Our economy is beginning to improve, but we have a long way to go toward a full recovery. That’s why I will advocate for strategic investments in infrastructure, as well as new innovations and energy technologies to create jobs now and reduce our dependence on foreign and domestic oil in the future. Small businesses are the backbone of Ventura County’s economy and I believe that we should break down barriers and help provide access to capital for small business job creators so they can start hiring again, compete in the global marketplace, and be a thriving part of Ventura County’s economic future. Additionally, investing in our public education systems will ensure that California’s youth are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.
I have dedicated most of my career to improving our schools, colleges and universities because I believe in a brighter future for California’s kids. I first became involved with education as a local PTA leader when my children were young, continued as an elected School Board Member for 12 years, and have been the California Assembly Education Chair for the last four years. As Education Chair, I have championed legislation to improve curriculum frameworks, established Common Core standards for math and language arts, raised California’s standards for biliterate students, music and the arts, and provided more professional development for California’s teachers. To ensure all kids have the opportunity for a quality education, I have had bills signed into law that helped school districts buy new textbooks, eliminated school enrollment delays for foster care youth, and cut school administration costs to send more education funding directly to the classroom. I have spent my career working closely with the California State PTA, teachers, and school principals to demand that the Governor and Legislature create a state plan for excellence in education. I also believe we must expand access to college education and careers so that we have the skilled workforce we need to grow our economy.
Protecting and preserving the environment for future generations is essential and requires careful stewardship of our precious natural resources. Environmental protection is also key to growing our vibrant 21st century economy. I have been a staunch advocate for moving America away from our dependence on dirty fossil fuels and foreign oil, and have supported efforts to cut our greenhouse gas emissions. We must become energy independent and make strategic investments in clean, renewable, and sustainable energy right here at home. I will continue to fight for the protection of our coastlines and open spaces, as well as a healthy environment for our community and our country. I have been and will continue to be deeply involved in cleaning up chemical and radioactive contamination at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, and the clean up of the former Halaco metal smelting operation to better protect the health and safety of our community.
Balancing our budget does not mean doing so off the backs of America’s seniors, who have paid a lifetime into Medicare and Social Security while “Big Oil” and the ultra rich get more tax breaks. Republicans want to turn Medicare into a voucher system, which would drastically reduce seniors’ benefits and cause seniors’ health care and prescription drug costs to skyrocket. I will vigorously oppose proposals that unfairly target seniors, who have played by the rules and worked for the benefits they’ve earned.
Social Security is an American success story and part of the fabric that safeguards economic security and independence for those who have grown older or become disabled. I will always keep our country’s commitment to seniors.
I strongly believe that every American deserves access to affordable, high quality health care. The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 made some much needed improvements to our health care system, such as eliminating the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26. But the law also has problems in areas such as reducing growth in future Medicare spending. While health insurance premiums soar, so do insurance company profits at the expense of hard working, middle class Americans. In Congress, I will continue to work to reduce the cost and improve the quality of health care, hold insurance companies accountable, and put individuals and their doctors back in control of their health care.
America has always been a beacon of liberty and civil justice, supported by the strongest and finest all-volunteer military in the world. Our troops answer every call and make great sacrifices to protect our nation. I have been enormously proud to have Naval Base Ventura County as a part of my Assembly District and recognize its vital importance to our community. Protecting our base will be one of my first priorities in Congress.
I will also fight to ensure Ventura County’s veterans and their families have access to the services they need, including quality health care, housing, job assistance, and education. For their service, we owe our veterans a solemn debt, and they must not be forgotten as they transition back into civilian life.
Following the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows political groups to give unlimited money to political campaigns and run advertisements, campaign spending has reached unprecedented levels. In the California Assembly, I have championed campaign finance reform as author of the California Disclose Act that would require the top donors of political advertisements for candidates and initiatives to be clearly identified on all mediums of political advertising, whether TV, radio or print. This is common-sense legislation that will allow voters to be much better informed about the information they receive.
In Congress, I will support the federal legislation known as the DISCLOSE Act, that would create the same transparency on a national level. We must work to shift political influence back toward the American people and away from the special interests.
Our country is a country of immigrants and there is no doubt that our immigration system is broken and needs a common sense approach to comprehensive reform. Immigration reform should reflect our values as a nation, which include consideration of the importance of families and communities, and does not unnecessarily damage our economic vitality and competiveness. I would advocate for the creation of an earned pathway to citizenship, coupled with increased border security measures and mechanisms to both hold employers who knowingly violate the law accountable and make sure that workers and businesses pay their fair share of taxes.