State Senate Race 2024: Question 4

4. How would you know you’ve been successful at your job after two years? What’s your measure of success?

Jackie Elward:

I will know that I’ve been successful at my job after two years when working families in California have a higher living wage, better benefits, and a chance at an affordable home. As the progressive in this race I will not only fight for working families but tackle climate change and invest properly in our schools. My measure of success will be whether or not the constituents in the district feel that they are being heard, and these objectives are being met.

Rozzana Verder-Aliga:

I hope to have accomplished and passed bills after two years of being a state senator.. However change takes time, it’s incremental. I will feel good if we have implemented significant policies that support the building of housing working families can afford, we’ve added additional support for our climate change goals, brought relief/support to working families and their paychecks, improved access/timeliness for mental health services/treatment .and increased funding for public education.

Christopher Cabaldon:

The simplest metric—number of bills enacted into law—doesn’t tell much of a story. After all, a bill designating a new official state freshwater mollusk counts the same as a bill overhauling California’s healthcare system or decarbonizing all state buildings. I intend to introduce transformative bills that advance the policy priorities that we share and that I’ve discussed with so many of you. But senators will consider 2,000 bills, as well as the wide-ranging California state budget, and an effective senator must be deeply engaged far beyond their own package of legislation.

One key measure of success for me is increasing the share of state grants, appropriations, and investments that flow into the communities of the 3rd District. This is, in part, a matter of communication, making sure that opportunities are visible to local communities, organizations, and leaders, and weighing in to support these efforts. Even more important, it means working in the weeds of proposed bills and budget items so that the formulas and criteria for state spending see our communities. Too often, these formulas—whether for parks, schools, dredging, transportation, or other infrastructure—are weighted toward Los Angeles and other parts of the Bay Area. As a result, we lose before even applying, or we’re not even eligible. I’ll be ever-vigilant and in the room when these quieter but critical battles are waged.

Along the same lines, a second measure for me is how much better adapted our communities see California policy on (1) housing and (2) climate change to our local conditions, needs, and opportunities here in the 3rd District. The mismatch between well-intended state policy and the unique landscape of our region is wide and getting wider. Aligning these critical state policies with communities like ours is a top priority for me.

I measure my own progress, further, by policy innovation that works. While fighting as a champion against all odds is a central part of a senator’s role, it cannot be the only one. Democracy is strongest when government actually works, and when it delivers. A key metric for me: how many breakthroughs on important issues did we achieve, with innovative win-win solutions or unusual coalitions coming together?

Since the question asks generally about how success is measured, I haven’t addressed specific policies in this response. However, one key topic stands out here, because it applies uniquely to any senator from the 3rd District: Flannery. Given the scale, intention, and sheer power of Flannery, and the role that state agencies and policies must play over at least the next three years, a senator’s success in this district must also be graded by whether Solano is steamrolled or empowered. And by what happens if Flannery succeeds or fails. No senator from another district will be able tackle this, and the stakes are supremely high. As you know, I’m not waiting for the election to contribute to the local efforts on this.

Finally, a senator should be evaluated by their contributions to strengthening civic engagement and helping to nurture a wide range of diverse leaders, including in the Democratic Party but also in government and other community efforts. A senator should help plant seeds of new leaders, and contribute to a political environment where diverse voices thrive.

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Equity & Justice For All