1. California ranks among the top states in per capita expenditures on a number of government programs (i.e. corrections, law enforcement, general government), but just near or below the national average on expenditures for kids’ programs, including education and Medi-Cal. What are your thoughts on this prioritization of expenditures and what, if any, changes would you make in this regard?
Our children must be a priority. The are one of the most vulnerable in society. I do not have any specific efforts I would make at this time but am open to exploring and understanding more details on this particular item.
2. California assumes responsibility for abused and neglected children when we remove them from their homes. Therefore, the State is legally obligated to ensure that children and youth in foster care receive vital services and supports to meet their unique needs and find safety, stability and success. How would you strengthen the child welfare system?
Improving the vetting and accountability of foster families.
3. California ranks poorly in national reports for supporting families with infants and toddlers. The state does invest in programs like evidence-based home visiting – which provide guidance, offer coaching, and connect parents and caregivers to health and social services – but those only reach about 2% of families with young children. What strategies, if any, do you support to aid new and expectant parents and young children during this critical phase of life?
I would like to explore the possibilities of a welcome box for parents of newborn that is given out by the hospitals at the time of birth. What is in this box is where we can communicate and provide resource information.
4. More than 2.75 million young children live in California, with the majority being income-eligible for child care assistance. Yet just a fraction of eligible children have access to subsidized child care spaces, due to insufficient funding for child care capacity. This gap is most pronounced for infants and toddlers, where child care subsidies served only 14% of eligible families (pre-pandemic). What is your position on this issue, and what, if anything, should be done to ensure that all families have access to high-quality child care?
I would be open to discussing income based childcare subsidies but do need better education on what is currently being provided. I was Chairman of a Day Care Center board of directors and I know day care costs have increased because of the increase in staff costs and compliance requirements which in turn increases tuition.
5. The average salary of a California public employee is nearly $87,000, while the average salary of a California child care provider is $35,400, and most other professionals who work with kids are also below the public employee average. What are your ideas, if any, about responding to this disparity?
I believe some of this is being taken care of by the increases in minimum wage. I am NOT supportive of mandating what people get paid. I believe the market will cause that to get better when they have trouble with retention. Day care centers must be lean and creative in staffing so that the costs of childcare are reasonable.
6. The latest available data shows California ranks 49th among the 50 states in teacher-to-student ratio, 47th in school counselors, and 46th in school administrators. We also rank near the bottom in terms of school nurses, with approximately one nurse for every 2,400 students and no nurses at all in some smaller counties. What are your thoughts on these rankings, and what, if anything, should be done in response?
My impression is that the spending in our public schools is off balance. I am supporting public/private clinics on school grounds in my own communicate to help support this issue. Removing this burden from the school system.
7. California has the highest percentage of kids who are dual language learners, ages 0-5, (60%) and school-age English Learners (21%) in the country. How should the State support these students’ bilingual/multilingual potential? What are your thoughts on how educators in early education and TK-12 can be prepared to assist these students to meet their language development needs?
There are many schools in my area that are doing a great job creating strong bilingual students. I also like parents to have the option to send their children into immersion classrooms to create more bilingual children.
8. Over the past 40 years, state spending on higher education has dropped from 18% to 12% of the state budget. What is your position on funding for public higher education?
Again I need more education but my observation is that our colleges seem to be doing just fine as I watch them build and improve their campuses.
9. Over 55% of California’s kids are enrolled in Medi-Cal, but California performs near the bottom amongst all state Medicaid programs when it comes to children’s access to primary care physicians and important childhood screenings, especially for children of color. In addition, many California children lack access to oral health care, vision services, hearing aids, and mental health and substance abuse supports and services. What would you do, if anything, to increase access to these services?
I am supportive and promote and have even sponsored health fairs in these communicates working to connect service providers with the communicate in a fun atmosphere so that they can gain comfort in taking advantage of the services. Also I serve on the St Jude Medical Center Advisory Committee and we are consistently working on this particular issue to move the needle and expand access.
10. The suicide rate among Black youth has dramatically increased in recent years. In addition, Major Depressive Episodes (MDE) among youth have grown, but only about one third of youth with an MDE received treatment. What should be done to ensure that more children receive needed mental health supports and services?
There is great creative work going on right now in light of this statistic and others. I support all ideas including counselors, therapy dogs, numbers you can dial to get immediate support, and expanded awareness campaigns of the services that are out there. I am also loving the online/zoom counseling that is available through social media channels it is a great way to reach the youth.