My career has always been devoted to the public interest, whether representing victims of human trafficking and domestic violence or advocating for social justice legislation. A few years ago, I was unexpectedly thrust into the public eye when I testified before members of Congress regarding the importance of comprehensive insurance coverage for reproductive health. As the media attention and the personal attacks grew, I knew I could retreat and wait for it to pass, but I believed it was my responsibility to stand up and use the microphone I was given to advance the policies I've always fought for.
I want to serve in the California State Senate for the same reason: it's how I can most effectively fight for the change my community needs. I am asking for the votes of the people of the 26th Senate District because for a decade I've been fighting for legislation on issues that matter to families here in Southern California.
Some folks may know only what national media has highlighted about my work. I've already begun meeting directly with voters throughout this district, but in case we haven't gotten to meet in person yet, here's some of what I'd tell you:
1) I've worked on a myriad of progressive issues
I have done a lot of work to advocate for affordable access to birth control and other reproductive justice concerns, but it is far from the only issue I am passionate about.
I've helped pass legislation ending discrimination against LGBTQ folks in family court, and for over two years worked with a grassroots coalition to pass the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. I've advocated for young people to have access to affordable health coverage, for student loan debt relief, and for raising the minimum wage.
2) I am a proud Angeleno
I am proud of the work I've done over the years to serve my community in Los Angeles. Back in 2010, funded by the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, I produced an informative film guide to help victims of domestic violence obtain restraining orders in LA courts. I represented those victims myself at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles. At the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, I'm one of the longest running volunteer attorneys representing victims of human trafficking. I chair a program that trains LA's grassroots advocates at the National Council of Jewish Women of Los Angeles. I have been active on issues impacting families across Los Angeles and look forward to continuing to serve my community as a State Senator.
3) My roots are in the middle class
I grew up in a rural community in a middle class family. My father worked in manufacturing and saw plants open and close, union jobs come and go, for decades. Now he's a pastor. My mother works in a public school as a guidance counselor, and because my family was willing to make sacrifices for me, I was the first person in my dad's family to earn a bachelor's degree.
When people talk about adequate funding for education, affordability of college, and how we need to work with teachers to improve the education we provide for every child, I understand it on a personal level. When voters talk to me about the middle class getting squeezed, or the lack of job security, I know what that feels like. Like many, my upbringing shaped me and has helped define my positions on education, jobs, and economic justice.
4) Sacramento is where I can most effectively create progressive change
Democrats have a narrow super-majority in Sacramento, and California is a legislative model for other states. While Washington is paralyzed, Sacramento is a place where exciting legislation can become law if there's the right person there to fight for it. I've been fighting for California legislation like the repeal of the family cap on public assistance. As a State Senator, I'll push California to be a progressive leader for the rest of the country.
There's a lot that needs to get done in Sacramento. Successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act is extremely important for the state. We need to protect our fragile environment and beautiful coast. We need to support good job creation to grow our middle class. The list goes on and on.
5) I'm going into this with my eyes wide open
Sacramento is far from perfect. There are too many elected officials who are there to fight for special interests instead of the people who voted them into office. That's why we need a fresh perspective, and a representative who doesn't need to repay decades of political favors.
I'm not that kind of insider special interest candidate, so I am going to have several well-funded opponents. Deep-pocketed special interests are already weighing in on behalf of other candidates. Because the 26th State Senate District has almost one million residents, this will be a big, expensive campaign. I will need the support of everyone who stood with me in 2012!
Although this will be a tough campaign, I have never backed down from a fight, and I know how important the change I'm for is. I am excited to work hard every day in neighborhoods from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica, from Torrance to West Hollywood.
Now you know me a little better. Those who know me best will tell you that I've always fought for progressive change and that I'll make my constituents proud. Please visit www.standwithsandra.org to join me in this fight.
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