An Open Letter to Californians

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Today marks the inauguration of a new president and we, as legislators in California, pause briefly to witness the event. While our goals differ from the incoming administration, we will waste no time in lament because we are intent upon our work for California.

Less than 20 miles from the State Capitol, the American Bald Eagle has been spotted in the wild. Its comeback from endangered status is symbolic, not only of California's commitment to the environment, but symbolic, too, of our commitment to continue the struggle against injustice. That's a struggle that began with the founding of the country that eagle represents.

We will continue to honor our commitments to the people of California. The California contract is a promise to ourselves and to one another that we will build a sustainable economy, environment and society that doesn't just protect the wealthy or the powerful, but instead will benefit every Californian and benefit from every Californian.

To do that, we have to cement the gains we have made and build on their foundation. Our list of gains and goals is long, precisely because it is of, by and for all the people. We will stand by what we have achieved, and we will stand for further progress where it is needed, on every one of these issues:

  • Safe and efficient transportation to move people and the goods they need.
  • Affordable housing, available near to where people work.
  • Fair and adequate funding for quality public education, to allow every child to thrive and contribute to our state.
  • A vibrant economy providing jobs that are fairly compensated and safe, with the right to organize.
  • Clean air in every neighborhood, clean water to drink, clean power for our needs, and a clean environment in which to live.
  • Equal protection at the ballot box, in employment, in access to public facilities, in housing, and in our most personal relationships and identities.
  • A system of justice that protects the public in all communities, without abuses to any.
  • Welcoming all Californians, whether they are born here or have come as refugees and immigrants.
  • Healthful food and quality health care – including reproductive health care – that is affordable and accessible to all.
  • Protection of retirement security.
  • Freedom of information.

We join together on these issues today, knowing that we have much to achieve, but knowing that our chances of success are bolstered by the scope of what we are working for. Each piece is essential to a complete California dream. Our unity becomes our strength when each individual and each group commits to supporting these goals.

Our commitment to this social contract is what makes our state a leader. California is more than a great place to live; it is a great source of innovation and an unrivaled economic engine. And so, for the next four years and beyond, we will work to be a light to the nation.