Voter’s Edge California
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Voter’s Edge California
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MapLight
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
November 8, 2016 — Elección General de California
Boleta y información de la votación para el state of California.
Este archivo pertenece a una elección pasada.

Distrito 39Asamblea Estatal de CaliforniaNovember 8, 2016Elección General de California

November 8, 2016Elección General de California

Asamblea Estatal de CaliforniaDistrito 39

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Resultados electorales

  • 100% de distritos activos (214/214).

Sobre este cargo

State assembly members introduce and vote on new laws, hold hearings, and draft the state budget. They are elected to two-year terms.
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¿Quién se está postulando?

For this office, only the two candidates who get the most votes in the primary election appear in the general election. This is because of California's "top two" system. In some cases, the two candidates may be from the same political party.
Candidates are sorted in order of election results.
Photo de  Raul Bocanegra
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Raul Bocanegra

Demócrata
Profesor, pequeño empresario
74,834 votos (60.1%)Winning
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Dinero total recaudado: $1,135,833

A continuación, le presentamos los mayores contribuyentes que dieron dinero para apoyar al (a los) candidato(s).

1
California Trucking Association
$18,727
2
California Association of Realtors
$17,000
2
State Building & Construction Trades Council of California
$17,000
3
Southern California Pipe Trades District Council 16
$15,750
4
IBEW Local 11
$12,000

Por estado:

California 81.36%
Texas 2.99%
District of Columbia 2.32%
Florida 2.20%
Other 11.13%
81.36%11.13%

Por tamaño:

Contribuciones grandes (99.85%)
Contribuciones pequeñas (0.15%)
99.85%

Por tipo:

De organizaciones (95.41%)
De individuos (4.59%)
95.41%
Fuente: Análisis de datos de la Secretaría del Estado de California de MapLight.
Demócrata
Asambleísta, Distrito 39
49,649 votos (39.9%)
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  • Apoyo y financiamiento completo para la educación de adultos
  • Proteger nuestro medio ambiente, detener el calentamiento global y conservar los parques y los espacios abiertos para las futuras generaciones.
  • Apoyo a las familias trabajadoras y trabajo para ampliar las oportunidades económicas y de empleo
Profesión:Asambleísta Estatal de California, 39.° Distrito
Asambleísta estatal de California, Legislatura estatal de California (2014actual)
Asambleísta, Asamblea Estatal de California — Cargo elegido (2014actual)
Representante comunitario, Centro Ocupacional de North Valley - Centro de Aviación (20102013)
Comisionada municipal, Comisión de Educación de la Ciudad de San Fernando — Cargo designado (20102013)
Founder and Co-President, Padres Activos of the San Fernando Valley (19952014)

First elected in 2014, Assemblywoman Patty Lopez proudly represents the 39th Assembly District in the California State Legislature.  While she may be new to politics, she is not new to public service, having worked as a community organizer and civil rights activist for over 20 years. 

Patty’s personal story is one that demonstrates the American Dream is still possible.  Born the youngest of 14 children to an impoverished family in Michoacan, Mexico, Patty immigrated to the United States with her family when she was just 12 years old.  Settling in Pacoima, Patty soon began working to help support her family and was unable to complete her formal education.

No stranger to hard work, Patty spent her teens and twenties cleaning houses, babysitting children, working as a professional in-home caretaker for elder adults, and taking orders at fast food restaurants.  She decided she wanted more than that, not so much for herself but for her children and also her aging parents who she and her husband, Juan, a fellow immigrant from Jalisco, Mexico, found themselves taking care of.  So she decided to seek the education she had not had as a child.  Through self-study, she taught herself how to speak English, attended adult school at night, earned her GED, and took formal vocational classes in Spanish at Los Angeles Community College.  In 2000, Patty became a United States citizen, one of the proudest moments of her life.  

Because of her education, she eventually became a Community Representative for the North Valley Occupational Center.  As a Community Representative she served as a liaison between schools, planned community events, and coordinated the ESL/CBET programs which support teachers, parents, and (most importantly) students.  She dedicated herself to working with troubled youth counseling them on career paths and helping foreign literate immigrants find job training and English immersion programs.  Her own educational experience instilled in her a lifelong passion for improving access to public education and job training programs.

