Senator Cortese Newsletter: Staying Peaceful and Protected in February



Dear Neighbors,

Let me wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year and Tết, Year of the Dragon! For our Vietnamese friends, Chúc mừng năm mới! For our Chinese friends, Gung Hay Fat Choy! For our Jewish friends observing Tu Bishvat and our Buddhist friends recognizing Nirvana Day, I hope your celebrations are filled with peace and joy. For those observing Ash Wednesday, may the commencement of Lent bring you and your family a sense of peace and renewal. 

I hope everyone is staying safe amid these recent storms. To protect you and your family, here are web links for real-time updates on power outages, weather forecasts, road conditions, and flood warnings. Additionally, please check out the 'Community Updates' section for tips on weather-proofing your home.

And for everyone you love and cherish —whether a partner, friend, family member, or pet— Pattie and I wish everyone a very happy Valentine's Day!

In this month's newsletter, you'll find excellent resources to help you and your family navigate the cold and other challenges. In the Capitol Updates section, you can read about how I am working to improve healthcare services for people across California. As always, my office is here to support and assist you in any way possible. Please email me at with questions, concerns, or requests. 

Be well,


State Senator Dave Cortese



Black History Month

February is Black History Month, a special time to honor the rich legacy and contributions of African Americans. Don't miss the list of Black-owned restaurants in San Jose, curated by community organizer Mary Celestin. In Santa Clara County, we're committed to inclusivity, equality, and advocacy for Black culture.

I encourage everyone to continuously explore and appreciate Black history and culture. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. guided my path in promoting nonviolent activism. Over two decades ago, I co-founded Carry The Vision, a nonprofit dedicated to nonviolence and societal change through educational programs and community events.

In 2020, our community demanded that Santa Clara County become the first in California to recognize Juneteenth as a paid county holiday. It was my honor to spearhead the effort to create the County’s Juneteenth holiday. I continue to advocate for Juneteenth to become a paid state holiday.

This Black History Month, and every month, let's work together toward realizing Dr. King’s dream by gathering together, making new connections, and changing society.  




Speaking with new Senate President Pro Tem Mike McGuire on the Senate floor. 

On Monday, February 5, the State Senate welcomed its new Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire. Senator McGuire is universally respected by all his Senate colleagues. He shares my values for California, which include creating quality jobs, building climate resiliency, growing affordable housing for all, and expanding resources and housing and shelter options for people experiencing homelessness. I very much look forward to working alongside Senate President Pro Tem McGuire. 

My office continues to introduce bills to benefit the people of Santa Clara County and the rest of California. One issue that has been top of mind is California’s nursing shortage. My SB 1015 seeks to increase California’s supply of nurses by making it easier for nursing students to get the hands-on training they need. This bill helps nursing schools find enough places for students to train. SB 1015 also makes it easier for the Board of Registered Nursing to ensure equitable access to these training spots across all nursing schools. Right now, private nursing schools secure more of these training slots than public universities and community colleges. 

Also on the health care front, my SB 999 helps ensure that Californians suffering from mental health and substance use can receive appropriate treatment. Some health plans and insurers act improperly by denying necessary treatment to patients. SB 999 will ensure that the insurer’s doctor reviewing the treatment request is qualified and understands the patient’s medical needs.


Community Updates

More storms may be on the way. Here are Some Reminders for Storm-proofing Your Property

  • Check and clear out rain gutters
  • Bring in outdoor umbrellas, patio furniture, and other vulnerable items
  • Cover vulnerable plants and secure anything that the wind can damage
  • Cover grill/smoker
  • Keep headlamps and candles handy in case power goes out
  • Check sidewalk storm drains and area drains
  • Charge your phone ahead of the storm, place in low power mode
  • Don't forget about your pets
  • Finish shopping before the storm


Update on the 2024 Primary Elections

The voter registration deadline is February 20 for the 2024 primary elections. The Primary Election is March 5, and the General Election is November 5. It's critical for all eligible voters— U.S. citizens residing in California who will be 18 or older by Election Day — to get registered! Local elections can hinge on a narrow margin, making every vote especially count. We encourage everyone to verify their eligibility and register to vote, contributing to a vibrant, engaged community where every voice counts.


