Solving the homelessness challenge requires a collective response. Los Angeles County residents understand this because we overwhelmingly agreed to increase our taxes with the passage of Measure H to help solve this issue that touches every community across our county.
As Chair of the State Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, I worked to allocate $500 million in funding to 11 big cities across the state, resulting in $166 million in funding for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Funding is one key component but not the only solution. Our unhoused residents face a diverse range of challenges and failed systems that have gotten them to this point. Data and personal testimonies show us that if we want to make a long term impact it is no longer effective to save housing as a carrot for proving yourself but instead housing must be the solution for helping people get back on their feet. This is why I support diverse solutions to efficiently apply Measure H funding to prevent and help end homelessness with outreach, rapid housing, bridge housing, seamless resident on-boarding to services, and permanent housing.
I have always stood with and fought for working families. This has meant creating and supporting policies that protect the rights of organized labor, increasing access to resources that strengthen the employability of residents, and helping to keep industries with good paying jobs in our community. Most recently, I authored Senate Bill 951 to renew the Film and TV Tax Credit. SB 951 helps keep behind-the-scenes production jobs that impact thousands of residents right here in Los Angeles county - the entertainment capital of the world.
Los Angeles County has a growing number of industries from tech to manufacturing that make our economy a hub for ingenuity and opportunity. I will continue to work to ensure communities are not sidelined from accessing all that our economy has to offer. Every person has the right to earn a living that allows them to do more than just survive, but to thrive. Achieving this requires collaborating with multiple community partners and systems to create policies that help keep good paying jobs in our community and strengthening the resources -- community colleges, job resource centers, CalFresh and many more -- that residents need to enter and advance in the workforce.
Protecting Our Children
The 2008 statewide budget cuts to early care and education inspired me to take my experience as a single parent and the CEO of Crystal Stairs -- the largest child and family development non-profit in the state -- and run for office. In the legislature, I am most proud of having led the repeal of the Maximum Family Grant Rule that prohibited families from receiving vital financial support through CalWORKS. This win was about saying no to making our children suffer at the expense of unjust policies that expand rather than end poverty.
From fighting to end child sex trafficking, removing bureaucratic barriers that make it hard for foster youth to be adopted by their relatives, to increasing funding for early childhood development services; my work remains focused on protecting our children and future generations. LA County is home to one-third of state’s children, and we have a responsibility to safeguard their future. I will continue to put forward common sense policies and protect effective safety nets that meet the realities and challenges of families in Los Angeles County.
Criminal Justice Reform
I have put forth an unprecedented package of criminal justice reform bills that were signed into law. The #EquityandJustice package consists of ten laws that reduce sentence enhancements for low level drug offenses, remove court fees for the innocent, seal arrest records for people not convicted, stop the sentencing of juveniles to life without parole and much more. #EquityandJustice is about prevention, rehabilitation, protecting our children and maintaining family cohesion.
I am committed to advancing the wins we have made in criminal justice reform here in Los Angeles County -- home to the largest jail system in the world. We have a responsibility to lead by example as we create a California that incarcerates fewer people, confronts racial disparities in our criminal justice system, and ends the school-to-prison pipeline.
We have to prioritize solutions that remove barriers and expand access to mental health care. A good start in this direction is to stop the underfunding of mental health services across Los Angeles County. These services are desperately needed by our most vulnerable residents, including those who are homeless.
My work to improve and expand mental health services is centered on putting people first and ensuring quality and compassionate care. I authored a bill (Senate Bill 323), that was passed and signed into law to make it easier for health centers and the county to work together in quickly and effectively providing drug use and disorder treatments. I will continue to craft solutions informed by the realities of those most impacted and will work to ensure state funding for services to the county are effectively serving its clients and the residents of District 2.
Health and medical care can be the most expensive services for residents in Los Angeles County, especially those living in the 2nd District. A large percentage of working families are being priced out of the health insurance market at a time when insurance companies are raising healthcare premiums. This impacts both workers and small businesses. We need to make healthcare affordable for all residents.
This why as State Senator I voted for the Healthy California Act – a bill that would provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage and help control the high costs of quality care for all Californians. Los Angeles County residents should not have to choose between vital health coverage or a financial crisis. As County Supervisor, I will continue to advocate for affordable, quality, and preventative healthcare solutions that address the unique healthcare needs of district residents.
The threats to our environment are real and require collective action. Air pollution, wildfires, droughts and a lack of open space, have serious health and financial consequences for Los Angeles County residents. This is why I support and will work to strengthen the county's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, expand access to renewable energy, create more open spaces, and achieve a zero emissions public transportation system.
I know that climate change is real and I will continue to fight against fracking and off-shore drilling. I have supported legislation that prohibits oil drilling in state waters (SB 834), increases investments in our natural ecosystem, (SB30) and places California on track to 100% renewable energy by 2045 (SB 100). My work in helping to pass environmentally friendly laws has earned me a 100% score from the California League of Conservation Voters. We cannot rest on the progress we have made as a state. This why I will continue to promote an inclusive approach to environmental justice in LA County, one that conserves our vast and diverse ecosystem while addressing the root causes for higher rates of pollution in our vulnerable communities.