The event took place via Zoom and was hosted by Clovis Chamber CEO Greg Newman. Borgeas represents the 8th district, one of the largest in the state including Clovis.
Borgeas has lived in the Central Valley for years. He has previously worked as an attorney and an educator for a local college. He is married and has two sons.
The first question asked by Newman was about the Keep California Working Act and how it can help with struggling small businesses due to the ongoing pandemic.
Senate Bill (SB) 74 or Keep California Working Act is a bill introduced by Borgeas and Senator Anna Caballero. The act will set aside $2.6 billion in grants to be used by the Office of Small Business Advocate to help small businesses.
The grants will be between $5,000 and $2,500.
Borgeas said this bill will help small businesses survive and is special because it was a collaboration from both sides of the political spectrum. He mentioned that if small businesses were to survive this pandemic then they would need a major capital investment of at least $2.6 billion.
The bill was passed unanimously by the assembly and the senate. It was then signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last Tuesday.
“So $2.6 billion is a huge amount of money, do we need more? I think so, but that was a huge step in the right direction and I’m so thankful it passed the legislature and is now being put into effect.” Borgeas said.
The next discussion was about what the state is doing to help landlords and tenants during the pandemic.
Borgeas stated there is help not just for tenants, but also for landlords to help them recover money that was not paid to them. He mentioned that there is a federal program that will allow landlords to retroactively get up to 80 percent of losses from the beginning of the pandemic up to this spring.
Borgeas also added that California needs to step up and help landlords makeup for additional losses and that conversations are still ongoing about this issue. Borgeas said this help was primarily for residential landlords. For commercial landlords there are still certain criterias that have to be worked out to get them help.
Another topic discussed during the event was about vaccines and how the Central Valley has been impacted.
Borgeas expressed that the rollout of vaccines has been handled poorly by the state and federal government. He feels that the federal government did not handle the whole pandemic properly from the beginning. Because there was no need for states to be competing against each other for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“That decentralized approach forced California into the position that we needed to figure out what we were going to do for ourselves,” Borgeas said. “We (California) had 10 months to plan for this and the powers at-be, I believe, did not perform as they should have.”
Borgeas also mentioned that the Central Valley has struggled more than other parts of the state in administering the vaccine. He said that in the Central Valley, there was not a need for more infrastructure to administer the vaccine. What was more needed, was vaccines.
Borgeas said he is not sure when vaccinations will be available for everyone in the Central Valley, but believes the majority of the population will be vaccinated by July or August of this year.
The event concluded with Borgeas giving some final comments on the work he has been doing in the state senate and how working together we can make a better California.
Borgeas mentioned that working on SB 74 was something he was very proud of because it was a bipartisan bill that will have a great impact on the people of California. He also said political divisions have taken a toll on the state. However, working on this bill gave him hope.
“If a republican can push through a $2.6 billion small business relief bill…there is reason to be hopeful and people are now realizing we must deliver and there cannot be excuses of the past,” Borgeas said. “Now is that moment where we are being held accountable and rightfully should be.”