In the 1990’s, Patty and her best friend founded the Padres Activos of the San Fernando Valley, a grassroots organization that helps Spanish speaking immigrant parents with students in public schools navigate the educational system.  Too often, immigrant parents struggled to ensure their children had the access to educational resources they deserved and protect their children’s rights and were ignored by school administrators.  Padres Activos of the San Fernando Valley worked to change this disparity.  As a result of her work, she has been honored by the United Way and the Mexican Legal Defense and Educational Fund. 

In 2013, Patty decided that she would run for the State Assembly.  She was upset over the fact that adult educational services programs including English language immersion programs had been slashed and eliminated.  When she and her fellow activists went to Sacramento to try and lobby to save these programs, the doors were slammed in their faces.  She was genuinely disappointed with politics as usual where it seemed like elected officials weren’t listening.  A community organizer, she decided to run in order to make a statement.  She never expected to win but hoped to voice how fed up she was with the status quo and bring attention to the issues that mattered to her and so many of her friends, family, and neighbors. 

As it turned out, a majority of Patty’s fellow constituents in the 39th District felt the same way as she did and on November 4, 2014, they elected her to represent them in California State Assembly. 

In the California State Legislature, Patty has stood out for her unique accessibility to her constituents and her focus on improving constituent services in her long neglected district. She and her staff work tirelessly to help constituents in need with late nights and working weekends being the norm.  She moved her district office space from an isolated corner of her district located off a freeway off-ramp with no parking for the public or mass transit accessibility to downtown San Fernando, in order to make her office more accessible for all her constituents.  She also saved the taxpayers a great deal of money in the process as her new district office costs less than half of what the old space cost for the same amount of space.  She has spearheaded initiatives to revive park space proposals throughout her district and spent time meeting with business leaders looking for ways to bring new businesses and jobs to her district.  Although she is a proud progressive, she is willing to work for any constituent regardless of their political views or party.  

As a State Legislator, she is proud of her environmental voting record which in 2015 received 100% ratings from both the California League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club.  She has the highest environmental ranking of any elected Latino currently serving in the entire California State Legislature.  Undaunted by the challenges she faced in becoming an elected lawmaker, as a State Assemblywoman, Patty was able to pass five pieces of legislation, four of which were signed into law by the Governor.  Her legislation helps protect students and immigrants and increases and expands access to critical social services.  Her proudest achievement was her successful legislation to allow the right to dry for residents of multi-unit residential complexes who were forced to use commercial dryers instead of clotheslines.  This legislation was not only beneficial to the environment but helped the working poor.  Today, thanks to Patty’s hard work, Californians have the right to dry regardless of where they live.  

As the only naturalized citizen and the only primarily Spanish speaking individual in the entire California State Legislature, Patty recognizes the great responsibility she has to represent not only the constituents of the 39th District but all of California’s naturalized citizens who come from all parts of the globe.  It is out of this duty that she has used the bully pulpit of the California State Assembly to rally for the rights of undocumented immigrants and transgendered individuals and to stand up against Donald Trump and the Republican Presidential field.  

Patty Lopez’s personal story represents the American Dream and the core values of the Democratic Party.  As a State Assemblywoman, she has been outstanding in her dedication to her constituents and unapologetically progressive in her voting record.  In her reelection bid, she would be honored to have your vote.

