May 2008 - A message from Carlos...

As a former Marine and the father of a Marine currently serving our country, Memorial Day has a very profound meaning to me. I have first hand experience of the sacrifices that come along with serving our country, but for which so many others have made the ultimate sacrifice. With our current situation in Iraq, there is a divide in our country between those for and those against the war. Despite your personal beliefs, however, we as a country must extend our support to the families of those soldiers who have lost their lives defending our country. Those who have experienced the loss of a loved one need our support, and this Memorial Day, please take a moment out of your day to remember their incredible contribution to America.

Memorial Day has a deep history in America and was originally called Decoration Day when it was established to honor Union soldiers who had died in the Civil War. The first Decoration Day was observed in 1865 at a historic race track in Charleston, North Carolina which served as a Confederate prison camp and mass grave for Union soldiers who died while captive. Thousands of freed slaves and Union soldiers paraded and ate together to honor both the Union soldiers who fought for freedom, and to celebrate the slaves' new found freedom. "Memorial Day" didn't become common until after World War II when the day was adapted to honor American soldiers who had fallen in any war. Federal law did not officially change the name of the day to Memorial Day until 1967. Despite the holiday's long history, the purpose of Memorial Day has not changed--to honor those soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. These days, Americans celebrate in a wide variety of ways. Cities and towns host parades, picnics, and festivals, and individual families may visit the graves of friends and family members who have died in combat. I encourage all of you to take some time this Monday to remember a fallen hero. Call a friend whose son is in Iraq or visit a veteran who might not have the ability to leave the house. I can guarantee you that that effort will not go unappreciated.

Memorial Day Weekend begins tomorrow, and I hope you will take advantage of the sales tax holiday on all Energy Star rated items. This is a rare chance to save money and help the environment at the same time. Everything from air conditioners to refrigerators to energy efficient light bulbs are on sale this weekend, and all will help you save money on your energy bills. This is the first ever sales tax holiday on Energy Star items in Texas, and consumers are expected to save millions of dollars in both sales tax and energy savings.

In other news over the last month, the Blue Ribbon Task Force and I have been hard at work on several different projects and community events. We welcomed former Spur George "The Iceman" Gervin as an honorary chair of the task force's executive committee, and began the second phase of the BRTF billboard campaign. I sponsored a booth at KidsDay in the Park, where my staff and I distributed backpacks to children and hosted carnival games. The festival, which took place at San Pedro Park, was a phenomenal success as we handed out nearly 5,000 backpacks and met families from all across San Antonio.

On April 27th, the 2nd Annual Blue Sunday Event honored El Dia de los Ninos at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower. The event was used to dedicate gardening sheds built on land donated by the Carmelite Fathers, and will be used in maintaining the 24 garden beds adopted by families, area non-profit organizations, and parishoners. These community events serve as valuable reminders to parents and caregivers that children are are our most precious resource. When it comes to protecting our children , we must make every effort to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Sincerely,

Share a Meal With Your Children, Strengthen Your Family
By Senator Carlos Uresti

Relative to other countries, the United States is a fairly new society made up of a diverse array of cultures providing a mix of traditions that are shaped and reshaped by our American society every day. One tradition that seems to break cultural and geographical boundaries is the concept of sharing a meal with family and friends as an exercise in strengthening the bonds that tie us together. Research done at Columbia University showed that among families who eat together, teenagers are more likely to try marijuana, start smoking, or abuse alcohol if they eat dinner with their families less than three times a week.

This is both an interesting and startling statistic, especially because it seems like such an easy way to interact with your family, after all, every one of us needs to eat dinner! On weekdays after school and work, most kids and parents are pooped. Children usually have homework to complete and parents have two things on their minds--unwind from the day and provide dinner for the family. With the demands of school and work on all families, this routine, while necessary, can lead to rifts between parents and their children. Children who spend evenings in their rooms doing homework, chatting on the internet with friends, watching television, and playing video games are increasingly separated from their parents. While all children grow up and consequently spend less and less time with their parents, it is up to parents to take the initiative and get involved in their children's lives while they still can.

Do your family a favor and set a few days in the week aside to get your family together and share a healthy meal together. This may seem difficult, especially when parents are sometimes occupied with after work errands of all types. Coupled with homework, everything from soccer practice to parent teacher conferences to shopping can keep everyone in a family from eating dinner at the same time. My advice is to create a monthly calendar that outlines evening plans for the entire family and post it on the fridge. Leave space so that you or your children can add events as needed, and make it a habit to check the calendar often. This allows everyone in your family to see which nights are family dinner nights and which nights they can eat dinner at a friend's house or stay later at school.

At a time when many of us are constantly connected by email, the internet, and cell phones, it is easy to stay in touch with people, but harder to stay connected. These days some parents are getting their six and seven year old children cell phones, and while this is not entirely a bad thing, we must also be aware that the epidemic of disconnectedness occurs within families as well. An easy way to remedy this problem is regular family dinners. Not only do you ensure that your children are eating healthily, but it is a simple way to spend time them as well.

