Op-Eds

On June 7, California’s annual Nonprofits Day ceremony was held on the South Lawn of the State Capitol. The ceremony salutes nonprofits that do so much to improve our communities and enhance our lives. This year, 113 nonprofits from throughout California were honored. For a full list of honorees by region, please click here. I was very pleased to recognize the Southern Indian Health Council (SIHC), based in Alpine, as the 75th Assembly District’s Nonprofit of the Year for 2023. SIHC serves seven local tribes in southeast San Diego County, including Barona, Campo, Ewiiaapaayp, Jamul, La Posta… read more
This year, the “House of Origin Deadline” was June 2nd, the final day for bills to pass the house in which they were first introduced. Any bills that failed to pass by the deadline have died. Legislation that made it through included AB 1741, which I introduced to help solve the shortage of clinical laboratory personnel that has impacted test processing for patients here locally and throughout California. The bill passed without opposition and expands the duties that unlicensed personnel who meet specified education/training criteria can perform under direct supervision of licensed personnel… read more
May was Wildfire Preparedness Month, with the danger of wildfires increasing as we head into summer. Last winter’s record rainfall generated a massive amount of fuel throughout California, and San Diego County is no exception. Drive down almost any road in the backcountry and you’ll see overgrown and increasingly dry vegetation everyplace you look. Summer is coming, and the new growth is just waiting for a spark. Defensible space around homes is absolutely essential, especially for those living in the backcountry. Minimum requirements are 100 feet around each structure – your local fire… read more
Last week was Wine Week in San Diego County, a celebration of the contributions our local vintners make to our economy and lifestyle. As a member of the Assembly Select Committee on Wine, I do all I can to support this vital part of San Diego’s agricultural industry, sustaining San Diego County’s position as the 19th largest farm economy in the United States.  San Diego County has a well-established history in the wine industry. The first vineyards in California were planted by the Friars at Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769. In 2022, County wineries generated about $49.1 million in gross… read more
On Tuesday, May 9th, we recognized National Fentanyl Awareness Day.  Each month, fentanyl claims the lives of 500 Californians and nationally, fentanyl overdose deaths more than tripled over the past few years. I serve on the state’s first Select Committee on Fentanyl, Opioid Addiction, and Overdose Prevention. I intend to bring attention to the fentanyl trafficked through the Southern Border, mostly through our district, and the thousands of lives lost in San Diego County, many from accidental overdoses. We are looking forward to our first hearing this month. We need to focus on… read more
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing well over 90% of California’s workers. As a small business owner, my experience coping with overbearing bureaucracy and unnecessary regulations were some of the main reasons I first ran for public office. Obviously, California should do more to encourage small business formation and their ongoing success, including removing unnecessary barriers. That’s why I supported AB 626 in 2018. This bipartisan bill authorized Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKOs), allowing people to sell “cottage food” from their homes. MEHKOs… read more
Millions of Californians live in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), many located in rural parts of the state, like in my district. Improving access to healthcare for those living in underserved areas has been a major focus for me in Sacramento. The California Health Foundation notes that rural residents including tribal lands, are often confronted with serious obstacles when trying to access healthcare. These include provider shortages, hospital closures, higher maternal morbidity and mortality rates, and limited access to treatments for opioid disorders. Several areas in San Diego… read more
One of my passions in public service is encouraging young women to fulfill their life’s potential by taking full advantage of available educational opportunities. As a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, I am happy to spread the word about the Minerva Scholarship program. Now in its fourth year, the scholarship was established by the Women in California Leadership Foundation to educate, support and empower young women and girls. The Foundation is committed to providing select young women of good character and demonstrated accomplishments with scholarships to help them achieve their… read more
California has long been recognized for its unfriendly business climate. During the pandemic, a bad situation got worse when the state forced thousands of mostly small businesses to shut down, driving many companies into bankruptcy and forcing layoffs for thousands of workers. The last thing we need now are more laws imposing greater burdens on the businesses that survived, and in many cases are still trying to recover. Unfortunately, some in Sacramento don’t get that, and apparently want to make matters worse. The California Chamber of Commerce has just come out with this year’s “Job Killer… read more
On March 28th,  the Native American Caucus held a hearing in Sacramento to discuss fentanyl’s impact on tribal communities and to raise awareness along with identifying solutions to the crisis.  As a member of the Caucus, I was extremely honored to take part in this eye-opening discussion. Participants included representatives from reservations throughout California, including the Pala Band of Indians and the Manzanita Band, both from San Diego County. Healthcare providers, law enforcement and other tribal officials attended. A few sobering statistics from Northern California were provided… read more