3. In one paragraph, describe your top three priorities.
My top three priorities are to stand up for working families, tackle the threat of climate change, and invest properly in our schools. In standing up for working families, I will fight for a higher living wage, affordable homes, and will be an ally of unions and unionization efforts across the state. To take the threat of climate change seriously, I will work to invest seriously in preparation and defense for wildfires and rising sea levels, while supporting ambitious goals to move the state to net zero emissions and a carbon-free future as quickly as possible. As an educator, I know the importance of investing in our children’s futures, and I will make sure that every school in our state is properly funded.
Too many Californians cannot afford safe, secure housing in the communities where they work. As the mayor of one of California’s first ProHousing-designated cities, I know that it is both urgent and possible to increase the supply of housing—you shouldn’t have to move out of your community when your hours get cut or you get laid off. Housing is the foundation for so many health and social outcomes. At the same time, the housing challenge isn’t solely about supply—Californians need the wages, benefits, and economic security to afford quality housing. Protecting our land, water, and air while we grow housing—in particular, protecting farmland and habitats, precious natural resources—is crucial to both our economic future and the preservation of our community identity. Senate District 3 is comprised of diverse communities—rural, urban, with rivers, the Delta, and families across the socioeconomic spectrum. As Delta Protection Commissioner, air/water quality regulator, and member of the state’s 30×30 biodiversity committee, I’ve fought to protect the land, waters, and habitat of our district and beyond. Finally, I’m a classroom educator who believes that California owes its success to its world-class education system, promising universal access to learning and economic mobility, a vibrant citizenry, and ideas and innovation. Learning beyond high school—whether a degree, certificate, or apprenticeship—is as essential as high school itself had become by 1900. But while we responded to the industrial revolution by making high school universal, public, and free, we haven’t done the same with postsecondary education. I’ll fight not just for incremental budget increases, but rather to restore the California promise of education for prosperity and democracy by a new financing strategy for our schools, colleges, universities, and apprenticeship programs.
1) Housing – A lack of affordable housing and shortage of housing units have plagued California for several years now. The majority of Californians are disillusioned with housing costs and 90% are worried that the younger generation won’t be able to afford a home in the state. California’s chronic shortage of housing manifests itself in sky high housing costs and the highest level of homelessness in the country. This lack of housing is stifling upward economic mobility for working Californians and making our state a two-reality place: Haves and have nots. I will work to build more housing everyone can afford so that everyone has a fair shot at greater economic opportunity as well as work on short term and long term solutions to homelessness.
2) Labor – It is only fair that any anyone who works deserves a living wage. In California, that amounts to $21.83/hour or $43,485 /year assuming a 40 hour work week for a single person without children. Coupled with this is the need for benefits, which at a minimum should include health insurance, sick leave, and a retirement plan. California is better than most but falling short. It is well understood that when gainfully employed, workers contribute to a stronger economy with purchasing power, tax payments and productivity.
3) Health Care/Mental Health – Health care should be accessible to all. Affordability and reducing health insurance premiums is needed to close equity gaps. Need to rebuild state’s mental health and behavioral health systems. Programs need to focus on early prevention, access, early intervention and treatment. I support Mental health programs/ Wellness centers at schools. Need to focus on access to behavioral health care and continuum of care that includes access, support, housing, rehabilitation and treatment.