Latest E-Newsletter

June 1, 2022

A Note from Toni

 

As June begins, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on an issue that is intensifying throughout our state and our nation, and to highlight the hope that lies in the work California is doing to address it.

The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that is anticipated in the weeks ahead carries with it the potential to overrule the abortion protections of Roe v. Wade—a right that many have never lived without. And one that other states are poised to strip away soon after the fall of Roe.

As I told a crowd of hundreds of women, LGBTQ folks, reproductive rights allies, and advocates at a “Bans off our Bodies” rally at the Capitol last month – Not on our watch. Not in California.

While extremists are attacking our rights by tearing down reproductive rights, responding with oppressive opinions, instead of empathy, to survivors of rape and incest or those facing difficult health considerations because of their pregnancy, my colleagues and I – with the support and solidarity of reproductive rights organizations – are expanding and protecting abortion access in California.

The Legislative Women’s Caucus began preparing for this possibility long before the majority draft Supreme Court opinion leaked to the press, and there are 13 bills that have been introduced to increase access to safe, equitable, and affordable abortion and reproductive health care for all Californians, and for those who may need to seek care here.

That responsiveness, that collective mission, gives me hope. As does the gains we are making on this front.

Last week was the deadline for bills to pass out of their House of Origin, and I am proud that SB 1375, my bill to expand abortion and reproductive health care services in California, was among many that advanced to the Assembly. I also announced last month that I will be introducing a Constitutional Amendment to appear on the November 2022 ballot to ensure that our reproductive rights are explicitly stated in California’s constitution.

We are also in the final weeks of working on our 2022-23 state budget, and while the details are being worked out as you read this, California’s commitment to protecting and expanding reproductive rights is inherently clear, and an area where there is already much alignment.

After marching with Californians from all walks of life in both Sacramento and San Diego, it is clear that there are many of us who will use our voices and our votes to challenge these attacks on our individual rights. And with Pride celebrations gearing up all over the country, we will join the fight with our flags flying and our Pride carrying us forward, sending a clear message that we will also not bend to those attacking our LGBTQ loved ones, children, and communities, nor will we back down if the fight for marriage equality is next to be dismantled by the Supreme Court.

I am confident in California’s response to the recent attacks on our freedoms, and I remain hopeful for the future of our state and all who live here.

 

Taking Action to Protect Our Communities From Gun Violence

 

Last week, I joined Speaker Anthony Rendon, Governor Gavin Newsom, and our legislative colleagues to discuss steps we are taking in the wake of the shooting deaths of innocent people in Uvalde, Buffalo, Orange County, San Diego and Poway. Below are my thoughts, which I conveyed during the press conference and in a statement:

We have gotten to a point where we can’t live our lives without trepidation that every time we step outside, we may never see our families again. We can’t live without the fear that each goodbye to our children, spouses, and friends could be the last. This may feel like a point of no return, but it’s not. We can’t let it be. We have to turn it around before another neighbor, parent, teacher, or child is senselessly ripped from our world. These dreadful, devastating tragedies have to stop. Every politician, judge, or Supreme Court Justice who has opted to put more guns on our streets needs to resign today and hang their heads in deep shame. We have to do everything in our power to get guns out of our classrooms and grocery stores and away from people who should never have them.

Ten years ago, we were in an eerily similar situation, grieving the killing of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary. But here we are, mourning the murder of children, again. Nothing has changed. And, nothing will until our children can go to school without the fear that they won’t come home.

It is our responsibility as leaders in this state to leave no stone unturned. The Legislature is moving expeditiously on several bills that would make our communities safer, and I will continue to work alongside the Speaker and Governor to ensure that these bills move swiftly through the legislative process so that they can start to make positive change in our communities.

 

‘CA Dream for All’ To Make Homeownership A Reality

 

As a young girl, I dreamt about one day owning a home of my own—a dream I never thought would be possible. My parents worked hard at full-time jobs their whole lives, but for our family, renting was the only option. So I was deeply proud when, at 31, I was able to finally buy a 950-square-foot home in San Diego. Every Californian should have the opportunity to feel that sense of pride.

For several years, the Legislature has worked diligently to increase housing production and supply, and helping increase the availability of affordable housing and addressing the state’s housing crisis has long been a policy focus of mine. Now, we could have another tool to help Californians. The California Dream for All program is an innovative program to help first-time homebuyers make their dreams of owning a home a reality. Under the program, the state would provide 17 percent toward the purchase of a first-time buyer’s home, eliminating the need for a large down payment, and in some cases, covering the down payment all together. It could also potentially lower mortgage costs by about a third, since the buyer would have a smaller down payment and could forego mortgage insurance.

