Jobs

Jobs and careers build purpose, stabilize families, and offer dignity. Getting people employed and working for fair wages provides the fuel of prosperous neighborhoods. My aim is to help create good jobs and to nurture talent in the people who want those jobs. In addition to increasing access to higher education, I prioritize the expansion of vocational, career, and technical education programs that furnish the skills needed to develop career goals and score high-wage jobs. That’s why I fought for a budget that provides two years of community college free of charge.

For our district to thrive in the rapidly changing global economy, we need to cultivate new industries (technology, clean energy) and invigorate the existing ones (sports, entertainment, transportation). For that reason, I authored Assembly Bill 987 to help build the new state-of-the-art Los Angeles Clippers sports arena in the City of Inglewood, creating thousands of jobs and generating millions in public revenue for vital services for our region.

I worked to ensure the budget extends California’s earned income tax credit — a cash rebate to low-income workers — and increases free childcare and preschool slots for working families. I’m also partnering with the MTA on an expansion of the Metro Crenshaw Line to bring greater public transportation access and quality jobs to our district.

Growing small business and entrepreneurial thinking, matching people with jobs they love, and finding ways that make getting to work easier are priorities of mine. My role as a member on the Assembly Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and on the Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet allows me to steer meaningful employment programs and policies for California.

 Education

In the early days of my career, as an advocate at Crystal Stairs, a nonprofit providing childcare and early learning to Los Angeles County children, including those in foster care, I saw firsthand how high-quality, early childhood education improves the lives of families. As your Assemblymember, I fought for the budget (signed into law on July 1st, 2019) that affords free public preschool for all 4-year-olds living in neighborhoods where most school children are low income. It’s a step toward my long-term objective to implement free, universal preschool throughout our state.

Informed in part by the time I spent on the Los Angeles Community College Board, I’m committed to finding a way to fund free education for a student’s complete path from early childhood through higher education, including college. This year, we increased the state budget to provide two years of free community college tuition for first-time, full-time students. We also passed a tuition freeze and increased enrollment slots at University of California and Cal State University systems for the coming academic year.

Eliminating discrimination in schools is critical to learning. I coauthored AB 2735, which ensures English learners are not denied enrollment in core curriculum courses required for high school graduation, and SB 188 to end discrimination based on a person’s natural hairstyle, a law intended to reverse the racist ideology that Black traits are inferior traits.

Education is the great equalizer. I seek to grow opportunities for all students to pursue education and to make those educational environments more equal and encouraging for everyone.

I’m proud to represent the many institutions of higher learning in the district, including UCLA and West Los Angeles Community College.

Clean Air & Water

Everyone everywhere has a fundamental right to breathe clean air, drink pure water, and play or relax in safe green spaces. It’s more urgent than ever before that we take steps, guided by science, to preserve those basic rights and to reduce human impact on our environment so our planet continues to sustain us.

I’m proud to serve as a member of the Environmental Caucus, advocating for crucial legislation on environmental issues facing our state, as well as on the Committee on Coastal Protection and Access to Natural Resources.

As your Assemblymember, I championed laws that establish groundbreaking environmental protection standards. I introduced AB 1100, to increase parking infrastructure for electric-vehicle charging, and AB 987, the bill that delivers the new Clippers stadium to Inglewood and which requires the arena and associated developments to meet a net-zero greenhouse gas emission standard. I also co-authored SB 54 and AB 1080, policies to reduce pollution from plastic packaging and products, including single-use plastic straws.

I’m committed to protecting the quality of our air and water, developing green space, defending our public lands, and keeping California a leader in the fight against global climate change.

 Criminal Justice Reform

Our nation jails more of its people than virtually any other in the world. Evidence confirms that mass incarceration emerged as a byproduct of the Jim Crow laws of racial segregation. Yet still the most vulnerable among us – the poor, people of color, young people – are most at risk of being arrested and entering our criminal justice system.

What’s more, women are the largest growing prison population. Female inmates continue to suffer from inadequate medical care and overall conditions of neglect and abuse. Offered fewer educational and vocational training programs than male counterparts, these women experience high rates of recidivism and failed transitions back into civilian life.

