Issues

 

STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY & MAKE IT WORK FOR EVERYONE

I’m running for Lt. Governor to lead California toward a better, stronger future. California values and diversity underpin and drive our economy forward, and truly make California great. We must continue to pursue policies which grow our economy - while ensuring that it works better for everyone, not just those at the top.

When I returned to California in 2013 from serving my country as a U.S. Ambassador, I could see that too many families in our state had not recovered from the 2008 economic crisis. From Shasta to Riverside, families struggle under mounting credit card debt and student debt, rising housing prices, and the soaring cost of healthcare and childcare. Ultimately, families are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. The California Lt. Governor chairs the state’s Commission on Economic Development. I will use my experience in the private sector, as a diplomat, and as the Chair of the California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council, to help grow our state’s economy and advance policies that will make it work better for all Californians.

 

CREATE MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING & STRENGTHEN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE

I’m a housing expert. I spent nearly two decades building master planned communities and creating housing for middle-class families and in the Sacramento area. I know the answer to California’s housing crisis is MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING. It is essential for every healthy community that first responders, police officers, firefighters, public school teachers and health care workers are able to live near the places where they work.

A recent study found that the high cost of housing is driving California’s #1 poverty ranking, and the California Budget and Policy Center cites high rents for keeping 1 in 5 members of our population in poverty. There are countless studies and reports showing what we all can feel - California has a housing crisis.

Communities still haven’t recovered from the 2008 economic recession. Homelessness is on the rise. Middle-class Californians are being pushed out of cities where they grew up. And many families are sacrificing more so they can stay in their homes or keep up with rising rent.

As Lt. Governor, creating more affordable housing and strengthening our state’s infrastructure will be a priority. We need to continue to invest in our roads, highways, bridges, transit hubs and waterways. Building housing - and investing in the infrastructure that supports it - creates good-paying jobs and stimulates our economy.

 

MAKE COLLEGE MORE ACCESSIBLE AND MAKE STUDENT HOUSING AFFORDABLE

The Lt. Governor plays an important role in California higher education as a member of the UC Board of Regents and the CSU Board of Trustees. I am committed to fighting to bring down the cost of higher education for California students. Here in California, we have one of the best systems of higher education in the world – but with costs soaring, college is out of reach to too many of our kids. It is time to change this.

Student Housing: As I traveled across California, I heard countless stories of students struggling to find places to live while going to school. As a housing expert, I realized that the soaring costs of higher education are not tuition alone - it’s housing too. Some students are forced to choose between a bed or a semester’s school books - and some even sleep in their cars because they have no other options. We can reduce the cost of higher education by making student housing more affordable, and as Lt. Governor, I will work tirelessly to make that a reality.

Student Debt: Many students and their families who don’t qualify for grants, and who can’t afford to pay out of pocket, turn to student loans to help pay their way through school. This means that students graduate with a pile of debt, making it much harder to buy a home, or invest in a business. Saddling our young people with debt so early in their lives and careers pushes them back beyond the starting line. California can to do better.

Free Community College: San Francisco became the first city in the nation to make community college free. Community colleges not only serve as an affordable means to higher education for students after high school, but they also serve as community hubs and adult education centers.

Value Career & Technical Education: I believe that California needs to create and support multiple pathways for people to succeed in higher learning. Allowing for more California high school kids to take Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes helps prepare students for in-demand careers, and builds a better-trained workforce to fuel our economy.

 

ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE CHILDCARE

I was proud to be a member of California’s First 5 Commission for early childhood education. As a mom of two sons, I know just how important it is to make sure kids have the care and education they need. California can - and should - do more for children 0-3 years old. We must support safe, thriving in-home daycares and daycare workers. If elected, I will also fight for universal preschool so that when our kids enter kindergarten, they are prepared and ready.

I fundamentally believe that we not only need to increase access to child care, but we also need to make childcare more affordable to California's families. In some cities, child care costs more than monthly rent, and many mothers (and fathers) cannot afford to go back to work. We know that when more parents work, it stimulates the economy and creates more economic prosperity. California should support working moms - and that starts with making child care affordable.

 

FIGHT FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE FOR ALL CALIFORNIANS

The Affordable Care Act is under assault, and Californians risk losing their healthcare. Here in California, healthcare must be considered a human right. That’s why I support universal healthcare coverage.

A single-payer solution must be at the center of this debate. U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders proposed Medicare for All, and I support their proposal. However, if there is no federal level solution soon, California must be prepared to lead the way with its own plan for universal coverage.

