The greatest challenge the State of California now faces is the implementation of our greenhouse gas reduction goals and ameliorating the impacts of the Climate Crisis; I want to play a key role in accomplishing those goals. Most of this work will not require new legislation, but action by the private sector and regulators. During my ten years in the Assembly, I have spent many hours being a bridge between the research community, the legislature, and regulators. I have decided to make this my fulltime occupation.
For this reason, I am announcing today that I have decided not to seek a sixth term of office in the California State Assembly for the 2023-24 session. It has been the privilege of a lifetime serving my community and the people of the State of California as an elected Assemblymember representing District 20.
I look forward with great enthusiasm to making next year my most productive year in the legislature with bills to improve California’s environmental safety, streamlining regulations particularly in the cannabis industry, improving public access to state agencies proceedings, and criminal justice reform.
In meeting our climate goals, time matters, now more than ever. I first worked on greenhouse warming in the 1970s when I developed NASA’s first climate model. While on the Hayward city council, I led the effort to find the best way to preserve the Hayward shoreline. This resulted in a report that stressed the importance of building up our marshes to buffer Hayward against sea level rise. This concept is now in all the studies of how we can best protect the Bay Area and the nation from sea level rise. During my ten years in the Assembly, I have always supported bills to increase our greenhouse gas reduction goals and prepare for the impacts of the crisis we face from global warming, while supporting our environmental justice goals.
I have big plans for my next legislative year. I look forward to protecting the environment in my role as chair of the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials committee. I am extremely proud of my role on the Public Safety Committee. During my nine years, we have made great progress on police accountability and sentencing reform. I will continue my work to improve our reform of the regulation of cannabis, so the legal industry will be able to out-compete the black market. I am working to promote greater access to meetings of state agencies, so people from around the state can comment on how regulations are developed without having to travel to Sacramento and other locations. My intention is to achieve these goals with the help of my staff, partners, legislative colleagues, the Governor, and the people of California.
I have often paused to look around the Assembly chambers and thought what a privilege it has been to serve in the California State Legislature. During my tenure, I have brought the skills gained in my 40-year scientific career and my progressive principles to help the legislature serve the people of the state and for me to serve the people of Assembly District 20. I have had many jobs over the years. This is the one I have enjoyed the most.
I would like to thank my wife, Laurel, and my family for their immense support over these past many years that I have served in elected office. In addition, I want to thank the people of the 20th Assembly District. There is certainly a lot more work to do. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
Working together, we can ensure the best is yet to come.