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Mayor Lopez reports on trip to Washington
Mayor Lopez
Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez

Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez participated in his second United States Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. held Jan. 17-19 and gave a brief report at last week’s council meeting.

Lopez said meetings were scheduled by Capitol Advocacy, the firm the city hired to write grants last year, with Congressman John Duarte, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler and the Department of Transportation to speak about funding for the Service/Mitchell interchange, the VFW Hall, public safety initiatives, housing and efforts to reduce homelessness.

“I assured that our community voices was heard during these meetings, particularly emphasizing the dire need to support underserved neighborhoods requiring sidewalks,” the mayor read from a statement at the Jan. 22 City Council meeting.

He said Capitol Advocacy will be applying for grants “to address our community’s specific needs.”

“I personally commit to ensuring our unique story continues to resonate in the halls of Washington, D.C.,” said Lopez.

The conference is intended for mayors of cities of 30,000 residents or more with only three cities in Stanislaus County meeting that criteria. Also attending were Modesto mayor Sue Zwahlen and Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak.

Lopez came under criticism for attending the conference a year ago at taxpayers’ expense and noted the cost of his expenses this year were budgeted by the council and noted “I welcome any questions or discussions regarding this matter.”

Lopez also reported that as chairman of the Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG), he was hosting a reception to coincide with a public hearing conducted by the California Transportation Commission in Modesto. 

He said the reception “presents an excellent opportunity to foster collaboration, exchange ideas and strengthen the ties between our communities and regional partners.”

StanCOG is primarily the agency that doles out state and federal transportation funds to the cities.