I am excited and looking forward to having the opportunity to work in Sacramento on behalf of our Assembly District. I heard from so many people when traveling throughout the district on the importance of finding real solutions to the issues facing our community.
Growing up, I never imagined that I would find myself in the California State Assembly. In Paicines, I was raised by my grandparents and single mother in farmworker housing. My family instilled in me the importance of hard work and education. I overcame a speech impediment that caused me to stutter when speaking. Few people would have thought that, with my background, I would one day hold elected office. With the support of my family and the lessons in perseverance they taught me, I was able to graduate from college and begin a career of public service.
My public service career began in this district. I worked for former assemblymembers Simon Salinas and Anna Caballero in their district offices. I enjoyed traveling throughout our district, gaining a better understanding of our region as I listened to engaged community members. I wanted to do more for my community and decided to run for office in my home county of San Benito.
Remembering the lessons of hard work and perseverance from my family, I ran for supervisor and focused on talking to as many residents in my district as was possible. Since then, it has always been important to me that I remain connected and accessible to my community in order to better understand the challenges we face.
In Sacramento, I am focused on addressing the issues of our district. We need housing built now. We need to find solutions that will allow for more affordable housing to be built faster for the hard-working families of our region.
From day one I have been speaking to other leaders in Sacramento on how we can streamline and reduce the barriers that only add costs to the building of the housing that is needed today. Along with housing, I will fight to ensure that our district gets the funding necessary to repair and maintain our roads that are vital for the needs of our residents and business community.
I will continue to be a bold leader addressing the environmental issues facing our region and California. We owe it to our children and future generations to leave them a California that continues to be home to vast regions of natural beauty and wonder. We have seen the effects that climate change has had on California, from devastating fires to increased flooding. It is important now more than ever that we pass legislation that will preserve and protect our precious environment. Without such measures the health of our residents and economy will be adversely affected.
My focus on education will never waiver. The importance of every child having access to a quality public education is essential to preparing our students for careers in a rapidly changing economy. California cannot continue to see economic growth if we do not address the growing achievement gap in our education system. I will work with education leaders to find solutions that give students the opportunities to learn and be successful.
I look forward to seeing you at events throughout our district that bring our community together. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet and hear from people throughout our district.
I am humbled by the trust you have placed in me and grateful for the chance to serve you. I look forward to continuing to meet and work with local leaders to build a better community. Working together, we can tackle the tough issues and find the solutions that make the California Dream a reality for all.
Robert Rivas was elected in November to represent the South Valley in Sacramento as the District 30 assemblymember. He wrote this column for Gilroy Life.
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