden would help 'unite' Democratic Party

Rep. Ami Bera loads his ballot into a scanner after voting at Foulks Ranch Elementary School on Election Day on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 in Elk Grove, Calif.
Rep. Ami Bera loads his ballot into a scanner after voting at Foulks Ranch Elementary School on Election Day on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 in Elk Grove, Calif. rpench@sacbee.com

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Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, will convene his first town meeting this Saturday since being re-elected in November, with hopes of addressing deep political divisions that exist among his constituents in the swing district he represents, encompassing suburban Sacramento.

In the week since President Donald Trump was inaugurated, he has taken sweeping executive actions to dramatically reverse policies of Barack Obama, including orders to crack down on undocumented immigrants, construct a border wall separating the United States and Mexico, repeal Obamacare and relax regulatory hurdles for infrastructure projects. The moves have thrilled some, and for others, incited fear, anger and a call to action, Bera said.

Bera said he has been hearing “overwhelmingly” from people in his 7th Congressional District largely about proposals Trump has put forward on health care, trade policy and immigration reforms. He said he wants to take the temperature of constituents in the swing district he represents, which voted 52 percent in favor of Hillary Clinton and 41 percent for Trump, according to election results data.

“We’re going in a very divisive direction here. We’re going to fight back, tooth-and-nail,” Bera said in a wide-ranging interview with The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board Thursday. “Trust is fraying. It’s been six days, and he’s pretty much blown up an ability to work together...the Republicans can say what they want about President Obama and how he didn’t work with them, but it doesn’t seem like Trump is working with Democrats or Republicans right now. I think they are just as surprised.

“I think there’s a number of folks...who may have voted for Donald Trump as a protest vote, who are realizing that elections have consequences.”

Bera, however, acknowledged the power Republicans have, with control of both houses in Congress. He said Democrats “must act as a counterweight” and suggested that former Vice President Joe Biden is most skilled to lead the charge. To lead the Democratic National Committee, Bera voiced strong support for the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who is openly gay. Pete Buttigieg, 35, is said to be considering a run.

“We need someone who can speak to the entire (Democratic) Party,” Bera said.

IF YOU GO: Bera’s town hall is set for Saturday, Jan, 28 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at Elk Grove City Hall (8401 Laguna Palms Way, Elk Grove).

FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE: State air regulators will weigh in on sweeping new efforts Friday in California’s fight to combat climate change. The California Air Resources Board will meet downtown Sacramento starting at 9 a.m. to address measures the state can take to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and ultimately 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

BY THE NUMBERS: There are up to 2.6 million undocumented immigrants in California, according to the Center for Migration Studies estimations from 2014. State lawmakers are seeking to fast-track a set of bills through the Legislature to stave off mass deportations, among other things.

MUST READ: Is Big Oil warming up to Jerry Brown’s climate-change effort? Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing the Legislature, where Democrats gained a supermajority in November, to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program beyond 2020.

WORTH REPEATING: “We have transgender people around this country who are living in fear as more and more states strip them of the most basic rights. When they go backwards, we go forwards.” – Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, a co-author of a proposed bill to more easily change gender designations on state-issued identification and introduce “nonbinary” as an option for those who do not identify as male or female.

CELEBRATE: Happy birthday! Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes, D-Grand Terrace, turns 61 on Saturday. Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Whittier, turns 48 on Saturday. Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, turns 56 on Sunday.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Jo Michael of Equality California, who identifies as transgender and nonbinary, said identification that reflects people’s gender identity will allow transgender people to more fully participate in society.

Angela Hart: 916-321-1178, @ahartreports

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