By Will Fritz
Staff Writer 

Hear from 75th Assembly District candidates

 

Last updated 2/7/2020 at 1:12am

Kate Schwartz (D)

The 75th Assembly District spans from Escondido to Temecula. Assembly member Marie Waldron, a Republican who has represented the district since 2012, is running for reelection. She is opposed by Democrats Kate Schwartz and Roger Garcia. Garcia did not respond to a request for an interview.

Kate Schwartz (D)

What makes you uniquely qualified to hold the office you are campaigning for?

As a licensed behavioral health care provider, I have 35 years' experience in a successful career advocating for patients and families, and 20 of those years within our North County and Temecula communities. As such, I was elected to the Fallbrook Regional Healthcare District by a very wide margin. I have an in-depth understanding of our health care system, as well as the community services and resources available to assist our community members.

I have been active and engaged countywide with county leaders and administrators, discussing solutions to some of our quality of life issues impacting our district. After working within the community level, I am now prepared to effect change regionally through policies that effectively and efficiently meet the needs of our region, in order to maintain and improve our quality of life.


I do not accept funding from corporations; thus, I am able to focus on meeting the needs of constituents, rather than big business donors. I have also been a small-business owner for 34 years and understand the concerns and contributions of our small-business communities and will support them. Rather than sitting on committees and receiving awards, I have been out in our communities doing the work. This provides me with a closer connection to our communities.

And I am one of you. I pay 50% of my income for my housing. As a widow, and thus a single parent, I always worked two jobs to support my family after my late husband died from cancer. I understand the deficits of our health care system both as a family member and a provider.

What is the single most pressing issue facing the district you represent/hope to represent in the years to come?

Enhancing our quality of life within our district encompasses a number of interrelated issues needing to be addressed. We need to solve traffic congestion and the air quality and climate problems long commutes create, while reducing miles traveled for commuters to work, by both updating our transportation infrastructure and creating 21st century transportation systems, which will include transportation hubs offering a variety of transit options and encouraging, through subsidies, increased electric vehicle use and increased availability of EV charging stations throughout both San Diego and Riverside counties.


We need improved and updated mass transit options. We also need to create affordable housing closer to employment areas, with decreased development in outlying unincorporated and fire-prone areas. The development that should be taking place in our former suburbs should be locating large employers to the outlying areas where their workers currently live.

Homelessness is a tragic social and health crisis that needs to be solved. I am in a unique position to assist with statewide and regional solutions, as I have dedicated my career to health care and social service issues. I served on a startup team that created a crisis residential treatment center for young adults, ages 18 to 25 years, who were facing crises of homelessness and behavioral health conditions.

And our health care system is in crisis. Few of us can afford both our housing and our health care costs, which have continued their meteoric increases while our paychecks have remained stagnant. And although I too, like everyone in Sacramento, can review the statistics of high California housing and health care costs, I am able to connect the faces and the lives to the crises, because I speak with patients and families every day about these issues.


How do you intend to tackle/solve that issue?

I will work through enacting legislative policies, to direct the needed funding to our counties of San Diego and Riverside, to enable our county and local governments to create the needed changes to improve our quality of life. I will work with our San Diego County leaders, such as SANDAG, to create new and innovative solutions to our needed transportation upgrades, and I support the Big 5 Moves Plan.

I would work in a similar fashion with funding for transportation projects for Riverside County Transportation Commission, leveraging both federal and state funding for improvements and upgrades. I support increasing density and creation of affordable housing near transportation corridors and transit centers, as well as near employment centers throughout both counties.

We have a need to fund and create thousands of affordable housing units throughout our state, and in the areas where the jobs are – rather than far off out in the countryside where there is inadequate infrastructure, and increased commute hours for workers. All of these measures will also keep us on track with our greenhouse gas reductions regionally and align with our regional Climate Action Plan.

I want to tackle homelessness with the "Housing First" model, an evidence-based strategy that is shown to be efficient and effective in permanently decreasing homelessness and providing the needed wrap around services to address behavioral health care and social service need. Thus, assisting our homeless neighbors to get back on the path to recovery and becoming contributing citizens to their communities.

