Antelope Valley Board of Trade hosts monthly meeting

Photograph by Linda KC Reynolds

Debbie Lovrich, executive director of the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, hosts guest speakers Executive Vice President of the Tesla Foundation Group, Keith Coleman (left), and Congressman Steve Knight during the August meeting. Knight updated the board on legislation, while Coleman introduced the Tesla Foundation to the board.

Congressman Steve Knight and Tesla Foundation Group Executive Vice President, Keith Coleman, were special guests at the August Antelope Valley Board of Trade monthly meeting.

Knight spoke of several pieces of legislation before congress.

Sharing what he considered the “big ones,” he said that The “No Hero Left Untreated Act” is getting a huge amount of support. “Not just in the congressional delegation but a lot of famous people have jumped on board including Buzz Aldrin and six or seven retired Navy Seals.”

The bill directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program to provide access to magnetic EEG/EKG — guided resonance therapy technology to veterans. MRT — Magnetic Resonance Therapy is a non-invasive neuromodulation technology used to treat PTSD and traumatic experiences.

In the initial study, Knight said that 400 veterans went through MRT and 98 percent claimed it changed their way of thinking and helped them with their PTSD. Sixty-one percent said they had a severe change.

“When we saw these stats we said we have to do something with this.”

Five clinics across the country will start using the treatment, including one in West Los Angeles. If the data collected after one year is good, Knight said he will write a bill to put it in all VA clinics.

Knight also helped to push thorough The St. Francis Dam Memorial Act that will create a national memorial at the site of the St. Francis Dam collapse in 1928 and sets aside 440 acres for a national monument that will encompass the memorial.

“It was the second largest natural disaster in American history that killed about 450 people,” explained Knight. “The people of Santa Clarita have been trying to get this for the past 10 years — we should have results in about 20 months.”

Reports state that the dam was one of several large infrastructure projects constructed in the early 20th century to help control the flow of water to Southern California. On March 12, 1928, the dam breached, resulting in significant flooding that took more than 400 lives in Los Angeles County. The disaster was considered one of the worst civil engineering failures of the century. Beyond the loss of life, thousands of residents lost their homes and experienced significant property damage due to the flooding. 

The Aeronautics Innovation Act aims to secure the United States technological edge in commercial and military aviation.

“It is a roadmap that Congress will fund each year,” explained Knight, adding that it could take three to five years to process. “It’s coming from NASA and the private industry, they give me the ideas and we run with that and put it on the roadmap.” The top priorities are the supersonic demonstrator and NASA’s X-57 Electric Research Plane.

“The supersonic demonstrator will have the most effect on all of us,” says Knight. A flight from Los Angeles to New York would take approximately two hours. “It changes the business world, tourism, congressional travel – it’s a life changer for everyone.”

Congress is still working to get Zika funding. There are 500 American woman affected by the mosquito carrying disease. “We passed it out of the House but it got stalled in the Senate.”

Knight thanked everyone who participated in town hall meetings via telephone and roundtable/business meetings throughout the 25th district saying that the last three months of a Congressional session was crazy- especially when a president is about to leave.

When it comes to passing bills, Knight said he has time to do research.

“We do our best to make sure crazy stuff does not come out.” However, voting on more than 1,000 bills a year, when he is on the floor, sometime all he sees is what is right in front of him. He may have only two minutes to decide on a subject. He encouraged the public to let him know if something is “weird,” that is trying to pass legislation.

Other subjects Knight and the board discussed included bringing the Olympics to Los Angeles, the need for a new high school at Edwards AFB and figuring how to get teachers who are military spouses to be able to teach on base and sit on school boards. It is also time to vet students who want to attend military academies. “Sending students off to the academies is the best day of the year,” said Knight.

With technology changing so quickly, sitting on the Armed Forces Committee, Knight said his number one priority is to give the war fighter the best products as fast as possible.

“The Chinese and Russians don’t care about their soldiers and test pilots like we do. They are going to do a lot less testing than we do. They build something and are on to the next technology — we need to move faster.” He said that there is a problem if other countries can put out an airplane in two years, and we take eight years. He also encouraged the private sector to pursue innovation for national security.

Coleman shared that the mission of the Tesla Foundation is to first is to provide STEM talent with opportunity regardless of sex, race, or socio-economic circumstances.

The second is to match early-stage investors and companies to the talent. Dianne Knippel, executive director of the Antelope Valley College Foundation, and Sarah Tyndall of The Palmdale Aerospace Academy invited Colman to visit the AV College and academy.