It came suddenly and swiftly. Less than 16 hours after receiving word last week, the Kings Canyon Unified School District — in particular, Riverview K-8 School in Parlier — was welcoming the sitting governor of California.

Gavin Newsom, not even two months in office, walked into the fifth grade classroom at Riverview and greeted young students and faculty who 24 hours earlier never expected to be talking and listening to the most powerful political figure in the state. But there was Newsom, signing his first bill as governor into law providing emergency money and priority to take steps toward safe drinking water. Riverview was “ground zero” in this political action, having gone more than a year without adequately safe drinking water.

It was a strange bit of irony, seeing a Democratic governor visiting a region that tends to lean conservative in an ever-shading blue state. But Newsom’s appearance and signing the bill reflected the importance of taking on the issue of unsafe drinking water. Of greater importance is that Newsom doesn’t seem to be taking the San Joaquin Valley for granted.

Here’s hoping the Valley, and Fresno County in particular, continues to catch the attention of the governor on important issues for the next four years.

•••

There won’t be any gubernatorial visits to the area this week but there will be plenty going on the remainder of February. On Feb. 20, city and business leaders participated in the groundbreaking for the new United Health Center medical facility at the northeast corner of Manning and Buttonwillow avenues. The building will anchor a business and commercial area in the first of likely several economic developments in the area in the coming year.

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