PRIORITIES | Fox for CA Assembly

MELISSA'S PRIORITIES

COVID-19 RESPONSE AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY

The most important issue facing all of us right now is the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 150,000 Americans and sickened millions and the economic crisis it has caused.  

For the foreseeable future, the primary role of government -- at the national, state and local levels -- must be stopping the spread of this disease, helping to provide treatment and support to those who have become ill, and helping people and small businesses survive the pandemic's devastating impact on our economy.

Help must include financial assistance to workers who have lost their jobs, families that need help to stay in their homes, and small businesses that need help to keep their doors open and their people employed.    

When the pandemic subsides, the primary focus of government must then become helping families recover their financial stability, students recover lost their educational opportunities, and the small businesses that energize our communities recover their vibrancy. 

Public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic require strong leadership grounded in respect for science.  In sharp contrast to my opponent, who has flagrantly rejected the advice of scientists and public health experts, voted with anti-vaxxers, and given his unquestioning support to the disastrous mishandling of this pandemic by the Trump administration, I will listen carefully to the voices of scientists, public health experts, and first responders. 

Frontline workers support us. We must support them. That's why I fully support The Biden Plan to Combat COVID-19 and Prepare for Future Global Health Threats, which sets out an effective national emergency response to saves lives, protect frontline workers, and minimize the spread of COVID-19 and commits to economic measures to help hard-hit workers, families, and small businesses and to stabilize the American economy. 

Most importantly, I will ensure that California's economic recovery from COVID-19 will be based on helping Main Street, not Wall Street, and guided by the core values we share: compassion for those in need, fiscal responsibility, fairness and inclusion.

EDUCATION

Our public schools in California are significantly underfunded and the situation is even worse in the 68th Assembly District, where our current representative has done nothing to provide proper funding for our schools. The COVID-19 pandemic has made our schools' financial situation even worse, putting even greater burdens on our already over-stressed school districts.

 

I’ll fight to ensure that we get more funding for every school and every student in our District, and that we invest that funding in classrooms and teachers, not in more bureaucracy. I'll also fight for more funding for our community colleges as they work to provide essential educational and training programs to millions of Californians. 

CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT

Action on climate change is an existential imperative. Our environment is under assault from the Trump administration in all directions, including offshore drilling, fracking, dismantling established coal regulations, and eliminating California’s fuel emissions standards.

For Orange County, climate change means potentially devastating flooding along the coast and devastating wildfires inland. Unfortunately, my opponent is fully committed to the Trump anti-science and anti-environment agenda, does not believe that human activity is responsible for climate change, and has a lifetime rating of 6% from the League of Conservation Voters and 0% from the Sierra Club. My opponent "completely questions the idea of global warming being caused by human intervention. He opposes cap and trade and other government imposed environmental regulations, calling them an extreme effort to tax businesses and economic growth.” In contrast, I believe that global warming is an existential crisis that we must face and solve now. I'll fight to take decisive action to protect our planet -- and our neighborhoods -- from havoc and destruction due to climate change

On the Irvine City Council, I revived and then served as Chair of the Irvine Green Ribbon Environmental Committee, initiated new environmental protections, and fought for a separate Climate Action Plan and a Community Choice Energy Plan for Irvine. When my opponent was on the City Council, the terms "climate change" and :global warming" were was banned from all City documents and public statements.

I am also a strong advocate for increased transportation choices as a means of reducing both traffic congestion and air pollution. As an Irvine City Councilmember, I succeeded in creating a major expansion of iShuttle routes that is expected to have a significant positive impact on Irvine’s commuter traffic congestion. As a member of the Assembly, I will continue to advocate for state funding to create more convenient and less polluting transportation choices for the residents of the 68th Assembly District.

 

In Sacramento, I'll continue to fight for effective action on climate change and to protect our planet, not just for this generation but for all generations to follow.

Affordable HOUSING

California has an affordable housing crisis.  As Chair of the Irvine Community Land Trust, I've helped reduce homelessness and create affordable housing for families, veterans, and people with disabilities, and I’ve gone to Sacramento to fight for tax reductions for investments in affordable housing. As a member of Irvine's City Council, I've supported policies that have led to more affordable housing.  I've also worked with the state legislature to successfully amend our tax laws to make it easier to build affordable housing across our state.  In Sacramento, I’ll continue to fight for policies that create more affordable housing, reduce rents, and allow more residents of the 68th Assembly District to become homeowners. 

A THRIVING AND FAIR ECONOMY

I grew up in a middle-class family with two working parents believing in the American Dream that hard work leads to economic success. That dream is now under attack as President Trump and his allies push for an economy that benefits the super-rich and special interests and leaves too many Americans behind. 

 

We need a thriving, innovative, and fair economy that is focused on creating the good middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow. That means supporting economic policies that strengthen the middle class and create jobs that enable families to succeed. In the Assembly, I'll fight for a fair and thriving economy that benefits everyone.

HEALTH CARE

Health care is a human right, not a privilege reserved for the few. Too many of us are worried that we will not be able to afford the cost of the health care that we or our family members might need. The COVID-19 pandemic has only underscored the need for quality health care for everyone in our community.  Your health and peace of mind are important to me. In the Assembly, you can count on me to fight to reduce health care costs and for universal, quality health care for every Californian. I am committed to fighting the Trump administration's plans to take away health care from Americans and to keep the price of prescription drugs high. 