Now that you have your children in front of you, turn off the television and engage in a conversation. Ask them about their day and be open to what they have to say, you'll probably be surprised at how much they reveal. As a result, a bond of trust is strengthened and your children will view you as a sounding board, an advisor, a friend, and a loving parent. These qualities are present in all of us, and it is up to us parents to ensure that communication lines stay open and that our families are strong enough to weather the worst of storms.

Go Green - Save Green this Memorial Day Weekend

Everywhere you look, everyone seems to be "Going Green." By using eco-friendly alternatives to the products you use everyday, you can easily contribute to the effort to take better care of our planet and save some money along the way. With summer vacation just around the corner, most of us are expecting to crank up the AC for a few months. Energy efficient products can save you money on your monthly electric bill and on Memorial Day Weekend the Texas Government is offering you an opportunity to squeeze more out of your dollar. From May 24th to 26th there will be no sales tax on Energy Star items.

Included in the tax -free weekend are Energy Star labeled air conditioners (under $6,000), clothes washers, ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, light bulbs, programmable thermostats, and refrigerators (under $2,000). Energy Star does not label clothes dryers, since they all use similar amounts of energy and those purchases will be taxed.

If you already have an exempt item on layaway, you can reap the benefits of the holiday by making the final payment on your item during the holiday weekend. If you plan to put an item on layaway place your order during the weekend to benefit.

An added bonus is that you don’t need to leave your house to participate. Internet and catalog orders are included in the tax holiday so long as you pay for the item and order it for immediate delivery. However the item does not need to be delivered during the exemption period.

Additionally, the tax break is all-inclusive. Charges for delivery, shipment, handling, transportation, and some installation charges connected to the sale of the qualifying item will also be exempt from sales tax.

So save some money and start the summer break on the right foot by giving your wallet, and Mother Nature, a break!

Senator Uresti and the Blue Ribbon Task Force Announce a New Honorary Chair and Extend Child Abuse Prevention Billboard Campaign

San Antonio, TX -- On Thursday, Senator Carlos Uresti and the Blue Ribbon Task Force introduced a new honorary chair to the task force—George "The Iceman" Gervin.

"We are honored to have George Gervin on our team. Mr. Gervin is well known for his community involvement in San Antonio and I am proud that he has added our message to his list of causes," said Senator Uresti. "Child abuse and neglect is an extremely serious issue, and we are happy to have leaders like Mr. Gervin willing to speak up about awareness and prevention."

Gervin will join other dignitaries and elected officials on the executive committee of the Blue Ribbon Task Force just in time for several community events in San Antonio, including KidsDay at the Park, Taking it to the Streets, and Blue Sunday -- the annual Blue Ribbon Task Force day for children.

"The message of the Blue Ribbon Task Force is one that I firmly stand behind and one that I think the community of San Antonio needs to hear," said Gervin. " As a former Spur, I know from experience how important teamwork is. It is only when community leaders and organizations come together that we can set an example and send a message that resonates with people. That being said, I hope to advance the goal of the Blue Ribbon Task Force through my own youth centers."

In addition to welcoming Gervin to the task force, Senator Uresti also announced that the Blue Ribbon Task Force, along with ongoing support from Clear Channel Outdoor, will extend its child abuse prevention billboard campaign.

"I believe the extension of the Blue Ribbon Task Force's billboard campaign is vital to the community of San Antonio. Clear Channel Outdoor continues to provide an unwavering support for a message that needs to be spread -- the message of child abuse prevention," said Senator Uresti.

The campaign, which has been seen on billboards and posters throughout San Antonio, has drawn new designs from University of Texas students. The primary prevention message of the campaign aims to help parents deal with root cause issues that can lead to child abuse and neglect.

Senator Uresti is the founder and chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, a local coalition of community members. For more information, visit www.blueribbontaskforce.com.

Click here for more news releases from Senator Uresti.

The Cowboy Capital PRCA Rodeo
May 23-25

Bandera is the Cowboy Capitol of the World and their annual rodeo at Mansfield Park offers fun for the whole family.

Bandera Memorial Day Parade
May 24th

The Bandera Memorial Day Parade will start at 11am and will travel from City Park to Super S Foods.

Eagle Pass VFW Memorial Day Ceremony
May 30th

The Eagle Pass VFW will host an 11am Memorial Day Ceremony at Maverick County Lake.

San Antonio District Office
2530 SW Military Drive
Suite 103
San Antonio, Texas 78224
210.932.2568
Toll Free 1.800.459.0119
Fax 210.932.2572

Eagle Pass District Office
501 Main Street, Suite 114
Eagle Pass, Texas 78852
830.758.0294
Fax 830.758.0402

Capitol Office
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
512.463.0119
Fax 210.932.2572

©2008 Carlos Uresti Campaign  •  A.M. Hernandez, Treasurer  •  P.O. Box 240431  •  San Antonio, Texas  •  78224
www.carlosuresti.com