Newly re-elected Congresswoman Lois Capps is wasting no time getting to work and is already pushing a restoration fund for the missions of Santa Barbara County.

The California Missions Preservation Act of 2002, authored by California Representatives Sam Farr (D) and David Dreier (R), was introduced in the House on Oct. 24. The bill aims to support the efforts of the non-profit California Missions Foundation through a matching grant program funded by the Secretary of the Interior.

“The California missions are an important, fascinating part of our national history,” Capps said. “Protecting and preserving this history is critical as future generations will want to learn about their heritage and cultural roots. The missions also support our thriving tourism industry, which is a vital component of our state economy.”

The bill’s future is still uncertain; it must first pass the House Resources Committee before being voted on by the entire House of Representatives. The bill will authorize a total of $10 million to be appropriated to the Secretary of the Interior during the five-fiscal year period beginning Oct. 1, 2003.

The missions receive an estimated 5.3 million visitors annually. The central coast is home to five of the 21 missions in California, which includes San Miguel, San Luis Obispo, La Purisima, Santa In