Notes & Noticias: Fighting For A Chance

Dear Friends,

The Legislature may be out of session, but my office remains busy addressing constituent needs and supporting community organizations.

In this week’s Notes and Noticias, read up on my continued efforts to advocate for a constituent who needs life-saving medical care, and in our “Spotlight On…” feature, learn about River City Youth Foundation. And don’t forget to join me for next Monday’s Diez y Seis celebration at the Capitol.

Read on for more, including some good news that surprised me this morning.

Fighting For A Chance To Survive

Last week, Notes and Noticias detailed the struggles of my friend and constituent Andrea Sloan to gain access to an experimental cancer drug that offers her the best hope of beating ovarian cancer. Andrea is the executive director of the Texas Advocacy Project,  and has dedicated her life to helping others. Now, she needs our help to save her life.

Andrea is a good-hearted person who has dedicated her life to helping others, and no one should be denied access to life-saving medical care.

This week, 81 of my House colleagues joined me in signing a letter I wrote asking the California Assembly urging them to persuade the drug company that makes the drug, BioMarin, to allow Andrea access.

Additionally, Andrea has gained support from Democratic and Republican members of Congress alike. Everyone from Newt Gingrich to Wynonna Judd has offered their support on social media, and her story has now been featured on CBS This Morning and Huffington Post.

This isn’t just about Andrea. It’s about any person denied care from drug companies who develop treatments intended to save lives — a situation Andrea’s doctor says happens all too often. We all have to do all we can to help those diagnosed with cancer.

Our community has rallied around Andrea. It’s time for BioMarin to do the same.

Join Me For Diez y Seis!

Please join me and Senator Kirk Watson for a Diez y Seis celebration next Monday, December 16 at noon in the Capitol rotunda.

We’ll have performances by Mariachi El Romance, Conjunto Los Pinkys, Danza Azteca Guadalupana, & Austin High’s Ballet Folklorico.

The “Grito” will be delivered by Consul General of Mexico Rosabla Ojeda. The Invocation will be delivered by Father Bill Wack of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish.

This event is free and open to the public. Feel free to RSVP on Facebook for a reminder.

Spotlight On: River City Youth Foundation

My legislative priorities include education, career readiness, and supporting local food, so it’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of the hard-working folks at River City Youth Foundation, a non-profit in Dove Springs.

The founder and Executive Director, Mona Gonzalez, has a deep commitment to the community and works hard to serve over 3,000 families each year.

They provide award-winning after school programs for students from low-income families, and run a summer camp program that allows kids to explore their interests in technology, the arts, and sports.

Last year, I was able to help construct the “Good Food Garden” at River City Youth Works thanks to a partnership with the Food Network, Time Warner, and the Texas Hunger Initiative. The garden teaches the youngest Austinites how to grow nutritious foods, and helps expand access to local produce.

Thanks to Mona and everyone at River City Youth Foundation for working so hard to make our community a place where all children have the best shot at success.

Chosen “Best Of Austin”

I was surprised to wake up this morning and find out I’ve been selected as “Best Austin, Texas Representative” by the Austin Chronicle in their annual “Best of Austin” critics’ picks.

They write, “A tireless advocate for for underprivileged children, workers’ rights, and urban farmers and gardeners, Rodriguez embraces the true spirit of Austin.”

I’m honored to earn this praise from Austin’s progressive weekly, and appreciative that the Chronicle continues to keep such a close eye on my work in the Legislature.

You can read the write-up here.