Delegation Stands United in Support of California's Historic Missions

October 20, 2003
Press Release

Legislation Will Provide Much Needed Funds for Historic Preservation

Media Contact: Christine Glunz, 202.225.3072

Washington, DC — All 33 members of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, with Congressman Sam Farr’s (D-Carmel) leadership, hail passage of the California Missions Bill, which was approved unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives today.  The legislation will provide $10 million in funding for California’s ailing historic sites.  o:p>

“I applaud Sam Farr’s bipartisan efforts in support of the California Missions Bill," Congresswoman Lofgren (D-San Jose) said.  “It is the preservation of our history that will strengthen the future for Californians.  This funding will give future generations a greater ability to understand the history of our state.”

A majority of the California Congressional Delegation, 48 Representatives, had cosponsored the legislation (H.R. 1446), to preserve the 21 historic California missions.  This funding will supplement a statewide private campaign, the California Missions Foundation, as well as State funding, to ensure the future of the missions.

“This is a great day for all of us who love California’s rich history,” said Congressman Sam Farr (D-Carmel).  “These missions are national treasures dating back to 1769, and by approving this legislation, Congress has reaffirmed its commitment to the preservation of our history.”  Farr introduced the legislation during his tenure as Chairman of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, along with Congressman David Dreier, (R-San Dimas), who still serves as Chairman, California Republican Congressional Delegation.   

"When California's Congressional Delegation comes together, great things can happen," Dreier said.  "I'm very pleased the House has approved this important legislation.   The history of the California missions is an important part of America's heritage.  Preserving and maintaining these historic sites will allow all Americans the opportunity to come and see what we think makes our state so unique."

“The California Congressional Delegation has been out in front on this issue, and we would like to thank them for their leadership,” said Richard Ameil, Director of the California Missions Foundation.  “This funding couldn’t have come at a better time.  Because of long-term neglect, many of the missions are now in dire need of structural attention and major rehabilitation.”  The Foundation is the first statewide organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of these historic sites. 

The California missions are the most visited historic attractions in the state, drawing over 5.5 million tourists a year.  They account for a sizeable contribution to the state economy from millions of tourists, including a large number of international visitors.  The missions also play an integral role in educating fourth grade school children under the State’s history curricula which includes the missions in the study of western history.  The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is being championed by Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.