It’s December! And while I know we are all eager to turn the page on 2020, I also know this last month of the year will be a busy one, with holiday traditions—both old and reimagined for the times we are in—and with all the work that is going on to prepare for the year ahead.
In the California State Senate, we began preparing for the 2021 session of the Legislature even before we wrapped up the last one! Our top priority, of course, is continuing to help Californians through this pandemic and to ensure that our economy recovers and grows. And we are looking forward to working on those critical issues with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris once they take office in January.
Our next session will officially begin December 7, when newly elected and re-elected Senators will be sworn-in. I am enormously proud to be starting my second term as the Senator for the 39th District—and honored that the voters have again placed their trust in me. I will respect and honor that trust every single day. I will also always remember where I come from: both the small towns of Southwestern Virginia where I grew up, and the big city of San Diego, which I have now called home for 35 years.
Senators will be reintroducing important bills on housing production, broadband access, and criminal justice reform, along with other bills that had the support to pass this year but were prevented by some unfortunate roadblocks in the process. I will also be reintroducing my bill to help local communities fight sea level rise, which I had set aside to focus on the pandemic and the economy. Because these bills have already had so much heavy lifting done to get them into shape they will be among the very first to be considered in 2021.
One of the best things about being part of this community is the many opportunities we have to give back. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my staff and I worked with California American Water providing gift cards to over one dozen local non-profit organizations to purchase meals for hundreds of families as part of “Operation Gobble.” And thanks to the generosity of community partner PepsiCo, we were able to offer holiday meals to benefit San Diego Youth Services, a nonprofit committed to serving homeless, runaway and other vulnerable youth. Team Toni also assisted with the annual Scott Carlson and Dan Ferbal Thanksgiving Dinner, hosted by the San Diego LGBT Community Center and the Imperial Court de San Diego. Following local and state guidelines to protect the community, they worked with local businesses to distribute “to-go” dinner boxes. December provides even more opportunities for us to help. Right now there are many organizations in our community whose need is even bigger than their hearts.
During Christmas of 1944, E.B. White—the author who gave us Charlotte’s Web—wrote a memorable article thanking all the soldiers, sailors, nurses, and homefront workers for everything that they had done in that difficult year. His message remains the same today when you think about all we have been given by health care workers, grocery clerks, and first responders who are doing their jobs so the rest of us can all live as close to normal as possible during COVID-19. Or by everyone who signed up to be part of a clinical trial for a vaccine. Or by the people who check-in on their elderly neighbors or help local businesses stay open. 2020 has certainly been tough. But, as E.B. White said back then: “This is a Christmas you will never forget, people have been so generous.”
Jennifer and I wish you and yours all the best this holiday season. And here’s to a brighter 2021!