I will be voting no to confirm Senator Abel Maldonado to the second highest constitutional office in the State of California, a heartbeat from the Governor, that of Lieutenant Governor.
Much has been made of his congenial personality, his friendly demeanor, and his one vote to increase the minimum wage. But in order to take Senator Maldonado's true measure I instead look to over 150 votes on issues of great significance to all Californians, laws that impact farmworkers, health care, civil rights, labor, women, consumers, seniors and the environment.
Senator Maldonado voted no on proposals to provide farmworkers with necessary payroll information so they could better pursue employers who failed to appropriately calculate their pay. He voted no on a proposal to extend penalties against bosses who engaged in unfair labor practices and no on a measure to fairly calculate piece rate and rest periods for farmworkers.
He voted no on a measure to secure maternity services for women and, even though medical bills have been the largest reason for personal bankruptcies, NO on Single Payer Health Care coverage.
While President Barack Obama is encouraging change in the military practices of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Maldonado voted no on a resolution urging Congress to abandon the policy, no on the Harvey Milk Day resolution and no on an effort to curtail negative campaigning based on sexual identity.
If you are a working man or woman in California, and suffered wage discrimination, Maldonado voted no on extending the time you could seek justice for having been wronged. He voted no on regulations to control indoor heat illness, and no on overtime protections for nurses.
He voted no on programs to prevent teen pregnancy, no on federal funds for prenatal services, and refused to vote for a resolution asking the President and Congress to uphold Roe v. Wade.
In spite of the economic devastation suffered by California's families because of foreclosures, Maldonado voted no on requirements that would have protected homeowners in trouble because of higher priced mortgage loans.
Despite the fact that there are 1 million residents in California's mobile home parks, he voted no on a measure that would afford modest protection against mobile home park conversions where residents have the property sold out from under them, destroying local rent control.
His votes against environmental protections for Californians are almost too many to count. Here are a few: no on AB 32, California's landmark global warming legislation; no on the Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007; no on reducing exposure to the toxic effects of fire retardants; no on cargo fees for pollution mitigation; no on requiring fuel efficiency and alternative energy for state and local motor vehicle fleets; no on protecting state parks boundaries; but a resounding yes on a CEQA exemption for the construction of a football stadium.
I too am the child of immigrants. My father came to this country with a strong back, no money, and big dreams. My mother's family came here to escape the violence of the Mexican Revolution. Through hard work, sacrifice and belief in the American Dream, I have been able to achieve a modest measure of success. But I have never wandered from my obligation to embrace and encourage the aspirations of those who continue to struggle, those who harvest the food we eat, those who fight against all odds to realize their dreams too. I will be voting no on Senator Maldonado's confirmation because I refuse to compromise the American ideal.