As you settle into your first term as a California assemblymember, what bills or plans do you have in the pipeline? And what plans do you have as the newly appointed Chair of the Human Services Committee?
Our state is slowly recovering from the recession, and for the first time in many years, the California legislature will not have to make drastic cuts to programs that help foster youth, the elderly, and the disabled. While this is good news, these Californians continue to suffer as billions of dollars in budget cuts have decimated essential services they need. As the newly elected assemblymember for the Monterey Bay region, including Santa Cruz, I will focus on building relationships, reaching across the aisle, and crafting effective policy to help improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities.
I’m pleased to report that during my first term in office, I will serve as the Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee. This committee considers legislation that affects child and elderly welfare, foster care, welfare-to-work programs, residential facility programs, developmental disability services, and similar programs.
During this legislative session, I will focus on several priorities while considering legislation in the Human Services Committee. I am especially concerned with preserving programs that help Californians get back to work and improve the state’s economy. In my role as Chair, I will work to preserve key safety net benefits, including CalWORKS programs, which help individuals learn job skills and find employment, and the CalFresh program, which helps families keep nutritious food on the table. I will also pay special attention to proposed changes to state-subsidized childcare, which allows parents to return to work and support their families instead of staying at home to care for their young children.
Additionally, I will work to make sure that state-subsidized facilities and community care services are safe for the individuals who use them. This year I will work to ensure that childcare and residential care facilities are adequately licensed and are fully compliant with state standards. I will also be reviewing current group home reforms in the foster care system. In the same vein, it will be important to maintain appropriate and sustainable community-based services for California’s aged and disabled populations.
In addition to the policy committee I chair, I serve as a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, where I am participating in a review of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget. Over the next few months, the committee will vet the budget proposal thoroughly to make sure that it advances the goal to improve the state’s economic recovery while protecting California’s most vulnerable residents. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on this process.
I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as your new representative in the California State Assembly. I look forward to advocating on behalf of every constituent in the 29th District, and I will work hard to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. I hope that your readers will take the time to call my office or send me an email if they would like to share their thoughts about issues that I will consider in Sacramento.
To weigh in on legislative or state budget issues, or for help resolving a problem with state government, your readers can contact me at my Santa Cruz office at 425-1503 or at my Monterey office at 649-2832.
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