 

PROTECT CALIFORNIA’S DIVERSITY & IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES

My father came to the United States when he was 14 years old - alone and penniless. He became a farmworker in the fields of Lodi, California, and later graduated Sacramento State University on a waiter’s salary. He started his own business, where I was proud to work with him side-by-side for nearly 18 years, rising from project manager to president. I have personally walked the path of the American Dream, and I deeply understand the value of California’s immigrant communities.

I proudly served as a member of Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante’s One California Commission, which helped lead the fight for equality for all Californians. As the daughter of an immigrant who started out in California as a farmworker, I believe we should give farmworkers a pathway to citizenship. You can join me - sign my petition here.

And as California’s next Lt. Governor, I will make it my mission to protect our immigrants, defend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and fight for equality for all Californians. Finally, like many, I’ve been extremely concerned about the rhetoric and actions of the Trump Administration. I love California – I was born and raised here. It’s where I’m raising my sons. This is my home, and I’m going to stand up to anyone who threatens to undermine our values or the diversity and strengths that make us great.

 

EXPAND UNIVERSAL BROADBAND

On my summer road trip, I traveled to over 50 counties across the state. Throughout my travels, there's one issue that has been raised almost everywhere I've been: the demand for high-speed internet access!

According to the 2017 California Broadband Adoption survey, 1 in 3 Californians lack broadband at home, and in rural areas that number is much higher. According to Jessica, a U.S. Census Bureau partnership specialist I met in Humboldt County, broadband access is so important that it is a demographic data point the Census is tracking.

Broadband is also essential for economic success. Broadband deployment and adoption programs are some of the easiest and best policy measures that can be undertaken to boost the economy. Recent studies show that those measures increase employment and job stability, speed job searches, improve the economy of local communities, and increase the state's GDP.

As Lt. Governor, I will work hand-in-hand with the state's leading broadband experts, the California Broadband Council, the California Emerging Technology Fund, and the UC Riverside Center for Broadband Policy to make sure every person in every corner of California is connected to the internet and has the skills necessary to be able to fully participate in the 21st century economy.

 

FIGHT FOR GENDER, LGBTQ+ AND RACIAL EQUITY & PROTECT A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE

As a mom, mentor to other women, and hardworking activist for marriage equality and gender and racial equity, I have dedicated my entire life to public service and fighting for equal rights. I’m proud to have intersectional support in this race, and there is no doubt that I will fight hard for racial and gender equality in policy, government and every aspect of society. We need more protections and more advocates, and we need to empower people from marginalized communities to have a louder voice in our state government.

I believe California must lead the way into the future - and that means doubling down on our California values. This starts with never tolerating discrimination and ensuring equal rights for all. 

Even in 2017, we’re still fighting to protect a woman’s right to choose. We need leaders tough enough to stand up to those who threaten to undermine Roe v. Wade. I will always support our rights as women to have control over our bodies, and to make our own decisions about our health, including having access to safe and legal abortions.

 

PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT

As an outdoorswoman, avid hiker and occasional bird hunter, all my life I have marveled at the biologic diversity and natural beauty of California. I was immensely proud when President Obama signed the Climate Agreement in 2016, taking a major step forward in the global effort to address climate change. But as California continues to lead the way in environmental protections, the Trump Administration sets our country backwards.

We must continue to push for smart policies that combat climate change, protect our water supply and air quality, and stop corporations from taking advantage of our natural resources. I have proudly pledged to not accept contributions from oil companies, pharmaceutical companies or soda companies.

Protecting the environment and growing your business are not mutually exclusive. During my nearly 20 years in creating affordable homes and master planned communities, I worked closely with environmentalists and biologists to protect sensitive habitats and wetlands. I believe that you can be energy-efficient and protect the environment and still have a profitable business.

As Lt. Governor, I will serve as a member of the State Lands Commission. I pledge to be a good steward of California’s public lands. We must protect our coasts and beaches from storm drain runoff and pollution. I support the policy that no oil and gas product from new drilling ever makes landfall in California, and I support an oil extraction fee so Big Oil pays its fair share.

 

GROW CALIFORNIA’S ROLE ON THE WORLD STAGE

As a former United States Ambassador, I will help make sure that California’s voice is heard on the world stage. Although the Trump Administration is withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords - an agreement which was largely crafted by the Obama Administration - California is standing strong and remaining in full compliance with the Paris agreement. From our dedication to fighting climate change, to our leadership in innovation and technology, California has a more important role to play than ever. Our ethnic diversity grants us a bully pulpit to speak out on important issues, including calling for the immediate recognition of the Armenian genocide, an issue which has been important for me for decades as a proud Greek American.