  • Service Employees International Union (Local 2015, Local 99, State Service Employees Council, United Healthcare Workers)
  • California League of Conservation Voters & Sierra Club
  • California Nurses Association
  • Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks)
  • Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova)
  • Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park)
  • Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda)
  • State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara)
  • Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose)
  • Los Angeles Unified School Board Member Scott Schmerelson (R - Los Angeles)
  • Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)
  • Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier)
  • Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown (D-Rialto)
  • Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood)
  • State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)
  • Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton)
  • Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens)
  • West Hollywood City Councilman John Heilman
  • The North Valley Reporter
  • Hispanidad Magazine
  • Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
  • Los Angeles Daily News
  • Chicano Latino Immigrant Democratic Club of Los Angeles County
  • California Teachers Association
  • United Teachers of Los Angeles
  • California Nurses Association
  • National Women's Political Caucus - San Fernando Valley Chapter
  • National Political Women's Caucus - Metro Los Angeles Chapter
  • California Legislative Latino Caucus
  • California Legislative Women’s Caucus
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • California Nurses Association
  • SEIU State Service Employees Council
  • SEIU Local 99
  • SEIU Local 2015
  • SEIU United Healthcare Workers West
  • Democrats for Israel - Los Angeles Chapter
  • California League of Conservation Voters
  • California Chiropractic Association
  • Gilbert Berriozabal, City of San Fernando Transportation and Safety Commissioner (Retired)
  • Gina Felix-Goldman, Actress and Community Activist
  • R.L. Miller, Chairwoman of the California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus
  • Jim Leahy, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center (Retired)
  • Nina Royal, Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council Member (Retired)
  • Renato Lira, LGBT Civil Rights Activist
  • David Barron, City of Los Angeles
  • Abraham Giujan, Hispanidad Magazine
  • Edwin Ramirez, Community Activist
  • Jamie Lazo, Owner of NPC Business Services Group (San Fernando)
  • Baltazar Martinez, Farmes insurance
  • Ronnie Veliz, LGBTQ Civil Rights Activist and Non-Profit Director
  • Laurene Powell Jobs, President of the Emerson Collective
  • Mina Creswell, Veterans' Rights Advocate
  • Cindy Montanez, Former State Assemblywoman
  • Marcia Hanscom, Executive Committee Member of Sierra Club Angeles Chapter
  • Mary Hruby, Executive Director of Crystal Stairs Foundation (Retired)
  • Duke Mason, West Hollywood City Commissioner and LGBT Civil Rights Activist
1.
Drought

Climate changes and the continuing drought worry many in California. What new strategies do you believe would ensure that California is able to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific. 

Respuesta de Patty Lopez:

I proudly voted for SB-32, authored by State Senator Fran Pavley, in both 2015 and 2016.  I fully support legislation that places limits on carbon emissions.  For dealing with the drought, I support upgrading our current system of underwater aquifyers and water storage facilities, increasing the usage of gray water systems, and creating incentives for individual homeowners to install dual use water systems.  I am very proud of the legislation I authored to protect the "right to dry" of apartment and multi-family unit residents to dry their own clothing outside on clotheslines.  This little noticed issue is a major issue for many working families.  Because in buildings where managers could take down laundry, many residents were forced to expend money they did not have on using commercial dryers.  This bill is extremely helpful for the environment because drying one's clothes on a clothesline is far more energy efficient.  In general, we need to increase our renewable energy portfolio.

I also believe that my push for increasing funding to adult education is intrinscally linked to efforts to protect our environment.  The jobs of the future, and not just the jobs but good paying jobs with great benefits and secure retirements, are going to be in Green Tech and Clean Tech industries.  It is vital that citizens from all walks of life at any point in their life, be able to obtain the training neccessary to get one of these positions.  One reason why there is so much support within the Latino community for environmental protection is that we've come to the realization that protecting our environment does not cost our economy and our jobs  but instead increases the number of jobs and business opportunities.  I look forward to solving our long-term drought and global warming problems because I believe that it will help expand the economy across the board.  We need to make sure that this opportunity exists for every Californian, not just a few.  

 

 

need to continue to reward lower income Californians with tax credits and rebates for individual energy an d water savings programs. In many cases, environmental measures and measures which help the working po or and those in poverty can actually be one in the same. For example, the California State Legislature recentl y passed legislation giving residents of multi-unit buildings the right to dry their laundry on a clothesline (something that many apartment buildings and condo boards had prohibited). For many Californians who are working p oor or living in poverty, the inability to dry one ’ s clothing on a clothesline represented an economic hardship. So ending these prohibitions and protecting the “ right to dry ” was something that both benefitted the environment and hel ped those in need. I think the California State Legislature should focus on these areas. For example, a program to subsidize low income households to become energy efficient would help the state reduce ene rgy usage and help lower income families save on expenses.
2.
Money in Politics

Many Californians are concerned about the influence of money in politics. What can the state legislature do to ensure that decision-making by elected officials is not swayed by moneyed interests at the expense of constituents?

Respuesta de Patty Lopez:

I believe very strongly that we should enact some form of public campaign financing.  Legislators are incentivised to spend their time raising money.  Candidates are deemed successful or worthy not by their ideas, their experience, or support in the community but by how large their campaign warchest is.  This is a significant problem  Not only are those legislators not working but they are losing touch with every day constituents.  Although individuals have the constitutional right to spend money in elections, they should not be the only individuals who hold sway.  We should find ways to allow all citizens to make their voices heard.  

