District 2 State Senator Mike McGuire addressed a wide range of concerns during his presentation at the Windsor Democratic Club on July 23. The senator impressed the capacity audience with his work to date in his first term in Sacramento. On of his high priorities was to reverse the trend that has left our state ranked fiftieth in per pupil funding in the country. This year’s budget gives schools the greatest infusion of funds in many years.
Senator McGuire’s district includes rural counties that are often ignored. He has worked to secure money to replace an antiquated fleet of rural school buses, state-wide, which are costly to maintain, pollute the environment, and contribute to high rates of asthma in area students. Other education-related highlights in the budget are funds to add 60,000 community college slots statewide, 10,000 in the state university system, and 6,000 in the UC system. He has also targeted increases to career technical education for those high schoolers who are not planning to attend college.
With additional revenue generated as our economy improves, $35 billion in recession-era bonds have been retired, allowing for reinvestment to begin the improvement of our degraded infrastructure. Senator McGuire placed the backlog in maintenance of our California roads at $59 billion. $64 million has been allocated for repaving of Highway 101 from Windsor to Geyserville. He is continuing his effort to extend the SMART train to Cloverdale and to complete the third lane of 101 through the Novato narrows.
As a dedicated environmentalist who has 40% of the California coastline within his district, Senator McGuire wants to pass legislation to permanently ban offshore oil drilling. With roughly two-thirds of Democratic Assembly members receiving donations from oil companies, his efforts are likely to be obstructed.
Senator McGuire shared his work to regulate the state’s $40 billion marijuana industry, which is largely centered in Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake, and Trinity counties, all within his district. The lack of rules regarding the medical marijuana industry has resulted in degradation of our environment and has endangered public safety. The use of pesticides in cultivation effects wildlife; illegal diversions from rivers and streams exacerbates the limited availability of water. Legislation is needed for product testing, particularly in the edibles market, which has greatly expanded as a vehicle for marijuana ingestion.
The hard-working senator is also introducing legislation to legalize end of life decisions, modeled on Oregon laws that have been in place for 18 years. He is working to reintroduce redevelopment funds, which were a large support for affordable housing construction. Also on the housing front are bills to require reporting of vacation rentals.
During an extended question period, Senator McGuire was candid and knowledgeable in even the most obscure areas. Those in attendance left knowing that our state senate district is extremely well represented.
At our next meeting, on August 27, Supervisor James Gore will speak on the Lytton Tribal issue and other topics.
— Barry Hirsch