Join Valley Water’s Water 101 Academy Leadership Program

Valley Water invites Santa Clara County residents to become part of its Water 101 Academy, a unique, cost-free leadership program to educate and empower individuals to become community water ambassadors. This initiative seeks to build a diverse network of leaders knowledgeable about local water issues, conservation, and management, offering insights into current and future water projects. Participants must attend all five sessions to graduate and receive a certificate of completion. The application deadline is Friday, February 23, at 5:00 p.m. If you're passionate about environmental stewardship and wish to play an active role in your community, this is an excellent opportunity to get involved and make a difference. Apply at or contact 


Sign up for California State Summer School for the Arts

CSSSA welcome 500+ high school students each summer to celebrate and explore the arts. This unique summer program, running from July 6 to August 2, 2024, invites creative teens to dive deep into disciplines such as Animation, Dance, Film, Music, Theater, Visual Arts, and Writing. Join like-minded teens from across the state on a journey of artistic exploration and achievement. The deadline to sign up is February 28. Learn more and sign up here. 


Santa Clara County Parks Trail Condition Update

Recent rainfall may affect trail conditions in Santa Clara County Parks. For current updates, call the Trail Hotline at (408) 355-2200 and press option 3. Trails might be closed temporarily to cyclists and equestrians to prevent erosion and protect trail surfaces. Ensure your safety by looking for closure signs at trailheads, as these are updated by rangers based on changing conditions.


Beware of Jury Scam Alerts in Santa Clara County!

The Superior Court of Santa Clara County warns of a rise in jury-related scams. Scammers, posing as court or law enforcement officials, may use fake credentials and manipulated images to deceive. Remember, court personnel never ask for personal or financial information over the phone. If contacted, do not provide personal details and verify any jury service communication by directly contacting the court. Report suspicious calls to local police and the court's jury office at 


California Earned Income Tax Credit: Check Your Eligibility!

Did you earn $31,000 or less in 2023? You might qualify for the California Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit designed for working families with low incomes. This tax credit can significantly increase your tax refund, putting thousands back into your pocket. In 2023, this initiative returned over $900 million to eligible families. Don't miss this opportunity to boost your income - check if you qualify today! Use the free calculator to find out what you could get back here.


Warming Centers are Open!

With the chilly weather hitting the Bay Area, Santa Clara County is opening up several warming centers during the day across the county to keep you warm and safe. County libraries are stepping up as warming centers. Pop into one if you need a cozy, heated spot to beat the cold. In San Jose, city libraries and community centers are open as warming centers during regular hours. You can find the hours and locations for the city libraries here and for community centers here. For a complete list of warming center locations across Santa Clara County, click here. 


Financial Aid is Available!

Great news for students seeking financial aid for the 2024-25 academic year! The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) are now available. FAFSA will have periodic openings, as announced by the US Department of Education, while CADAA is open for applications. The state priority deadline in California is April 2, 2024, but be sure to check with your college for earlier deadlines. The "Better FAFSA" offers an improved user experience, allowing parents, students, and spouses to complete role-based sections. The Student Aid Index (SAI) replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Similarly, "Better CADAA" simplifies the process, eliminating the need for a PIN and including the AB 540 affidavit. The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) provides free Cash for College webinars and workshops to assist with application questions. For more resources and updates, visit the CSAC website and social media channels. Don't hesitate to reach out to for additional support and information. Apply now and secure your financial aid for the upcoming academic year!


Free Narcan!

Residents in Santa Clara County can now access free doses of Narcan, a drug that can save lives from opioid overdoses. Call 408-272-6055 or shoot an email to The Santa Clara County Opioid Overdose Prevention Project will send you a naloxone kit with a training video link and a QR code, so you'll know exactly how to use it. More information and training videos in both English and Spanish on the county's website about fighting opioid overdoses. Stay safe!


CalKIDS Program: Free Money for College!