3.
Minimum Wage

There are a variety of proposals to raise California's minimum wage. Many of these proposals face opposition from business groups who are concerned that they would kill jobs. Do you support increasing the minimum wage in California?  In your answer please explain your position on the relationship between wages and jobs with specific reference to the situation in your district. 

Respuesta de Patty Lopez:

I fully support the increase in the minimum wage.  It is a moral imperative that we ensure that no one who works full-time should ever live in poverty.  And while minimum wage can never lead to a comfortable lifestyle, it should always be able to support the basic needs of individuals.  Too often, under the current minimum wage, it does not.  California has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation yet some of the greatest wealth.  For me, this issue is very personal as for much of my adult life, I earned minimum wage and I had to help support my family on that income level.  Many of my constituents in the 39th Assembly District earn the minimum wage.  They ought to not live in poverty.  

At an economic level, it has been demonstrated that the increase in the minimum wage helps lift the economy overall, helping to stimulate economic growth and ultimately create more jobs.  By increasing the minimum wage, I believe that we will see that kind of economic growth in the 39th District.  

4.
Fiscal Priorities

What are your top three fiscal priorities, recognizing the need to balance the state’s income with its spending?

Respuesta de Patty Lopez:

My top three fiscal priorities are the following:

 

1.  Fully fund adult education programs including (1) English language immersion classes, (2) jobs training programs, and (3) apprenticeships.

2.  Increase spending on social services, education, and programs to reduce poverty.  

3.  Increase entrepreneurship programs, expand government direct lending to small businesses, and invest in our state's infrastructure.  

 

I want to further elaborate on what I believe our state’s third fiscal priority should be.  I fully oppose the current high speed rail project.

Although I am a strong believer in investing in our state’s infrastructure and believe that includes rapid mass transit, I am fully opposed to high speed rail as it is currently being built and oppose it for our district. 

The reason I am opposed is because as currently planned, the high speed rail line will be constructed through my district’s neighborhoods without any concern for the potential destruction it will cause.  Families will be uprooted from their homes, neighborhoods will be split in half, neighborhoods will be subject to increased noise from the trains, and businesses, especially in San Fernando, will suffer.  As a longtime resident of San Fernando, I know how important it is to protect our vibrant small businesses and the wonderful city that residents have worked so hard to build up. 

An alternative proposed route would also cut through rural areas where residents maintain a strongly equestrian way of life and ruin natural resources and park space currently available to all of our residents.  This will irreparably damage a way of life for many of my district’s constituents.  Additionally, there is no planned stop for the rail line in my district, leaving us with no benefit whatsoever.  I am a strong environmentalist and the high speed rail project is being billed as a pro-environment project.  However, as currently planned, the high speed rail project will have enormous environmental costs for my district.  Given the enormous costs, which are already well over budget, the damages far outweigh the benefits from high speed rail. 

 

 

Dinero total recaudado: $143,244

A continuación, le presentamos los mayores contribuyentes que dieron dinero para apoyar al (a los) candidato(s).

1
Califonia Teachers Association
$16,600
2
California Nurses Association
$8,500
2
SEIU California
$8,500
2
SEIU Local 2015
$8,500
3
Emerson Collective
$8,400
3
Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians
$8,400
3
Women in Power (WIP)
$8,400

Por estado:

California 99.28%
District of Columbia 0.72%
99.28%

Por tamaño:

Contribuciones grandes (97.51%)
Contribuciones pequeñas (2.49%)
97.51%

Por tipo:

De organizaciones (85.57%)
De individuos (14.43%)
85.57%14.43%
Fuente: Análisis de datos de la Secretaría del Estado de California de MapLight.

I am a progressive but more importantly, I consider myself to be a voice for the voiceless in the California State Assembly and the people's voice for my district.  

 

My basic philosophy of governance is the following.  I want people across California to know that they can be involved in their government and should be involved in their government.  Because the only way that we can make positive change is when we come together and work collectively to lobby our elected officials.  As a State Assemblywoman, I want people to know that we can hold our politicians accountable and that we do not need to be cowed by big money. 

 

I apply this philosophy in my daily job as a State Legislator. 

