COVID-19 has claimed the lives of about 1.8 million people worldwide, approximately 27,000 of which are right here in California. The virus captures our attention, while many other long-standing issues are ignored.
We aren’t prepared for the next drought, wildfires pose an ever-increasing threat, and our insufficient power grid has led to rolling blackouts as a fire prevention tactic. Violent crime is rising and our already-failing education system is in shambles after almost a year of COVID-19. Homelessness is a national disgrace. The exodus of Californians into more livable states is chipping away our tax base and could cost us congressional representation. The opioid epidemic is still devastating families and communities. Economic devastation is spreading, and even many businesses that remained open are teetering on the brink. Thousands of Californians are struggling to receive unemployment benefits they are owed due to massive EDD failures.
Last year, COVID-19 closures cut short the legislative session, limiting our ability to respond. This year, lawmakers must get to work and stay at work despite the pandemic. Suffering Californians deserve no less.
The governor is well intentioned but incapable of fixing problems on his own. The persistent issues at EDD prove that. Big announcements, with task forces and strike teams that accomplish nothing are not the answer. I stand ready to tackle these issues in a bi-partisan manner. Last session, for example, my colleagues and I called for a special session to stay and work, but our requests were ignored. Things only got worse.
The COVID-19 health crisis quickly morphed into an economic crisis. Our duty is to make the changes and reforms needed to get California moving again, to give every person the opportunity to thrive – in a safe environment – so all can achieve their potential and their dreams. Let’s get started.