CalKIDS is an innovative program that helps California families plan for future education costs. Regardless of family income, every newborn in California gets a savings account funded with up to $175, and eligible low-income students in grades 1-12 can receive up to $1,500. Research shows that even a small college savings can significantly increase the chances of a child attending and graduating college. CalKIDS makes this a reality for all California children. Visit


Join First Tee - Silicon Valley's Winter Classes!

First Tee, a youth development nonprofit, offers a unique blend of life skills and golf skills curriculum tailored for 2nd to 12th graders from diverse backgrounds. With financial aid available, the program is accessible and affordable, ensuring no child is turned away. Courses are offered at Rancho Del Pueblo Golf Course (San Jose), Baylands Golf Links (Palo Alto), and Gavilan College Golf Course (Gilroy). Plus, there’s an opportunity to make a difference as a paid instructor or volunteer coach, mentoring youth in character-building and leadership skills. For more details on registration and coaching, visit and follow them on Facebook at FirstTeeSV or Instagram @firstteesv. Registration opens February 14 at 11am. 



In The News



State Resources

Pictured with Deni Mineta, wife of Secretary Mineta. 

In these times of bitter political division, it helps to remember that the pursuit of justice and equality transcends politics. Sometimes, this passion is personified in an individual's life story. Recently, I had the honor of speaking at the unveiling of a statue of U.S. Secretary Norm Mineta at the San Jose Mineta International Airport. This statue is a tribute to a remarkable person who served in the cabinets of both Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republican President George W. Bush. I hope this statue will stand tall for many decades, inspiring children to ask about it. Their families can read about Secretary Mineta’s achievements on the plaque, and maybe parents and grandparents will share personal memories, too.

This story begins with a boy from San Jose, who, at the age of ten, along with his family and approximately 120,000 other Japanese Americans, were incarcerated during World War II. Overcoming the fear and prejudice of Japanese Internment, Mineta rose to become a champion of justice and equality. As the mayor of San Jose, Mineta broke barriers as the first Asian American to lead a major U.S. city. His journey continued as a member of Congress for two decades, where he advocated for social justice and addressed the injustices experienced by people like himself and his family.

Under the administration of President Bill Clinton, Mineta was appointed as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and later, under President George W. Bush, he served as the Secretary of Transportation. In the heat of the tragic 9/11 attacks, as panic gripped the nation, Secretary Mineta made the unprecedented decision to ground every civilian flight. This was an act of courage and resolute leadership at a time of national crisis. 

Secretary Mineta also authored legislation that provided reparations and a formal apology to Japanese Americans for their wartime incarceration. His commitment to healing and reconciliation is a powerful reminder that anyone can change the course of human events. When kids look up at Norm’s statue, I hope it leaves a lasting impression.

I was honored to join my colleagues and friends for the State of the County address by Supervisor Susan Ellenberg, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. President Ellenberg called for deep reform on mental health and substance abuse issues, child care funding, homelessness and criminal justice. She also announced that Measure A, the Affordable Housing Bond to end homelessness that  I spearheaded in 2016 with Supervisor Cindy Chavez, is fully allocated! This means that Santa Clara County is building over 5,000 new apartments for people experiencing homelessness, renovating nearly 700 units, and constructing 56 housing developments across ten cities. I’ll continue to partner with President Ellenberg and other elected officials across Santa Clara County to ensure our communities are safe for all.

My District Representative Phuong Nguyen attended the 50th anniversary of Hoàng Đả, the Battle of the Paracel Islands, at the Tully Rd Library in San Jose. During the ceremony, Phuong recognized Phuc Thai Le for his contribution as the Chair of the Bach Dang Association. 

My District Representative Estefany Meza joined West Valley College-Mission Community College District for the grand opening of Valhalla Park, the college’s state-of-the-art baseball complex. The event highlighted a new chapter for the college’s athletics. This photo showcases the game between the West Valley Vikings and the American Rover Beavers. Go Vikings! 



Santa Clara County 

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Consumer Protection 


Jobs and Unemployment 


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As mentioned earlier, please contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns. I can be reached at State resources and services available are below and posted on my website: