Who am I?
A native of Wisconsin, I attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, then went on to become
valedictorian of my graduating class at the American College of Jerusalem, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree. I also spent two years in Rabbinical Studies at The Hebrew Union College in New York. In
1977, I moved to the Bay Area and founded Budget Signs, Inc., a small business that I continue to operate today.
I was elected to the State Assembly in 2002, and I currently represent
the 13th District, which encompasses the eastern portion of San
Francisco. I chair the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which
oversees all bills with a fiscal impact on the state. I also serve on the Election & Redistricting and Labor committees, as well as the Public Safety Committee, which I chaired through 2006. Prior to my election to the Assembly, I served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from April 1998 to November 2002.
Why am I running?
Although I'm breaking one of the most fiercely protected rules of status-quo politics by running against an incumbent from my own party, I happen to hold the peculiar belief that Democracy is best served when the voters have a choice. Whether you're running for an office for the first time or as an incumbent, the voters have the right to hear an open, vigorous discussion and debate on the issues that matter most to them before they cast their votes. I am running because I believe that the constituents in District 3 need a representative who isn't just a safe vote, but who also spends time in the district, is accessible and responsive to constituents' needs, who follows the laws and rules of ethical behavior and who treats their constituents, colleagues and staff members with civility, integrity and respect. I also believe that a representative should go beyond voting on an issue and take a leadership role in bringing attention to those issues by lobbying colleagues, meeting with constituent groups, raising money, appearing at rallies and events, speaking at press conferences, and writing op-ed pieces.
My goals are to continue working tenaciously and effectively to bring real change to California by promoting healthcare reform, clean money campaign finance reform, alternative energy sources, environmental protection, affordable housing, transportation solutions, equal rights for all Californians, education reform, and protecting a woman's right to choose.
California has the highest proportion of medically uninsured residents and the lowest rates of employer based coverage in the nation. With nearly 7 million Californians uninsured, many of whom are women and children, and millions more underinsured, healthcare is the number one problem that California faces. I am proud to say that I have been a principal co-author of Sheila Kuehls SB 840 Single-payer healthcare bill since she first introduced it over three years ago. SB 840 will cover everyone, requires no new spending, gives consumers the complete freedom to choose their healthcare providers and reins in skyrocketing costs. I took a leadership role in getting it passed in the Assembly and sent to Governor Schwarzeneggers desk last year. Unfortunately he vetoed it the first time and there is little doubt that he intends to do so again. That means that millions of Californians will continue to be without healthcare and we will continue to spend billions of dollars unnecessarily on administrating the broken healthcare system we have now. When you add in the possibility of the community hospitals closing in both Marin and Sonoma Counties, there is no question that healthcare is the number one issue on the voters minds.
The environment also remains a top issue for Marin, Sonoma and San Francisco voters. Thankfully, our district is extremely aware and pro-active when it comes to the environment, but they are rightfully concerned about the effects of greenhouse gasses, toxins in the environment, fossil fuel and transportation alternatives, conservation implementation and encouraging green businesses and jobs to grow the economy. I am delighted that Marin and Sonoma voters sent Jared Huffman to the Assembly and I have been working very closely with him on co-sponsoring a number of bills that will expand and improve environmental protection in the state and the district.
Education is always a primary issue in every campaign and it certainly is in this one. Next year we will be spending more on incarcerating criminals than we will be spending on higher education. Revitalizing California's education system is essential to the future of our state. We need to reorganize our fiscal priorities to put education first and stop balancing the budget on the backs of our children. Additional sources of revenue will help our schools retain smart, innovative young teachers who are migrating to other industries that pay more. Finally, we have to give parents the help and support they need for their children to stay in school.
Education has been and will continue to be at the top of my agenda in the Legislature. I have authored AB 1482-Supplemental Instruction Funding, AB-1578 Foster Youth Higher Education Preparation and Support Act of 2007, AB 2489-Higher Education for Foster Youth 2006, and AB 1261 Improving Foster Youth Educational Outcomes. These bills secure more funding for at-risk and low-achieving students; insure that California's foster youth receive academic preparation and financial assistance; and helps schools deliver effective instruction to students that need to overcome academic hurdles.
I am committed to raising the quality of education in California and to making sure that our children have every opportunity to get the innovative education they need to compete in a global economy.
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
I am proud of the fact that my campaign is a bottom-up, grassroots endeavor that relies on the support and efforts of the people that I hope to represent. I have already enlisted hundreds of supporters who have volunteered to help me win this race one vote at a time. Together we will be working the netroots, going door to door, standing in farmers markets and in front of shopping centers, appearing at house parties and community events, and taking the time to listen to the issues that affect people's daily lives. My entire political career has been one of inclusion, accessibility and responsiveness to the voters who elect me. From San Francisco to Sonoma I am meeting daily with healthcare workers and providers, labor activists, environmental groups, educators, mental health representatives, housing, transportation, and water organizers, business and civic leaders, public service workers and animal welfare activists. What makes me a true grassroots candidate is that I dont just do that when Im running for office, I spend every week in my district, meeting and talking with my constituents throughout my term in office. To me there is only one special interest group and that is the people that I represent.