Issues

California’s public education system was once near the top in the country, and we must advance policies to ensure that every child has the access and support to graduate high school and go on to get the higher or career education needed to thrive in our modern workforce.

Our future prosperity and successes are dependent on a good education that is available to all.  Not everyone is destined for a four-year degree. It is important that the our education system serve Pre-K through Grade 12, career training, skilled trades, and service careers such as firefighting, health care, and public safety.  My background includes two terms on the Vallejo Unified School District Board and two terms as a Solano County Board of Education Trustee, so I have the knowledge and experience to work on tangible solutions.

I support a well-funded educational system Pre-K through community college and our public universities that meet the economic needs of California that have demonstrable success educating our upcoming generations. Compared with other states, California falls short in terms of how much it spends on K-12 schools in relation to the total wealth it generates. My three sons attended our local public schools and California’s public universities, and I want to ensure that children entering school today have expanded opportunities.

Our district includes UC Davis, Sonoma State University, and Cal Maritime Academy, along with six community college districts, and I’m committed to affordability. I will fight against tuition increases, while advancing programs and services that improve degree completion. We need to be able to attract, educate, train and retain teachers. Ensuring they have affordable educational opportunities and fair pay is essential.

I am also committed to funding expansion of our public safety, nursing and mental health practitioner pipelines at community colleges, so we can combat severe shortages.

California is well-known as the breadbasket of the Country. We’re the 5th largest supplier of food in the world with over $50 billion annually from the sale of products ranging from dairy to sheep to grapes. As a Senator, I will be an advocate for our agricultural economy and rural communities.

Agriculture is facing numerous challenges, especially due to climate change and workforce needs. A key issue is water availability, especially in drought years. In the Senate, I will advocate for greater investment in CDFA’s State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program (SWEEP) and Healthy Soils Program. We also need to improve storage, efficiency, and reuse. In the Senate, I will work to improve water storage and advance partnerships for groundwater recharge with farmers.

Having served as a school board member, I understand the value of career technical education (CTE). I am committed to building CTE opportunities in agricultural fields. It’s critical that we provide pathways to a skilled agricultural workforce, partnering with high schools and community colleges. I will advocate for targeted programs so our local schools and colleges can meet emerging workforce needs.

California is directly affected by climate change, and we must implement our bold initiatives and make the necessary changes to ensure our future and that of our children. Climate Change is an existential threat, and our state has already seen devastating effects –wildfires, flooding, drought. California has been a leader in protecting our environment, but we have much more to do.

It’s costing lives, homes, and livelihoods. It also costs taxpayers billions of dollars in public infrastructure damage annually. Hwy 37 locally is an example of that, where it’s projected to be underwater due to sea level rise in just two decades.

Transportation is the largest source of GHG-emissions, causing nearly 1/2 of emissions. 1 in 4 new cars sold in CA is electric, but there are still real impediments. I support building a network of charging stations to advance electric vehicle adoption. Outside of transportation, supporting the SB 100 policy of zero-Carbon grid by 2045 is important. In the Senate, I will advance solar, wind, and geothermal deployment, along with the storage required to make it viable and reliable. We haven’t done enough on building renewable energy storage and I’ll make that a particular focus.

Preventing massive wildfires is also critical. One major wildfire can negate all our gains in a given year, so regulating utilities to ensure they don’t spark wildfires, and investing in fuel breaks and other measures will remain top of my list as well.

Our district is a major agricultural producer, and I’m a proponent of working with farmers on climate smart farming, like CDFA’s Health Soils and SWEEP programs, which should be scaled up.

Housing

Housing affordability is a top priority. It impacts our economy, financial security, quality of life, traffic and our environment due to long commutes for those unable to live where they work.

California needs to build at least 2.5 million housing units to meet our housing needs, after decades of inadequate housing growth.

Half of California renters pay more than 30% of their income in rent and 1 in 4 renters pays more than half. Only 16% of the population can afford to buy a median priced home here.

This isn’t abstract for me. I have two of my children back at home, since they can’t find adequate housing that’s affordable. Thanks to some pro-housing policies over recent years, California added more than 123,000 housing units in 2022, reaching growth levels not seen since 2008. But it’s not nearly enough.

There’s no silver bullet. We need investments through tax credits and grants for affordable housing; incentives like density bonuses and ADUs; and fair zoning and permitting processes that encourage infill.

I have a track record of supporting affordable and market rate housing locally, and I’m going to advance these policies at the state level.

 

Homelessness

Homelessness has expanded dramatically over the last several years, and we need to do a better job about getting people housed and connected with services. 1 in 9 Americans lives in California, but 1 in 3 homeless people in our country live here in California. That’s unacceptable.

Over 170,000 people are homeless in our state. And up to two thirds of them are unsheltered. California has spent $17.5 Billion from 2018-2022. And that number will grow to nearly $21 Billion through 2024.

We could have paid for the rent of every homeless person for that amount of money, but the problem is that we don’t have the units or the support services. Building the right types of housing, getting people into that housing, and providing the wrap around services is critical. In Vallejo, we’ve invested in several major projects.

The homeless population isn’t a monolith. About 2/3 of homeless are short-term, while 1/3 is chronically homeless. 40% is over 50 years old; 20% are children.

Many of those who are chronically unhoused face mental health and substance abuse challenges. As a mental health professional, I’m uniquely qualified to advocate for policies that help get this population the services they need, so we can house them. That includes thoughtfully implementing CARE courts and supporting counties in administering those services.

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