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

The question of what a pregnant woman should do when she does not want to raise a child is extremely personal for me, as my then 16-year-old birth mother had to navigate this decision herself when she became pregnant with me. I received a great gift from my birth mother’s decision to have me – but I would not have wanted her to have been forced by the government to give birth to me despite being unable at that time to care for a child. 

 

Whether or not to have an abortion – or whether to give a child up for adoption – is a deeply personal and often painful decision for a woman or couple to make, and it is a decision they have to make based on their own faith and values, not someone else’s – and certainly not the government’s. That's why I'm outraged at the attacks on women and their Constitutional reproductive rights from the Trump administration and its allies, and why I'm committed to protecting and defending women's access to reproductive health care services.

FIGHTING HATE AND DISCRIMINATION

President Trump’s reprehensible embrace of bigots and white supremacists has resulted in an alarming raise in hate crimes in Orange County, particularly anti-immigrant, anti-Black, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and anti-gay violence. 

 

Our current representative in the 68th Assembly District has a long and disturbing history of anti-Muslim bigotry, supporting the anti-Muslim Trump Travel Ban, opposing legislation prohibiting discrimination, and questioning the loyalty of Muslim-Americans. He has even said that Muslims are "unfit" to hold public office.

 

As a member of Irvine's City Council, I've celebrated diversity and fought against prejudice and for the rights and dignity of all people. In the Assembly, I’ll continue to fight to protect and defend the rights and dignity of all the residents of the 68th Assembly District. 

FIRE and disaster PROTECTION

As a quarter-million Californians fled from the path of deadly wildfires and thousands of firefighters did battle on the front lines, President Trump threatened to withhold federal aid and attacked California fire policies.  When Californians urgently needed federal disaster assistance, President Trump instead attacked us and played political games with Californians' lives.

 

President Trump’s shameful attack on California in the midst of catastrophic natural disaster was an attack on us all, especially our courageous first responders fighting to keep us safe on the front lines. Our current representative in the 68th Assembly District never stood up for California or for our first responders against Trump's attacks.

 

As the mother of a firefighter and a board member of the Orange County Fire Authority, I know the dedication of our firefighters and first responders who put their lives on the line to protect us.  I’ll fight to reduce wildfire risk, for increased investment in emergency response, and for swift and fair recovery for fire victims. And I'll fight for our firefighters and first responders and ensure they have every resource they need to protect our homes and families from fires and other natural disasters.

SAFER COMMUNITIES

I'm committed to ending the epidemic of gun violence in our communities. As a City Council member, I established a program with our police department to educate residents about how to use California's Red Flag Law and Gun Violence Restraining Orders.

 

In contrast to our current representative, who has consistently voted with the gun dealers and the NRA against common sense measures to reduce gun violence, I'll fight to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and make our schools and communities safer. 

As the daughter of a retired law enforcement officer, I know the difficulties faced by law enforcement and the sacrifices that law enforcement officers and their families make to keep our communities safe. As a City Council member I have successfully called for changes in the use of force policies of our police department, including banning choke holds and mandating the use of police body cameras, so that everyone in our community feels safe and respected in their interactions with the police. 

supporting our NATION'S veterans

I've been described by the Orange County Register as "an incredible advocate for veterans." For me, respecting and serving our veterans is more than a matter of policy; it's a moral issue. Our character as a community is defined in large part by how we treat those who have served and protected us. As the daughter of a combat veteran, I know the great sacrifices that military veterans have made for our country. As a member of the Assembly, I'll fight for veterans, their families and their communities to ensure they have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. That’s why I'm committed to investments in job-training and vocational education opportunities, to give returning veterans the tools they need to succeed.

In addition, I know that far too many veterans remain homeless or struggle with PTSD-related illnesses. We need to invest in funding for regional homeless services, street outreach for veterans, and urgent care beds, in addition to accessible mental health treatment. I'll also fight to improve health care services for veterans to ensure that they can always obtain the care they need and the respect they deserve.

My opponent was the only member of the California Assembly to vote against $24.5 million in state funding for the Southern California Veterans Cemetery.  In contrast, I have been fighting for a state veterans cemetery at the site for the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station since 2014.  I will ensure that our veterans in Orange County have a final resting place close to their families and loved ones.

making government transparent

The path towards a better and brighter democracy starts through greater government accountability. For too long, the toxic influence of special interests has infected government at all levels and resulted in policies that put the interests of giant corporations and greedy developers above the interests of the people of our District. 

As an elected official, I'm proud of my record in increasing government accountability, openness, and transparency. I've received the Orange County Taxpayers Watchdog Award for “demonstrating dedication to the protection of taxpayer funds and for the advocacy of government transparency and fiscal responsibility.”

Under my leadership, the Irvine Community land Trust was awarded the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, the world’s most respected source of information on nonprofit organizations.

I was also the only member of the Irvine City Council to oppose Measure D, which would have eliminated voter input into development decisions, because I believe that citizens must have a strong voice in deciding the future of their neighborhoods.

 

I enthusiastically supported the City’s adoption of the Irvine Sunshine Ordinance, which expanded public notice to four times longer than California law requires and prevents government action without full and informed participation from the community. I also supported approval of a two-year budget cycle, along with a five-year financial planning program, to bring more accountability to government spending. These were tremendous improvements in the openness and accuracy of the City's budgeting process, compared to the time when my opponent was in charge.

 

In the Assembly, I'll make sure that large corporations, developers, and special interests don't control government decisions. I'll fight to end the power of lobbyists and special interests to make backroom deals and fight for greater openness and transparency and restore openness, accountability, and responsibility to state government.