The Ventura County Star’s Endorses to Re-elect Hannah-Beth Jackson
Editorial: Re-elect Hannah-Beth Jackson to state Senate
Engaging state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson in a discussion on public policy is like enrolling in a master’s class in government.
Known for her fierce advocacy for women and family issues, the Democrat from Santa Barbara is also deeply knowledgeable, and deeply committed, to many other issues and ideas, ranging from education to prison reform. But in each instance, she will examine those ideas — and be realistic about their political success — through the lens of how they would impact people.
Jackson is running for her second term representing the 19th Senate District, and The Star Editorial Board endorses her re-election bid against Republican opponent Colin Patrick Walch. The district includes Santa Barbara County and west Ventura County.
Her career is steeped in public policy engagement, from her law career in both the public and private sector, her involvement in local and state women’s organizations and her service in the Assembly from 1998-2004.
Last year she won passage of a hallmark piece of legislation, the California Fair Pay Act, which requires employers to pay employees of the opposite sex equivalent wages for “substantially similar work,” a marked change from the former standard of equal pay for equal work. Jackson used the new language based on negotiations with the state Chamber of Commerce, which showed her willingness to adjust her legislation to win support without abandoning her principles.
This year she won legislative approval of another one of her priorities, the New Parent Leave Act. It lowers the limits for which businesses must permit parental leave to include those with 25 to 49 employees. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who expressed concern about its impact. Jackson vows to reintroduce the bill.
Those two bills are part of a mission by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, which Jackson chairs, that also includes creating greater access to child care and better pay for child care providers, and increasing state aid programs to help lift recipients out of poverty.
Jackson is concerned about the long-term economic viability of state revenues, despite what she called a positive session where the Legislature “kept the lid on spending exuberance,” as she puts it. Like others, she is concerned about a boom-and-bust financing cycle because so much state revenue is built on taxing the wealthy, which creates uncertainty in down economic times.
That fiscal uncertainty in government, she says, rolls down to decisions by business, by workers, by consumers. She wants the state to begin looking for more stable funding sources, suggesting exploration of ideas such as a sales tax on services.
Education has long been a concern for Jackson, and she wants to find ways to “tighten and focus our education system” so students are taught to think critically. That starts with a better investment in child care and requires more attention to early childhood education. At the upper ends of the education spectrum, Jackson advocates school programs that will train students to learn the skills necessary to work in the 21st century economy rather than simply obtain diplomas.
She also would advocate changes in how we approach incarceration of criminals, with a greater push for rehabilitation combined with a stronger system to provide released inmates with support on the outside to help reduce the state’s high recidivism rate.
And Jackson remains firmly committed to environmental protection, particularly when it comes to her district. She has been engaged throughout the year with state and federal bureaucracies regarding the followup to the Refugio oil spill north of Santa Barbara, the Summerland beach oil leakage and the rusty, dangerous oil and gas equipment on Rincon Island.
She also carried, along with state Sen. Richard Pan, the legislation that cleaned up state law regarding autopsies and the role of medical examiners. That was legislation she adopted based on what happened in Ventura County last year with the county medical examiner.
That is a good example of how Jackson can focus on what is important and necessary within her district, while still having the capacity to tackle the broader societal issues.
We do not always agree with her on positions, but we always know she comes to her views from a solid policy basis and is always willing to listen to the other side.
We endorse Jackson for re-election to the state Senate in the 19th District. The residents of the district, and of California, should continue to benefit from her wisdom, skills and acumen.