Let’s work together to help supermajority succeed
By JENNIFER MUIR BEUTHIN, Contributing Columnist
Every Monday morning when the California Legislature is in session, the early Southwest flight from John Wayne Airport to Sacramento is filled with our local state senators, Assembly members and an assortment of lobbyists and staffers headed to the Capitol.
Assemblyman Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, has been the lone Democrat surrounded by conservative lawmakers on many of those flights over the past two years.
For years, Orange County voters have predominately elected state representatives who are in the minority in Sacramento.
That has resulted in some challenging realities for our communities. Too few of our leaders have had a seat at the table to influence policy decisions that directly impact our neighborhoods and the services we need to stay safe and healthy. Orange County receives the lowest share of tax revenue of any county in the state. And there are surely untold ideas that never made it off the ground because our elected leaders lacked the political support to make them happen.
This year, Orange County is in a different position. In addition to veteran leadership under Assemblyman Daly, Orange County voters made history this year by helping Democrats secure a supermajority in both the Assembly and Senate.
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, ousted Republican incumbent Young Kim and returned to the capitol this week after spending the past two years as a school teacher in her hometown of Fullerton. When she served in the Capitol from 2012 to 2014, she was able to move an aggressive agenda focusing on education, veterans and good jobs. Her efforts working with the veteran community, for example, established some funding and a location for a veterans cemetery in the city of Irvine — work she will hopefully be able to continue now that she’s back in Sacramento.
Senator Josh Newman, also a Democrat, was elected in a close race to fill the seat left vacant by termed-out Republican Senator Bob Huff. Newman, an Army veteran and Yale Graduate, also is a longtime advocate for veterans, and he brings a bold voice rooted in community.
This week, he pushed his daughter Cecily in a stroller through the Capitol along with family and friends to be sworn in to his first elected office.
A supermajority allows Democrats to enact urgent laws immediately and override a governor’s veto, among other things.
If Republicans are thinking about this election from a purely partisan perspective, then they will be spending the next two years looking for “gotcha” moments to put both of these leaders on their heels.
I would like to suggest a better way. We have a unique opportunity in Orange County because of the recent election to make a broad and significant impact on programs that affect our communities, and the ability to mobilize resources that will improve the health and safety of our neighborhoods.
Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva and Senator Newman will need input and support from our entire community so they can represent all of us.
So let’s get behind them as they work for all of us in Orange County and support their efforts to make our communities a priority in the halls of the state Capitol.
Jennifer Muir Beuthin is general manager of the Orange County Employees Association.
Publication Date: December 9, 2016