We can do better.

That’s why I’m fighting for change as Chair of the Select Committee on Incarcerated Women and as a member on the Assembly Committees on:
1. Public Safety, overseeing the California Penal Code;
2. Community and Law Enforcement Relations and Responsibilities; and
3. Ending the School to Prison Pipeline.

We need to ensure due process and equal treatment, starting even before someone enters the system. We also need to open the door for real conversations about how our law enforcement is overworked and over-traumatized, how our law enforcement can rebuild the trust of the communities they are tasked to protect, and how officers may fear for their lives when they enter those communities. That formula is combustible.

We must create ways to train impartiality, evolve the practices of our law enforcement and other decision makers, and replace the “us versus them” paradigm with a “we” mindset. I believe in advancing smart strategies that contribute to safer neighborhoods for all, and that is my priority.

I’ve introduced three bills (AB 241, 242, 243) that require mandatory training on implicit bias for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, judges, and trial lawyers. I aim to permanently close private prisons, which prey predominately on the poor and people of color. I fought for:

  • SB 1391, prohibiting 14- and 15-year-olds from being tried as adults and sent to adult prison;
  • SB 10, eliminating the discriminatory cash bail system for those awaiting trial on misdemeanors;
  • SB 1421, allowing for public access to peace officers’ personnel records; and
  • the California Act to Save Lives (AB 392), a common-sense bill mandating that police officers should only use deadly force when necessary.

I’ve challenged the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to adhere to standards established by the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and improve its role in ensuring fair and thorough investigations of CDCR staff misconduct. And I’ve confronted the CDCR for accountability on its decision to decline participation in a first-of-its-kind study (Johns Hopkins University, March 2019) about incarcerated women who are pregnant and what happens to their babies. After all, how can the CDCR solve a problem without knowing the scope?

In addition, I coauthored ACA 6, which grants parolees the right to vote, and AB 2448, which guarantees youth in foster care and juvenile facilities reasonable access to computer technology and the internet.

We can achieve more reasonable and humane treatment of those suspected or accused of a crime, the incarcerated, and parolees. We can create second-chance opportunities and put people who enter the criminal justice system on the path to a better future – while preventing crime and making our state safer.

Healthcare

California can pave the way to quality, affordable healthcare for all that includes real cost controls on pharmaceutical drug prices and hospitalization costs. Though the Trump administration is chipping away at both women’s reproductive rights and the Affordable Care Act, I’m determined to fight the dangerous policies that erode the progress we’ve made. I fought for a budget that preserves health coverage protections for Californians and includes policies that lead the nation in reducing health care costs and increasing access for women, families, and seniors.

I serve as a member of the Women’s Caucus and the Select Committee on Women’s Reproductive Health, fighting for laws that improve the lives of women, children, and families. I’m proud to support a woman’s fundamental right to control her own reproductive decisions, and access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including the services provided by Planned Parenthood.

I look forward to working with Governor Newsom on finding an achievable path to universal healthcare in California that bypasses the obstacles Trump and his administration are throwing at us – and guarantees the funding to support its longevity.

 Homelessness and Housing

The cost of housing in California has skyrocketed, making buying or renting a home unaffordable for most everyone except high income earners. The lack of affordable housing places families in increasingly unstable living situations and is one of the causes of the homelessness crisis. People should have affordable options – and those who work here, including local teachers and firefighters, should also be able to afford to live here without it costing three-quarters of their income.

I’m pleased to report that I helped pass the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2019 in the State Assembly. And I’m proud to have fought for a budget that increases job programs, such as California Work Opportunity grants, assists low-income families with paying for housing, food, and other necessities, and alleviates the factors that lead some people to homelessness. I also authored AB 1745 to protect tenants from having evictions added to their credit report. I will continue to make affordable housing a top priority.

For those already living on the streets or in their cars, the budget earmarks $675 million in funding for the construction and expansion of emergency shelters and navigation centers, rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, and innovative projects like hotel and motel conversions. These funds will go to cities and counties and will have accountability measures attached, including required reporting on how dollars will be spent to meet the goal of moving the homeless into permanent housing.