 

I spend as much time in my district as I possibly can.  I almost rarely do what is known as "call time."  I work to ensure my office engages in problem solving for local constituents.  When I happen to meet with millionaires and billionaires, it is always so that I can promote the 39th District, bring jobs and new businesses to the district, find ways to create new economic development for the district, and convince those who spend on philanthropic projects to steer their resources and energy to the 39th District.  I never ask for a campaign contribution and I do not look at individuals as being ranked higher based upon their wealth or whether they are known to give money to political campaigns.  I treat all citizens equally. 

 

In Sacramento, I spend as much time learning as much as I can and carefully analyzing bills.  Some lobbyists have said that I am crazy because I actually read the proposed legislation that they want me to vote for and actually ask questions about it.  However, I think that is my most fundamental and basic job as a state legislator. 

 

Finally, I keep my office door open to everyone regardless of their political viewpoints and backgrounds.  I do not shut people out and everyone always knows that my door is open to them.  I work with constituents and fellow legislators from all political parties and possessing all political ideology in order to ensure that government gets things done for the people.  

My hope is that government will be as responsive to the needs of the people as possible and if my Assembly office is responsive, then I have done my job. 

 

The following are my 2015 Legislative Scorecards and Ratings:

 

1. Courage Campaign Report Card: A+/100%

 

2. California League of Conservation Voters: 100%

 

3. Sierra Club: 100%

 

4. CHIRLA: 100%

 

5. Equality California: 100%

 

6. California Humane Society: 100%

 

7. California Bicycle Coalition: 100%

 

8. California Labor Federation: 100%

 

9. Planned Parenthood and Affiliates: 100%

 

10. California’s Health Consumer Advocacy Coalition: 100%

 

11. California Environmental Justice Alliance: 100%

 

12. Congress of California Seniors: 93%

 

13. University of California Student Association: 100%

 

14. California Civil Liberties Scorecard: 91%

 

 

Devoutly Catholic and 100% Pro-Choice

Summary

Assemblywoman Patty Lopez details her position on why she fully favors legalizaed abortion even as a devout Roman Catholic.  

I am often asked why I am pro-choice.  

If this sounds silly, it's not.  It's because I am a devout Roman Catholic.  I was brought up Catholic by my mother in Mexico and once here in the United States.  I'm a weekly regular in church, even as a busy State Assemblywoman.  And it's during times of great distress and despair that I often find solace and comfort in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible.  For me, the church has also been a place of social organization.  So often, the church is a place of comfort and support for those who are in need.  But if you thought that would mean I was pro-life, you would have been mistaken.  

As a legal and policy matter, I am 100% pro-choice.  I support all measures to keep women’s access to abortion as unrestricted as possible and I oppose any measures designed to restrict a woman’s right to choose or mislead women on their reproductive rights.  As a devout Roman Catholic, my personal feelings on abortion are admittedly complex.  However, as a legal and policy matter, I am fervently pro-choice.  However, there are two very important reasons, both stemming from my background as a naturalized citizen from Mexico, that have led me to be so strongly pro-choice.    

First, as a naturalized citizen, in fact the only naturalized citizen in the State Legislature, I take my constitutional rights very seriously.  I was not born with them, I gained them as an adult when I became a United States citizen.  The same Constitution that protects my right to be a Catholic is the same Constitution that protects the right of a woman to have autonomy over her body and ensures her right to reproductive freedom.  I think it is important to defend our Constitution and to defend all rights that it protects, not simply pick and choose based upon our personal viewpoints.  President John Kennedy, our first Catholic President, once explained that his faith did not guide him in how he governed.  He governed as an American and as the Constitution commanded.  President Kennedy is one of my inspirations and a role model for Catholic elected officials.  I try to live up to his example.     

Second, as a former Mexican citizen and as someone with a great deal of extended family still living in Mexico, I know from first-hand experience that just because you make a law against something doesn’t mean that you make it go away or that it stops.  Instead, it simply goes below ground.  When we make laws that restrict abortion, we don’t really reduce abortions.  Instead, we drive them underground, endanger the lives of women, and help empower criminals.  In the days before Roe v. Wade and People v. Belous, abortions simply occurred in the back alley.  Sometimes women would be injured or killed in the process by going to someone irreputabe.  But the ugly reality is that abortions still occurred and in mass.  I’ve told people who say they are pro-life that if we really want to reduce abortions, we must work to increase access to family planning and contraception and increase sexual education.  Because whatever one's own personal views are on the matter of abortion, legalization is the only way that respects the Constitution and the only way that is sound public policy.  

