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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Smart Voter

Heidi Harmon
Answers Questions

Candidate for
Member of the State Assembly; District 35


The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

Questions & Answers

1. How would you prioritize the fiscal choices the Legislature must make to align the state’s income and spending?

The first priority should be to establish a "rainy day fund" similar to Governor Brown's proposal. The way the state tax structure currently exists creates great volatility in revenues and causes real damage from boom and bust spending. The timing is right for this because if the current surplus. The next is a tie between infrastructure and climate change adaptation. The state faces many increased climate related threats to our local communities; increased and long term drought, frequent and larger wildfires, and many public health ramifications must be prioritized as these issues are a threat to our state budget.

2. Given our current drought condition, concern for water rights and usage is an important issue. What solutions would you support to address our water problems?

When we have limited common resources we will always face challenges to finding equitable ways to share them. Due to the many divergent stakeholders, water rights and usage needs to be managed as effectively and inclusively as possible. California needs to create appropriate policy while balancing the need for timely resolution with the potentially damaging long-term consequences. The Central Coast needs to strike a balance between our fiscal health and our resource health. It's important to keep in mind that this crisis was predicted and thus potentially avoidable decades ago. California faces many similar challenges to sharing our common resources now. How we come to a solution on the dwindling water supply will be an good indicator on how we handle related resource challenges in the future. This is a great challenge and thus is a great opportunity to show leadership on these important resource issues.

3. California high school students rank lower than many states in student performance. What do you see as the ongoing role of the Legislature in addressing this problem?

After having spoken with several people involved in education and observed children from the Central Coast demonstrate aspects of the Common Core, I have never been more excited about public education. The teachers and children are engaged and excited about this approach to learning. What this program lacks is the adequate funding to fully support it. Proposition 30 ultimately did not provide the funding that the teachers and children need and deserve. There is no reason, as one of the biggest economies in the world, the California Legislature should not be providing top-notch education for our children and compensation for their teachers. We need to continue to support English learners and socioeconomically disadvantaged students from preschool to higher education. The move towards privatization shifts the goal of education from the benefit of the students to the profits of the privately held companies. Adequate funding of our schools would avoid this undesirable outcome.

4. What other major issues do you think the Legislature must address? What are your own priorities?

The primary goal of the California State Legislature needs to be a comprehensive climate and energy policy. California has always been a leader in innovation and technology and our policy should focus on supporting the innovative pathways to move us to the renewable energies we need. We are the only oil producing state in the nation that does not have an oil extraction tax. This means that California is giving a two billion dollar tax break that the state could use to create the green energy and infrastructure jobs we need.

In addition the State Legislature should have the courage to stop putting the short term economic gains of the few over the long term viability of the many. One of the important ways we can achieve this goal would be to enact comprehensive campaign finance reform. Turning over the Citizen's United decision is essential if we are to continue to be a democracy.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. References to opponents are not permitted.

Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: July 16, 2014 10:39
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