by Barry Hirsch
District 2 Assemblymember Jim Wood was the featured speaker at the January 28th meeting of the Windsor Democratic Club. Mr. Wood was elected in 2014 to represent California’s 2nd Assembly District, which includes all of Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties, as well as northern and coastal Sonoma County.
In Sacramento, Assemblymember Wood serves as vice chair of the joint committee on fisheries and aquaculture, and on standing committees including Appropriations, Business and Professions, Health, Natural Resources, and Rules.
Additionally, Assemblymember Woods is the chair of the select committee on the Digital Divide in Rural California. This issue, which Mr. Wood promised to address during his 2014 election campaign, involves the challenge of bringing dependable high speed internet and cellular service to the northern rural counties that comprise the majority of his district. This service, which is largely taken for granted in most of Sonoma County, effects many aspects of life in rural areas, limiting access to opportunities in fields ranging from education to healthcare. This infrastructure is built and owned by the private sector. The incentive to make the large investment to provide services to a small customer base provides the challenge. Mr. Wood explained his efforts to find public sector funding to assist in bringing these services to district constituents. He credited District 2 U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman for his work at the federal level to direct additional funds to the district for the expansion of dependable telecommunications.
Mr. Wood also spoke at length on his groundbreaking sponsorship of Assembly Bill 243, The Marijuana Watershed Protection Act, which sets cultivation guidelines and funds environmental enforcement for cannabis farmers in California. Seeing the environmental devastation created by illegal growers on forests and watersheds, Mr. Wood authored the bill, which has become a cornerstone for the regulations of the medical marijuana industry. He voiced concerns regarding proposed 2016 ballot measures that would legalize recreational marijuana use. Having already dealt with the massive complexities of the medical sector, Mr. Wood feels that expansion into the recreational area can best be dealt with if the legislature takes the lead.
The expanding problem of opioid addiction, which has been in the national news, was touched on by Mr. Wood. He said that 70% of opioid abuse begins with items found in the family medicine cabinet. Several areas to address the problem were discussed, including limiting access at the prescription level, and providing greater opportunities for treatment. All options require revenue, which is challenging to get, given the budget process in Sacramento.
Mr. Wood formally begins his campaign for reelection on February 11th at an event at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens from 6 to 8 p.m. Visit Jim-Wood.com for details or call 707-385-1114.
The Windsor Democratic Club next meets on February 25th at 7 p.m. at the Windsor Round Table Pizza. Craig Anderson, the executive director of LandPaths, will be the speaker.