And I intend to work on the Health Committee to create the affordable health care solutions we all need for our quality of life and peace of mind. It is time to have a health care professional sitting on our Assembly Health Committee representing AD 75, a professional with years of lived health care experience.

And quality of life also includes improving our per pupil expenditure for our public education, investing in our future generations. I would like to create legislative policies that will enable us to keep our families here in California.

What are some of your key objectives when/if you are elected?

I will immediately be requesting to serve on both the Health and Transportation Committees.

My objectives include improving our quality of life in Assembly District 75 through smart growth and development with the creation of affordable housing units, improved transportation infrastructure, utilizing the "Housing First" model to decrease the epidemic of homelessness in our communities, provide the needed wrap around services to improve mental health and self-sufficiency of our homeless neighbors, re-invest in our public education system and provide affordable health care to all Californians.

I plan to bring town halls back to our district, holding public meetings with constituents across the district, meeting with local community leaders, and establishing productive dialogue. I will be an Assembly member who will be present, visible and available to our district communities.

I will be eager to hear from constituents on identified needs within their communities, and discuss proposed solutions. I will be working hard to make progress on the issues that I've described here.

Marie Waldron (R)

What makes you uniquely qualified to hold the office you are campaigning for?

With almost 30 years working in the local region, running a small business and now serving as Assembly Minority Leader in the state Legislature, I use my experience and training every day to serve the people of my district and our great state. I serve on the Assembly Health Committee, as a member of the Mental Health Caucus; the Coordinating Committee of the Stanford Neurosciences Initiative; as vice chair of Local Government Committee. I am a former city councilmember and vice mayor in Escondido for 14 years. I worked on public safety and economic revitalization and was North County Transit District Board representative. I served four years as honorary chairman of the California Business Advisory Council advocating on behalf of California's small businesses to Congress.


A retail and manufacturing company business owner for 25 years, I'm a parent, a volunteer and continue to run the business.

What is the single most pressing issue facing the district you represent/hope to represent in the years to come?

Homelessness and its related problems of mental health and substance use disorder are a huge issue both in my district and across California. The state has enacted many programs to try to "deal" with the homelessness crisis. Many are simply throwing more money at the problem and are not acknowledging some core issues, including substance abuse and mental health co-occurring disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.

The state's solutions have been to house the homeless without mandating they go into treatment. This strategy simply will not work. We have a severe workforce shortage of mental health and substance-use disorder treatment counselors and access to care for mental health and substance-use disorder is a major obstacle.

How do you intend to tackle/solve that issue?

I have written several bills in a bipartisan package to increase access to care by streamlining prior authorization process for treatment protocols, incentivizing more certified providers in Medication Assisted Treatment and working on parity for mental health care – as important as physical health care.

Locally, awesome work has been underway in North County to not only "deal" with homelessness but to solve it. That is why I support Solutions for Change, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to solve family homelessness – one family, one community at a time with a vision different in that it did not include more shelter beds, feeding programs or traditional human services, but rather an audacious plan to create access to permanent solutions using a hybrid model. All the parents being helped would work, pay rent, attend on-site workshops and classes and be engaged in a dynamic coaching system.

Due to my extensive work in health care, Universal Access to Care and mental health, I was selected as one of only two legislators to participate in the five-year Stanford Initiative on Mental Health and Opioid Addiction, bringing together leading scientists and policy makers to work on these two important issues.

What are you some of your key objectives when/if you are reelected?

My key objectives are to represent all people of my district regardless of party, working every day to make California a great place to live for all with a vibrant quality of life, affordable lifestyle and clean, healthy environment.

This goal includes working to help our homeless, working on affordable solutions to the housing crisis, attaining accessible and affordable health care, preventing public safety disasters like wildfires by creative solutions for prevention, funding for vegetation management and working on utility stabilization and reducing outages, fighting for transportation and water infrastructure improvements which are so much in need of expansion and of course, reducing costs for our hard working Californians who struggle every day to make ends meet; choosing between their health care premiums and their food budget or making a mortgage payment versus putting gas in the car.

California faces great problems, but by working together with our governor and colleagues in the legislature, we can make good progress.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at [email protected]

Marie Waldron (R)

 

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