PART TWO: ADVOCACY
Ultimately, we are all here for the issues. We want to save the planet, create economic justice and dismantle oppression. California can be the laboratory where we develop and implement the ideas to make this happen. Recently, progressive activists worked side-by-side with the Rules Committee to pass bylaws changes allowing the Party to be a stronger advocate for legislation. I want to take advantage of that to bring the Party together and engage new activists. The California Democratic Party has a gigantic network of engaged activists. Whether the issue is poverty, education, climate justice, women's rights, confronting the housing crisis, creating new green jobs, LGBT+ rights, or any of the other crucial issues Democrats are working to address, we will activate this network to generate lobby visits, constituent calls, and community education to pass an ambitious and unifying legislative agenda.
We need to measure our success not just by the number of Democrats we elect, but also by the changes we bring to people's lives. As a political organization, we need to do more politics. Of course, our agenda must be decided democratically, building on decisions in our Platform, Resolutions, and Legislation Committee endorsements. In terms of my own political priorities, however, here are a few issues I’d like us to focus on.
1.WE’VE GOT ISSUES
The Green New Deal is a necessity not merely for ensuring that Californians can survive and overcome climate change, but also for achieving a “just transition” from a carbon-based economy. A just transition is one that provides workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, and both rural and urban communities with comprehensive economic and social security. Just as the poor should not be asked to bear the burden of climate change, so should the rich not be the only ones to enjoy the benefits of a post-carbon economy. I support moratoriums and bans on fracking and other high-intensity extraction methods, coupled with public investment in employment transition for affected workers.
Fighting income and wealth inequality is a moral imperative that I am committed to tackling head on. California’s “Gini coefficient”--the international measure for inequality--puts us 44th out of 50 states. Although the poverty rate is falling, when we account for housing costs, 19% of Californians live in poverty, the highest rate in the country. We can and must do better. First and foremost, we must support the expansion and protection of collective bargaining, the most effective tool we have for democratizing our economy. In addition, I fully support stronger equal pay laws, tuition free college for all Californians, expanding paid family and medical leave, expanding childcare services, and better housing policies that increase affordable housing and expand rent stabilization. The California Democratic Party must stay committed to repealing Costa-Hawkins and allow local governments to enact stronger renter protections.
Social Justice must be at the heart of everything we do and every decision we make. This means being the party of Black Lives Matter, of Dreamers and undocumented folks, of people with disabilities, of our LGBTQ+ family, of our workers; and the many other communities that seek the refuge of our Party. It also means standing as a wall against those who would seek to harm, discriminate, separate, or strip rights away from those communities.
A truly universal, publicly-funded single payer healthcare system for all Californians, including our undocumented residents. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and I plan on working with our doctors, nurses, activists, labor leaders, and legislators to make sure that we craft a system that reduces costs and saves lives.
California has made huge strides in terms of Criminal Justice Reform, but we have a long way to go to undo the long-term harm of the “war on drugs” and dismantle the prison-industrial complex. We must continue to fight for the abolition of the racist death penalty, providing transitions for people from incarceration back into their communities, fully eliminate cash bail and bring policing under civilian oversight.
2. USING OUR POWER
The CDP is the largest multiracial, multi-generational, progressive organization in California. We can mobilize tremendous power behind our legislative priorities, using both new digital organizing strategies as well as tried-and-true methods like citizen lobbying, protest, and petition drives to hold elected officials accountable to our values and platform.
My administration will combine the existing political department with a new “organizing department”, and hire professionals with experience in mobilization and advocacy. County Parties, Caucuses, and Working Groups will enjoy staff support to help them lobby their elected officials and influence public debate.
3. JOINING COALITIONS
Passing “heavy lift” legislation like Medicare for All will take working closely with allies in labor, nonprofits, and social movements. The Party should be represented by top-level leadership and staff in existing coalitions and “tables” around our priorities, including housing, education and healthcare reform. Most of our allies are also Party members, and most of our activists are also involved in allied movements and organizations. I personally moved up the ranks in my union from rank-and-file member to Statewide Local President. This experience informed my party activism, and my party activism informed my union organizing work. When the Democratic Party works in coalition with our partners in the labor, LGBTQ+, women’s, disability justice, economic justice and housing justice movements, we become better Democrats. When we demonstrate true solidarity, showing up to support others, not just on election day, we earn trust and build deeper bonds and growing the Party.
4. LOCAL ISSUES ARE BIG ISSUES
County Parties and local activists should be supported in their efforts to effect change in their communities. In addition to supporting advocacy and lobbying in the State Legislature, the CDP should provide issue-education and strategy training around policy decisions facing cities, counties, school boards and special districts. Down the road, the Party should work more closely with networks of Democratic elected officials, and convene discussions with community activists, housing policy experts, transit advocates, labor unions and progressive academics, providing a counterbalance to conservative, anti-union, and pro-business think tanks and lobbies.