On the Issues

You deserve insight into my political philosophy and my stances on current issues.

The Environment

I’ve made environmental issues a priority because our state’s natural beauty should be preserved for future generations. We need to balance our stance between facing these issues with the urgency they demand and keeping our economy strong. It’s critical that we stay away from both denial and degrowth. We can’t afford to ignore our consumption’s impact on the environment, but we also can’t afford to set our lives aside for a climate crusade. One specific avenue for improvement is our policy towards plastics.

Every styrofoam container, plastic wrapper, or plastic bag we use doesn’t simply disappear in the garbage. The structure of plastic is foreign to biological systems, which can not break it down, meaning that what we’ve produced will otherwise be with us forever. We’re only just beginning to understand the health effects microplastics have. Because we have biodegradable alternatives, turning away from single-use plastics is an obvious choice if we want to have a cleaner future.

Recently, Governor Newsom signed SB 54, a bill which targets the usage of single-use plastics in food packaging. By committing to reducing our single-use plastic usage and eliminating one of our biggest environmental offenses, we can keep our state cleaner and greener.

My opponent did not vote for this bill.

We can learn from history: In 2016, Californians narrowly approved Proposition 67, which installed a nominal fee for each single-use plastic bag taken from stores. Since then, millions of Californians have eschewed the non-biodegradable pollutants that were once a common sight, blowing freely and abandoned on our streets. If we can use economic incentives to encourage Californians to make environmentally-responsible choices, then we can reduce the volume of plastic that goes into landfills and poisons the earth for generations to come.

The Economy

Everything you see around you, in one way or another, depends on a healthy economy. The food on your table came from somewhere, as did the device you’re reading this on. That’s why so many voters care about the economy. The so-called “kitchen table issues” ultimately boil down to whether American families can put food on the table, keep their gas tanks full, save for retirement, pay off loans and mortgages, and still have flexibility for leisure spending. It’s about living the lifestyle that every hardworking American deserves.

That’s another level in the Golden State, where “gold” doesn’t just refer to our state’s history. It’s simply more expensive to live here. Some things have always been expensive, such as new homes and gasoline, but rising inflation has caused a permanent increase in almost all of the products we consume daily.

California is home to the largest tax base in the country, and this means we should expect the greatest accountability from Sacramento for each and every one of our tax dollars. We’ve been fortunate to have an enormous surplus that gives the state financial flexibility, but a lot of that money is ultimately excess taxation, or may lead to an unsustainable spending expansion when pandemic relief funds dry up.

Our Community

I believe the government should take steps to improve the collective social health of our society. This includes individual mental health but also social atomization in general. Humans are social beings, and I’m convinced it would do a lot of good if people were kinder and more open with one another. The government can’t legislate to directly fix these things, but I think this fact should weigh in the way both politicians and private citizens engage with others.

Electoral Reform

California already has a nonpartisan runoff election system shared with Washington, with two similar systems seen in Louisiana and Alaska. This system works well in theory, but with two major-party candidates facing off in each of the statewide races, it would seem as though our system has a limited effect in changing the way campaigns are run, or in changing the faces we see in November.

I think changing the current system to a three-candidate ranked-choice runoff would foster ideological diversity in general elections while also forcing candidates to appeal to the ideological center of the electorate. Candidates would need to have a strong base of support to advance to the ranked-choice runoff, but also need to foster enough crossover votes to win in the final round. This, ideally, would make elected officials a better reflection of California as a whole, and also prevent lock-outs, which have cost both parties elections in the past. This system would also be more resilient to candidates promoting “unelectable” opponents in an attempt to secure a safer election bid. Candidates will have to regularly reach out to their opponents’ supporters to win, which gives voters more power.