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Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill_MonningHow will the newly adopted California voting districts affect your bid for the state senate in 2012?
As this response goes to print, I am encouraged by the California Redistricting Commission’s proposed lines for a coastal Senate district which will be numbered as Senate District 17 and which will include all of Santa Cruz County, portions of southern Santa Clara County, western Monterey County, and all of San Luis Obispo County. The proposed Senate district incorporates virtually all of the communities in my current Assembly District while adding the cities of Morgan Hill, Watsonville, and all of San Luis Obispo County. Based upon my review of the final lines, an assessment of any legal challenges, and my continuing discernment process, I will make a formal announcement regarding my candidacy soon. [Editor’s Note: Monning officially announced his bid for the state senate on Monday, Aug. 15.]

how will California be affected financially in the short and long run by the debt ceiling agreement?

According to California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the debt ceiling deal reached in Washington, D.C. appears to have forestalled reductions in federal aid to California in the short term. But more substantial and unspecified cuts may follow in future years.

In my July column in Good Times, I highlighted Assembly Joint Resolution 14, which I authored to urge Congress to increase the national debt ceiling because California was in jeopardy of losing federal financial support for programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Fortunately, the recent agreement will spare cuts to these programs in the short run.

Adding to concerns for our state’s future budgetary health is State Controller John Chiang’s recent report of lower than projected state revenues. This, coupled with the possible increase in the interest rate charged to the state on future bond sales, raises the specter of the “trigger cuts” in the 2011-12 Budget being enacted. California cannot afford any more debilitating cuts to our schools, seniors, and job creation efforts.

The recalcitrance of some members of Congress and the state legislature is cause for concern about the very future of our governance system. It is unfortunate indeed that in both Sacramento and Washington D.C. there are those who candidly and proudly express their desire to see the President and our government fail. I believe that the oath of office should obligate all elected officials to negotiate in good faith toward solutions that protect our financial integrity and the health and welfare of our state and nation.

During your summer recess from legislative session you have been meeting with constituents. What have been some of the highlights of these meetings?

The summer legislative recess has afforded me the opportunity to meet with groups and individuals throughout the district. Among the places I have toured are the Santa Cruz Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Grey Bears, Goodwill Industries, UCSC’s Agroecology Sustainable Food Center, Ecology Action, Five Branches Institute of Chinese Medicine, and the Health and Dental Center at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Watsonville.

In addition, I have met with a number of individuals to discuss In Home Support Services (IHSS) and MediCal, as well as with a variety of representatives of the healthcare sector; public safety officials; veterans; agriculturalists; educators; and environmental, anti-war, and social justice advocates.

The primary “take-away” message from this diverse network of residents of the Central Coast region has been the overwhelming concern about the impacts of the increasing and ongoing budgets cuts. The personal stories and information shared with me were moving. There was universal agreement that more equitable budget solutions must be explored. As always, I was impressed by the resilience, hard work, and commitment of so many in our community who dedicate themselves as volunteers and public servants to the betterment of all.

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written by jr, August 20, 2011
We are fortunate to have a person of Bill Monning's wisdom, character, and commitment representing us.

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