June is National Homeownership Month, and we shouldn’t forget that owning a home is one of the most powerful ways to create generational wealth—a road that for decades, has systemically been blocked for lower-income families and communities of color. If this program is enacted, it could help families break free from the cycle of renting, close the racial wealth gap in our state, and help ease the impact of our housing crisis. The California Dream for All program has the ability to change people’s lives.

 

Proudly Celebrating Our LGBTQ Community

 

Although San Diego’s LGBTQ+ Pride events are traditionally held in July, June is nationally recognized as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, commemorating the uprising at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in June 1969, which sparked the “gay liberation” movement.

Pride Month is both a time to celebrate the freedom to live one’s life openly and authentically, as well as a call to action to secure and preserve equal protection under the law. While there has been remarkable progress toward equality and acceptance, the LGBTQ+ community is still under attack. We are seeing increasing violence, especially against transgender women of color, as well as hateful legislation in some states that targets transgender youth.

Each year the California LGBTQ Legislative Caucus honors individuals who have worked to advance LGBTQ+ equality. This year, I nominated Robert E. “Bob” Nelson as one of my honorees. Bob, who passed away in March at the age of 70, was a civic leader in San Diego who served on many boards and commissions. One of his proudest involvements was serving as Chair of the Board of the Directors of the San Diego LGBT Community Center. Bob will be missed, but his legacy lives on through those whose lives he touched.

 

State Budget Discussions Continue As Leaders Work on Agreement To Improve Lives of All Californians

 

Last month, Governor Newsom released his May revisions to the January budget proposal and they were encouraging. Some, like funding for reproductive health care, are parallel to the path charted in the Senate’s budget plan. Others, as happens every year, will require more discussion and negotiation.

As we continue our work on the budget, my Senate colleagues and I look forward to collaborating with Speaker Rendon and the Assembly, as well as Governor Newsom, and reaching a final agreement that will improve the lives of Californians and enhance our communities.

While the fine details are still being negotiated, what is already clear is that California will have another responsible, on-time budget that provides immediate and long-term benefits to all Californians, and maintains our state’s overall financial strength in case of potential downturns in the future.

 

Honoring Juneteenth

 

For more than 150 years, communities have gathered on Juneteenth to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation and the day many finally learned about the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which freed millions of enslaved African Americans and ended one ugly chapter in our country’s history. Last year, President Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday, emphasizing its importance and our continued efforts to fight systemic racism. This Juneteenth, I encourage everyone to educate themselves on the history of this momentous day and consider participating in one of the many events being hosted around the San Diego region.

 

Happy Father’s Day!

 

My father, Jim, was one of the hardest working people I have ever known. He served in the Navy during World War II, and went on to work as a miner and in construction, even helping to build a bridge over the New River in Virginia. On Father’s Day, my thoughts will be of him.

This June, let’s celebrate all of the amazing dads, stepdads, uncles, grandfathers, fathers-in-law, brothers, friends, and other father figures in our lives who give us all love and compassion. To those we honor, thank you for all you do for your loved ones. Happy Father’s Day!

 

Around the District

 


 

 

It was moving to welcome home 84 veterans who visited Washington D.C. with Honor Flight San Diego, including nine who fought in WWII. Every opportunity we have to celebrate these heroes and hear their stories should be cherished. The afternoon was made even more special because I was able to bring my twin sister, Tenia, who is a Navy veteran.


     

     

    Thank you to all the volunteers who attended Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest’s training—your dedication is crucial to our fight to expand access to reproductive health services. And, congratulations to PPSW on the opening of their new center in Kearny Mesa! With this facility, the clinic will be able to provide high-quality medical care to even more patients and families. 


       

       

      On May 18, Team Toni wished Werner Cahn a very happy 102nd birthday! Werner escaped Nazi-occupied Europe in the ‘40s and headed for Southern California where he settled in La Jolla with his late wife, Helene.

         


           

           

          For 50 years, Home Start has worked tirelessly to help the most vulnerable children and families in San Diego build a better future for themselves. Team Toni was thrilled to join their anniversary celebration last month.


           

           

          Congratulations to the San Diego LGBT Center on the opening of their newly renovated community spaces!


           

           

          Congratulations to the students of Crawford High School who, with the help of artist Linda Litteral and Space 4 Art, finished their healing-art installation project.


           

           

          Thank you to all of the volunteers who attended the Pacific Beach Town Council’s 12th annual Graffiti Clean-up! Team Toni was glad we could lend a hand.


           

           

          Team Toni laced up our sneakers and got our steps in at the Clearity Foundation’s Teal Revolution Walk on May 22nd to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.

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