Whenever I’m hiking with the hawks in the Santa Monica Mountains, walking along our envy-of-the-world public beaches, or talking with parents whose kids attend our public schools, I can see the critical issues at stake in this election – stopping the decimation of our public education and safety net systems, protecting our natural resources, investing in good jobs, and building a more equitable future.
I’m running for the Assembly because I believe that we are at an important crossroads in California. For too many people, The California Dream is growing further and further out of reach. Our working families, our children, our students, our elderly, our middle class and our poor are all being cut off from opportunity, cut off from health, cut off from their futures. We must restore common sense for the common good of ALL Californians.
A history of activism and experience
For more than 40 years, I’ve worked for social justice, and, over and over again, I’ve seen the impossible become the possible. That’s what gives me hope that we can turn the tide in California. My generation fought for Civil Rights. We were the first in history to stop a war. We launched the feminist and environmental movements that have changed our lives forever. My own leadership was forged at the forefront of the gay and lesbian movement in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. We survived the agony of AIDS by coming out of the closet to reinvent health care activism, and then winning over hearts and minds on LGBT rights. For eight years, I ran the Liberty Hill Foundation, one of America’s most highly regarded non-profit organizations. We implemented a leading-edge program that increased voter turnout by almost 100,000; quadrupled funding for visionary leaders organizing their neighborhoods for better schools, safety and jobs; and helped put “environmental justice” on the regional and national agendas. After joining L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s cabinet in 2006, I worked to bring together diverse stakeholders to advance regional solutions to homelessness. I’m proud of the legacy that I left there by creating the Office of Strategic Partnerships, a unique program through which government and philanthropy join together to bring know-how and resources to deal with poverty.
Investing in an educated workforce
My highest priority is to work to restore resources for public education. Education is the delivery system for The California Dream, but it’s been bled and bled and bled. So many teachers have been laid off; so many classrooms jammed to overflowing with students. It is imperative that we get money back into pre-K-12 education, and into the shredded safety net. I also want to make higher education a funding priority, again. We had a Master Plan, once, that guaranteed every child a place in college, but that plan has been decimated. If we want an educated workforce, we have to invest in it.
Protecting an environmental jewel
I’m also running to make sure that we continue to protect our beautiful environment. This coastal district is a jewel of our state, and home to extraordinary environmental policy leadership. I will work to make sure that we are even more energy efficient, more water-use efficient, and that we invest in a green economy. That is not only good environmental sense; that is a way to bring good jobs back to California. With our solar, wind and geothermal resources, California is America’s mecca for renewable energy sources. That’s our future.
Working toward universal health care
I’m running to fight for affordable, comprehensive, universal health care. The new federal Affordable Care Act contains excellent community health and prevention programs, and we want to make sure that consumer protections and affordability are as strong as possible, as we implement it. California is ahead of the rest of the country on that. Ultimately, though, the most fiscally prudent policy that we could enact, one that would save billions in state and local budgets, is single-payer health care – “Medicare for all” – in California.
Support for a prudent and balanced budget
I will work to restore a more balanced approach to our state budget. We have cut the budget by over one-third – about $40 billion – in just the last four years! As a former CEO, I know how important it is to have the tools necessary to manage responsibly. This MBA places a high value on fiscal prudence; I have always brought my budgets in on time and on track. But it’s simply not fiscally responsible to keep cutting our children’s futures. I will work for fair taxation and will be a champion for balance in budget decisions.
An advocate for civil rights and justice
I’m running to protect ALL civil rights – to make sure that anti-gay, anti-choice and anti-immigration forces are prevented from curtailing our basic freedoms. And I want to help put the “justice” back into the criminal justice system. California got 23 new prisons in 23 years… and only one new university campus. We must reverse that trend.
A proven collaborator
One of the assets I bring to this work is an extensive network of relationships with community organizers, and civic and business leaders, from this district and across the region. I have spent a lifetime helping to solve tough problems through collaborative efforts – at times, with some pretty unlikely allies. I would bring this experience to bear on the many policy decisions faced by our state legislature.
There is a new California rising
There is an emerging coalition – in this district and across the state – of all kinds of Californians who are ready to restore sanity and humanity to The Golden State. Who are ready to end the bloodletting in our budget, and to bring back common sense for the common good of all Californians. But that will only happen when bold leaders on the inside of government are connected to strong organizing on the outside, working together for a better California.
I’ve been training for this role my whole life
I’m ready to fight hard for quality pre-K-12 education, for higher education, for universal health care, for the environmental benefits and jobs brought by a green economy, for civil and human rights, and to protect the quality of our water, our air, our future. It would be my honor to pick up the baton from the fierce champions for change who have so ably represented this district – Sheila Kuehl, Fran Pavley, Julia Brownley, and Mike Feuer. If you agree that we need bold, creative leadership in Sacramento, please join my campaign today by volunteering or donating. I think that you’ll find it a unique, exciting and empowering experience.