After serving six years in the state Assembly representing much of Santa Barbara County, it is unfortunately time to say good-bye, at least in my current capacity. Term limits meant I could not seek re-election in the state Assembly.
I am fortunate, however, to continue as your public servant, in a different role. Beginning in early January I will be sworn in as your First District County Supervisor. I look forward to serving in this new opportunity, and I intend to bring the same passion and vigor to the County office that I carried while in Sacramento.
I invite you all to attend the swearing-in ceremony, January 10, on the fourth floor of the Santa Barbara County Administration building, 105 East Anapamu Street. This new public service role is as much about you as it is me. We have made this journey together.
I would like to take a moment to recall some of the accomplishments that we achieved together over the past six years, serving as your Assembly member.
First I would like to make something clear: Much legislative work took place in Sacramento, far away from my home, but the most rewarding and fulfilling work comes when I get to meet and talk with local residents.
Together, we have accomplished great things. Among them:
Through AB 1564, I led efforts to reroute emergency calls from wireless phones to the nearest public safety office instead of the system’s default California Highway Patrol, which has caused dangerous delays. This work will eventually lead to first responders having the capability to respond quicker and more effectively.
I authored AB 2729, which ensures that funding is available to cap idle wells and creates disincentives for operators to maintain large numbers of idle wells. California has more than 21,000 idle wells, 2,200 of which are in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
The governor signed AB 2247, which allows local agencies the first option to purchase the downtown Armory located between Santa Barbara Junior High and Santa Barbara High School. Thanks to the passage of this bill, the building will one day be transformed into a home for school, educational, and recreational activities.
I am also proud of my AB 3, signed by the governor, which authorized the creation of a community services district in Isla Vista. Isla Vista voters approved the Community Services District in November. For Isla Vista residents, the creation of the district will lead to services such as tenant mediation, a contract for additional police services and the possible creation of a parking district.
And our work together stretched beyond the district.
Statewide, I am most proud of putting the state on the right fiscal track while investing in education.
In the legislature, I was part of a team that worked to balance the state budget, on time, every year. Fiscal responsibility with your tax dollars has driven me in every decision I made in the legislature.
We made great strides in the area of climate change, including shepherding and passing of SB 350 in 2015. This bill enacted the “Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015,” which established targets to increase retail sales of renewable electricity to 50 percent by 2030 and double the energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas end uses by 2030.
My office also passed AJR 43, which called on the U.S. House of Representatives to enact a tax on carbon-based fossil fuels. In addition, I passed a bill that requires the Energy Commission, CARB and Public Utilities Commission to consider and adopt policies and incentives to increase the use of renewable gas.
I also worked hard on AB 2139. Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, which calls on environmentalists and government officials to collaborate and find solutions to the emerging problem of ocean acidification and its potentially devastating impact on ocean health.
In the area of education, we passed AB 1985, which requires the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, in conjunction with the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, to develop and adopt a uniform policy to award credit for general education courses to a student who passes an AP exam. Currently, AP Exam credit and placement policies vary throughout community colleges.
In addition, my AB 955 was signed into law. It allows community colleges under a pilot program, to offer summer or winter extension courses for students who looking to finish courses quickly and transfer to a 4-year institution.
I am honored and humbled by your determination to make the state and Santa Barbara County one of the best, most livable cities in the world. I look forward to the next chapter, and continuing to serve you.