Why the United States Should Welcome More Refugees

Summary

Assemblywoman Patty Lopez discusses why she supports the U.S. State Department's decision to welcome additional refugees, including those fleeing the Syrian Civil War, into the United States.  

Assemblywoman Patty Lopez on why the United States should welcome Syrian refugees

Recently, the Department of State announced that the United States would be taking in 110,000 refugees, many of whom are fleeing the brutal war in Syria.  This is in addition to the 10,000 Syrian refugees that the United States has already taken in.  I not only welcome this decision but believe that California should make every effort to assist the Department of State in relocating refugees.  I fully support this decision because it is both the humane thing to do as well as the best decision we can make to promote our national interests in the region.

Right now, there are 4.5 million refugees from the Syrian Civil War registered with the United Nations living in the countries around Syria.  It is believed the actual number is higher once unregistered refugees are included.  This is in addition to 6.5 million Syrians who are internally displaced, homeless in their own country.

Syria’s neighbors have reached the limit of their ability to absorb new refugees.  Lebanon, a country that a pre-war population of only 4.3 million has taken in 1.1 million refugees.  Jordan, which had a pre-war population of only 6.7 million has taken in nearly 700,000 registered refugees.  Both countries have seen their infrastructure stretched to the limit.

Jordan has had to close its border and Lebanon has imposed strict residency requirements that will make it difficult for many refugees to stay there.  Lebanon has made it illegal to build refugee camps, forcing the refugees there into Lebanese cities and towns.  Because Lebanon makes it illegal for refugees to work, they cannot afford housing in the cities and towns.

The largest share of refugees has gone to Turkey.  2.7 million refugees live along the Turkish border now, mostly in squalid camps.  Many now live on the street in Turkish cities.  Turkish law doesn’t recognize them as refugees so they receive no legal protection.  The children do not go to school and the parents cannot work.

This is where the United States can help.  We can take in some of these refugees, as our European allies have been doing.  We can bring them to the United States, find them housing and help them find work, and make sure their children are in school.  By doing this, we can help to alleviate the suffering of thousands of innocent people whose lives have been overturned by events beyond their control.  At the same time, we can relieve the pressure on countries like Jordan and Lebanon.  If the governments in these countries were to fall, the violence would only spread.  This would actually lead to an increased number of refugees.  We can do our part to make sure that these countries receive the aid they need to meet the demand but we can also work to reduce the demand itself.  By taking some of the burden ourselves we can ensure that these countries are not asked to do more than can realistically be expected.  We also will gain the benefit of new Americans who will only help further enrich our country, not just socially but economically.  Immigration has been shown as a net positive to increasing jobs and overall economic country. 

I care about this issue personally. 

 

I am an immigrant to this country from Michoacan, Mexico.  I came here when I was 12 years old and am grateful that I was welcomed here and have been given many opportunities to live a fulfilling life of service to others.  Today, I am a member of the California State Assembly, representing a district that has more naturalized citizens than it does registered Republicans.  I will never forget that we are a nation of immigrants and that all of our families once came from somewhere else.  When we have the means to provide sanctuary to people who are fleeing war and oppression we should do it.  If we do, we will find that we are bringing people to this country who will make a positive contribution to America while also helping to alleviate the worst refugee crisis of modern times. 

The Importance of our Adult Education System

Summary

Assemblywoman Patty Lopez discusses why she believes that adult education is so vitally important and why she introduced AB 1846 to add $250 million to California Adult Education schools.  

In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama discussed the need for lifelong educational job training programs as well as government run insurance programs for individuals who found their jobs either outsourced or made obsolete by technology.  The obsolescence of certain jobs and the technological downsizing of jobs in certain industries is a serious problem.  It can destroy individual careers and livelihoods, hurt families, and damage entire regions of the country.  In my lifetime, most politicians have railed against the problem but few have ever really proposed any worthwhile solutions like President Obama finally did. 

