State Senate - District 19
|Why are you running for office?:||I am an experienced elected leader and educator, who has a record working for Central Coast values and proven ability to build broad coalitions and support from both Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.|
As a lifelong resident of the 37th District, I know firsthand the unique concerns and needs of the district. In 2016, I was elected to the State Assembly where I have worked hard to earn leadership positions as the Chair of the California Assembly Banking and Finance Committee and Chair of the Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector. My colleagues elected me to serve as the Vice Chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, where I work in a bipartisan and bicameral way to advance issues impacting women and families in our State.
Prior to that I dedicated much of my career to education, working in higher education institutions for fourteen years. My experience in the State Assembly in addition to my previous position with the Board of Education, work in the community and professional background, have well prepared me to continue to represent the residents of the Central Coast as the next elected representative to the Senate District 19.
|What makes you qualified for the job?:||I am serving in my second term as Assemblymember in the California Legislature and also served six years as a Santa Barbara Unified School District Board Member. I am a lifelong resident of the 19th Senate District, and my extended family includes small business owners from Ventura and Santa Barbara who are active in the community. For fourteen years I served as an educator in our community. I served in the role of Assistant Director of the McNair Scholars Program at UCSB, which prepares students for a variety of doctoral programs. Prior to my work at UCSB, I served as the Student Program Advisor for California Student Opportunity and Access Program (CAL-SOAP) at Santa Barbara City College. I mentored and assisted hundreds of local students in successfully transitioning to college and graduate school at both Santa Barbara City College and UCSB.|
I have also been an advocate of women’s issues. As a former Commissioner on the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women, I helped create awareness of private and public resources for women in the county. I have strong trajectory of community involvement with nonprofit organizations and university groups, which includes serving as a board member of the McCune Foundation, as well as previous nonprofit board of director appointments with Leading From Within, New Beginnings Counseling Center, The Community Engagement Committee for the Granada Theatre and as a Katherine Harvey Fellow for the Santa Barbara Foundation.
In addition to legislative leadership roles previously mentioned, I also serve on the California Assembly Health, Natural Resources, Budget/Education Financing, Housing and Community Development policy committees.
I hold a master’s degree in Education from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Berkeley.
|What are your two main priorities if you win?:||1. Response and recovery from COVID-19. We need to ensure Californians are safe from the virus and they have access to necessary care. Our economy has suffered with millions who have been unemployed due businesses and workplaces closing down. My office has assisted hundreds of constituents with their unemployment benefits since the beginning of the pandemic.|
2. Wildfire and Natural Disasters Prevention. Our community was devastated with the Thomas Fire (2017) and the Montecito debris flows (2018). In an effort to try and prevent a wildfire or one of that magnitude, I have supported budget allocations to pre-position fire equipment in areas known to pose a wildfire risk and will make it a priority to allocate additional resources to local officials to help them prepare and contain future wildfires.
|How will you interact with other governments?:||During my tenure in the Assembly I have collaborated with our local city and county governments on efforts to resolve issues and bring needed resources to the Central Coast. For example, I worked with our county officials in both Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties to backfill $12 million dollars in property tax revenues that were lost due to the Thomas Fire in 2017. I have worked with officials and different governments throughout the district and know the value of federal, state, county, city, school and special district communication and collaboration to address the many needs of our Central Coast.|
|What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?:||I have played an active role in assisting our local community address the needs of our district to help overcome COVID-19 impacts.|
I have co-hosted eleven informational town halls for our districts on issues like health, economic recovery for small businesses, education, and unemployment to name a few. These town halls allowed our community to hear directly from the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Insurance Commissioner, California Secretary of State and the Employment Development Department (EDD) to understand how the State is assisting local communities and constituents overcome COVID-19 impacts.
I am part of a legislative group that meets with the Governor’s staff to discuss the concerns that Californians have with the impact of COVID-19 to help align the needs of the local community with state directives. Additionally, these conversations extend to regular communication with Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties about how to coordinate our support efforts for the district.
I have supported legislation and budget proposals in the California Legislature to assist our local communities with challenges including addressing the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by our frontline workers.
Our office has assisted local residents navigate individual questions and concerns related to state departments about a variety of issues including unemployment, DMV, Franchise Tax Board, and other areas.
|Which two issues are most important to you?:||1. Environment: Growing up in the district and now elected to represent Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, as a state leader, I know how important it is to protect our environment and champion this cause. I have authored several bills that have been enacted into law (AB 1328, AB 585, AB 1057) to ensure we advance environmental protections while also limiting the financial costs to taxpayers and local governments.|
2. Education: As a professional who spent years working with students and families before serving in the California Legislature, improving access to higher education and ensuring students are prepared for college coursework is important to me. I have had the opportunity of serving on the Budget Sub 2- Education Finance Committee and know the opportunities and limitations faced by our education system in our state.
Extended Interview with Monique Limon