JOBS & THE ECONOMY
Economic growth here in California has been slow to rebound, and unemployment remains high. Too many Californians are still struggling to find good-paying jobs, and even those who are employed have been affected negatively by falling home values and economic uncertainty. If we are going to turn our state's economy around, we need leaders in Sacramento who are on our side.
As mayor of the largest city in our district, I have a proven record of working successfully across party lines to balance our city's budget and maintain a 10 percent reserve fund to see us through lean times. When I'm working for you in Sacramento, I'll bring that same sense of fiscal responsibility to our state’s Capitol.
Working in local government, I've also seen firsthand how policies coming out of Sacramento are hurting our district's hard-working families. Like you, I'm tired of watching a Legislature gridlocked by irresponsible career politicians put powerful, privileged special interests ahead of the Californians who elected them. I want to put an end to business as usual and advocate for California’s hard-working families by supporting strategic investments in our state's infrastructure. Renovating school buildings and improving roads, highways and bridges are smart investments because they will not only create tens of thousands of jobs, but also improve our local communities.
The truth is, in these difficult economic times, we need leaders who are willing to work with all sides to solve the problems our state faces and move California forward. As your representative in Sacramento, I will do just that.
As an educator, I understand that the key to good jobs is good education. It's as simple as that. Economic prosperity in the future requires a strong investment today in education and workforce training. Access to quality education - regardless of your family's economic circumstances – has been a legacy passed from one generation of Californians to another. It has been one of the key promises folded into California's image as the Golden State.
For more than 25 years, I've worked on the front lines of public education as an elementary school teacher in Fullerton. Who better to fight for our kids than a teacher who works every single day in the real world to offer our children a quality education? When I go to Sacramento to work for you and your family, I’ll fight to ensure that our kids receive the critical tools they need to succeed in school and in life.
I’ll demand accountability to make sure dollars get into classrooms and help students learn. I am committed to building an educational system that will prepare our children to compete in tomorrow's economy. I’ll also fight to protect school funding in this era of economic downturn and budget cuts.
As the first member of my family to graduate from college, I was fortunate to attend Fullerton College, UCLA and Cal State Fullerton at a time when public higher education was still affordable in California. What I was able to do — put myself through school without the burden of massive debt — seems no longer possible in California. When I grew up in this district, the State was known nationally for its commitment to funding public education and for the quality of the public education its children received. As a lifelong educator, I am committed to bringing that distinction back to California.
Protecting the environment and preserving it for future generations is essential and requires careful stewardship of our precious natural resources. Environmental protection is also key to growing a vibrant 21st century economy. Orange County's pristine beaches, open spaces and natural beauty are the very things that draw millions of tourists here each year. Those tourists generate millions of dollars for our local communities. It's also why so many people choose to raise their families here. Protecting our environment is not only the right thing to do, it's also a bottom-line economic issue for our district.
When I go to Sacramento, I'll fight to keep our beaches clean and to preserve our open spaces. I will also be an advocate for strong standards in monitoring the water we drink and the air we breathe to protect our families for years to come.
I am a staunch believer that we can protect our environment and still create good jobs. In fact, green and alternative energy technologies can be job creators. Orange County has the second largest number of green companies in California. I want to support those businesses and will advocate creating an even greener economy here in Orange County. The truth is, we need leaders who want to move our state forward and not use unsubstantiated, misleading arguments concerning job creation/loss to cut back or eliminate environmental gains. It is possible to protect our environment while creating good-paying jobs, and I am committed to achieving that balance. That's why I've been endorsed by the Sierra Club.
As mayor of the largest city in our district, public safety and crime prevention have been top priorities. I know that communities flourish when people feel safe. Communities with the highest quality of life also have strong public safety programs in place. Children are better educated, businesses thrive and overall quality of life improves when people are safe on their streets and in their homes and businesses.
A growing problem that I feel our state must do a better job addressing is domestic violence. Domestic violence can destroy the fabric of communities by weakening family structures and passing down, from generation to generation, dysfunctional and abusive approaches to relationships. In fact, violent juvenile delinquents are four times more likely than other youths to come from homes in which their fathers beat their mothers. The damage from domestic violence stretches beyond social structure, affecting school attendance and achievement, workforce productivity and sick time, and healthy pregnancies.
Another public safety issue our state must address involves our children. California is one of the largest human trafficking states in our nation. When I go to Sacramento to work for you, I will support legislation that addresses this issue by increasing convictions for sex crimes against children such as child prostitution, human trafficking and child pornography.
Our state has a rich history of planning ahead, of being innovative, and of providing quality infrastructure to our state’s residents. Our freeway system was once the envy of every state in the nation. Today, it is falling apart for lack of maintenance and bursting at the seams in traffic load. Vehicle miles traveled between Los Angeles and San Diego will increase by 30 to 50 percent by 2030, making Orange County especially vulnerable. California's urban freeway systems are already nearing capacity, with pervasive congestion during ever-lengthening peak periods.
With the advent of free trade agreements and a unique geographical positioning near the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America, California is going to see increasing amounts of freight moving on our highways. Some of this freight will move by rail, but we will still see many more trucks on our roadways. These trucks will continue to compete for scarce freeway space with local drivers.
That’s why we must invest in infrastructure programs to improve our roads, highways and bridges. We also have to take a serious look at high-speed rail as a way to get hundreds of thousands of Californians off our congested freeways. Infrastructure improvements are smart investments not only because they improve our local communities and quality of life, but because they create thousands of jobs.
It is not too late for California to become the leader again. However, it will take strong leadership and an involved public to make it happen. We need leaders in Sacramento who are willing to ensure we have good roads that get us to work, to school, and home again to see our families. Our economic success and quality of life depend on it.