            For me though, I felt vindicated to hear President Obama speak of the important need to expand our adult education programs.  As both a community activist and now as a State Assemblywoman, I have been on a sometimes lonely crusade for the full funding and expansion of adult educational programs.  You see, when we discuss education as part of public policy, there is often a great emphasis on K-12 primary education and college affordability.  There is also the goal of implementing universal pre-school that gets attention as well.  This is where our discussion of education policy is centered, where public funding is most often directed, and where private donors are often most generous. 

 

            Adult education, however, is often left out of the discussion.  In recent years, funding for adult education was cut dramatically as we attempted to balance the budget in California.  I cannot think of a greater mistake to make for our economy and for our society.  It is why this year, I introduced AB 1846, a bill which restores full funding to our adult educational institutions by adding $250 million from the state general funds to our adult educational schools.  Adult education is often necessary for (1) immigrants who come to this country without any education, (2) individuals for whom traditional four year college programs may not be available or necessarily appropriate, and (3) individuals who find their professions eliminated by technological change and cannot simply re-enroll in college or a graduate studies program. 

            I am a product of our adult education system.  When I first came to this country as a teenager from Michoacan, Mexico, I could not speak a word of English.  And my parents, while well-meaning, refused to enroll me in local public school.  They chose instead to home-school me, which turned out to be not much of an education.  Their goals for me were that I work and that I eventually get married and have children.  That was what I was expected to do.  Their decision limited my employment options as an adult.  And when I became an adult, got married to the man of my dreams, Juan, and had children, I came to realize how limited I really was in terms of employment.  I was fine at first with this but as we had more children and as Juan and I found myself taking care of more of our extended family, I realized that I needed to earn more and move up the career ladder in order to provide for my family. 

            My husband, Juan, who also emigrated from Mexico (Jalisco) as a teenager realized this need too.  He had no more than a 10th grade Mexican public school education when he came to this country.  But for both of us at the time, the traditional educational modes were not realistic options.  Neither one of us could simply go to a graduate school or college (even a community college required a high school diploma).  We were both adults who worked full-time and did not have high school diplomas.  Even if we had the time and the diplomas, we could never have afforded the expense of attending a university or a graduate program. 

            But I was fortunate in that I could attend an adult night school (which allowed me to keep working during the day).  At my school, I was able to learn English, obtain a GED diploma, and improve my own economic prospects.  Juan was able to enroll in both English language classes and in classes that provided advanced technical training.  These classes were available at night so that he could continue to work full-time as the main breadwinner for our family.  Today, at his company, he has worked his way up to the position of mechanical engineer.  This educational experience led to both of us improving our career prospects and being able to provide more for our families. 

            But adult education programs should not just be seen as something for immigrants like myself.  With economic and technological changes continuing, the need for adult education will only grow.  As global climate change has finally been recognized as a significant problem and threat, the monumental effort to address the issue and develop renewable energy sources promises to create millions of new jobs and new business opportunities.  Ordinary citizens who want to take advantage of such opportunities but who simply cannot go back to school will need adult educational programs.  As technological changes in the workplace start to require advanced skills, individuals who already have four year university degrees or two year associate degrees (a vital educational requirement) will want to have the opportunity to improve their technological skills. 

 

            Ultimately, we want to make sure that we can provide these educational opportunities to all citizens and make lifelong learning something that all citizens can take advantage of.  Ultimately, my proposed legislation, AB 1846 is only the beginning.  My hope is that in a second term in the Assembly, I can continue to focus on getting adult education fully funded and expanded.  California has often been the vanguard of forward thinking ideas.  My hope is that we in California can heed President Obama’s call for lifelong learning opportunities and lead the nation in developing a robust adult education system that is fit for Americans in the 21st century.  

— September 29, 2016 Local Edition by Charter Communications

I discuss with Local Edition's Brad Pomerance my support for the minimum wage increase and its impact on the community.  I also discuss the importance of adult education.  

— September 29, 2016 Sacramento Bee

I discuss why I decided to run for office in the first place with the Sacramento Bee soon after I was sworn in.

— September 29, 2016 Local Edition by Time Warner Cable

I discuss the importance of increasing adult education funding with Local Edition's Brad Pomerance.

— October 1, 2016 California State University at Northridge Media Class

An introductory video about Assemblywoman Patty Lopez and her background as well as her newfound job duties in Sacramento.  

— October 1, 2016 California State Assembly Access

Assemblywoman Patty Lopez stands up and speaks on why she is in favor of the minimum wage increase.  

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