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John Laird

John Laird
John Laird - California State Senate District 17 candidate

State Senate - District 17

Why are you running for office?: I’m running for California State Senate to expand our state efforts against climate change, ensure a strong response to COVID-19, support economic recovery, make sure there is universal health care coverage for our citizens, develop affordable housing, and protect our public education system.
What makes you qualified for the job?: As a Mayor, City Councilmember, Transportation Commissioner, Nonprofit Director and Community College Trustee, I developed experience to tackle the key issues we now face. As an Assemblymember, I authored 82 bills signed into law, on civil rights, environmental protection, first-time homebuyers, community college health services and more. As Assembly Budget Chair, I navigated difficult fiscal times as I fought for healthcare, education and our environment.

For eight years, I served as Secretary for Natural Resources, working hard on California’s climate change efforts, safeguarding agricultural land, leading the state’s ocean protection program and pushing back on federal attempts for more offshore oil drilling. I was a leader in the first forest carbon plan in the 50 states, providing a roadmap for forest management that tries to meet the challenge of a changing climate, and a century-long fire suppression pattern that has only added fuel to the firefighting challenge. We funded CalFire to respond to the “new normal.” I was part of Governor’s Brown’s action to add more CalFire units for controlled burns, and money for forest treatment projects.

I have earned endorsements from teacher, firefighter, nurse and building trades organizations, as well as the League of Conservation Voters, Equality California, Governor Newsom, former Governor Brown, State Schools Superintendent Thurmond, Senator Bill Monning, and local mayors, county supervisors and school trustees throughout the district. I will use my experience, drive and commitment to serve the 17th Senate District. 
What are your two main priorities if you win?: My two main priorities as a State Senator will be:

1. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of the public health response and economic recovery

2. Addressing climate change., While taking on these issues head-on, I will also work hard on the ongoing critical issues of affordable housing, healthcare for all, and education access and funding.
How will you interact with other governments?: In my time as California Secretary of Natural Resources I worked with Federal agencies on a variety of environmental concerns, and I am prepared to do so again. California needs an equal, and cooperative, partner in the Federal government.

Having worked extensively at the local and state level government level I am prepared to be a strong partner to both local jurisdictions and state districts as we create integrated solutions to the challenges we face as a state. No one entity can address these issues alone. We need coordinated responses at all levels of government.
What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?: If I’m sworn into the Senate on December 7, I will assess the situation at that time and move for appropriate action. Based on the current situation, I would want to make sure there is adequate protective gear for front-line personnel, work to fund the activities required to continue fighting the pandemic, and work to ensure the reopening of businesses and community resources that might not be reopened at that time.
Which two issues are most important to you?: In the economic downturn, many issues fold into one – making sure people have adequate health care, affordable housing, and that there is not a digital divide between students who have moved into distance learning. An equally important issue is to combat climate change – in both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in dealing with impacts, such as increased wildland fires.
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