It’s hard for U.S. Representative T.J. Cox to understand why the Friant-Kern Canal is just at 40 percent capacity.

One of the priorities of the Democratic Congressman, who represents the Central Valley in the 21st District which includes the Terra Bella area, is to do everything he can to have the Friant-Kern Canal at 100 percent capacity. He said if the Friant-Kern Canal was at capacity, the benefits would be obvious as far as the area’s water quality is concerned.

Cox has passed the 200 day mark since he became a Congressman and he talked about his priorities and accomplishments on Friday.

‘That’s an easy fix,” said Cox about the Friant-Kern Canal. “That should be done right now.”

Cox is looking at two areas of funding to address the Friant-Kern Canal. One is the $17 billion U.S. Bureau of Reclamation fund. The other is $89 million from Senator Diane Feinstein’s Water Insfrustructure Impovements (WIIN) Act that would go to storage, distribution of water and canals.

Cox said funding is provided to maintain the Friant-Kern Canal that’s supposed to be reimbursed by the Federal Government, but those reimbursements haven’t been coming. He compared the situation to a landlord who doesn’t pay for the maintenance for their tenant.

“The roof has been leaking for 20 years and you haven’t done anything about it,” he said. “I’ve really been paying money for the roof.”

Cox is the chairman of the House of Representatives Natural Resources Subcommitte on Oversight. He also noted U.S. Rep.-D Raul Grijalva from Arizona was the first House Natural Resources Committee Chairman to visit the Friant-Kern Canal in 10 years.

“This has been an eye opener for sure,” said Cox about what Grijalva told him. “ He made a commitment to the Central Valley.”

Cox also sits on the Agriculture Committee and he said he’s working to make sure farmers in the Valley know all the benefits of the Farm Bill that has passed. Cox also said the Farm Bill includes language that helps dairy farmers when it comes to pricing.

He also authored a bill that raised the limit from $4 million to $10 million for farmers to declare Chapter 12 bankrupty who have been “devastated by the trade war.”

Another one of Cox’s accomplishments was including $10 million into the National Defense Authoration Act to help veterans considering suicide and veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

“We’re getting out there and working for the people,” Cox said. “We’re out there doing what we said we would do.”

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