Friday, January 20, 2017

AAPI Democrats Issue an open letter to Californians

Assemblymember Evan Low joined other Democratic legislators in an open letter to Californians.
Earlier versions of this post misidentified the above photo.
AFTER TODAY'S (Jan. 20) inauguration of President Donald Trump as the 45th President, President Barack Obama and his family took a flight on Air Force One to Palm Springs, California. Perhaps he wanted to get away from the hubbub in Washington and take comfort in the bluest of blue states, take in some golf and just depressurize after living under a microscope that last eight years.

Before Obama boarded Air Force One for that flight west, California's Democratic legislators issued an open letter today to the people of California marking the first day of the Trump administration. The seven AAPI legislators signed the letter.

The state, with its large immigration population and the diversity of its residents, voted overwhelmingly (2 to 1) for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over Trump; Gov. Jerry Brown has vowed to resist any attempts by the Trump administration to weaken the state's laws on protecting the environment and restrict guns; and numerous cities and school districts have declared themselves sanctuaries in preparation for the expected clampdown by ICE under direction of the new president.

"We will continue to honor our commitments to the people of California," the letter stated. "The California contract is a promise to ourselves and to one another that we will build a sustainable economy, environment and society that doesn’t just protect the wealthy or the powerful, but instead will benefit every Californian and benefit from every Californian."

AAPI state lawmakers joined in signing the letter led by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (Oakland-Hayward), chair of the California Asian * Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. He was joined by David Chiu  (San Francisco); Phil Ting (San Francisco), Kansen Chu (San Jose), Evan Low (Silicon Valley), Ed Chau (Monterey Park) and Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance). 

The letter acknowledges the new administration in Washington, D.C., but emphasizes that change will not alter California’s progressive path. Assemblymembers also participated in reading the letter on video.

The letter outlines a commitment to protecting California’s progress – and making new gains where necessary – on an array of issues including transportation, housing, education, jobs and the economy, environmental protection and environmental justice, equal protections under the law, public safety, immigrant protections, health, retirement security and freedom of information.
“We join together on these issues today, knowing that we have much to achieve, but knowing that our chances of success are bolstered by the scope of what we are working for,” the letter says. “Each piece is essential to a complete California dream.”
At stake is $105 billion in funds that comes from the federal agencies for safety net services and infrastructure improvements. It is feared that the Republican-controlled Congress will divert that money as a form of punishment.

Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare even though no plan has been proposed to take its place. The state has perhaps the most successful program in implementing the Affordable Care Act in its Covered California health care plan that has made more progress in lowering the percentage of its uninsured population from 17 percent to 9 percent between the launch of Covered California in 2013 to 2015.

After their respite in Palm Springs, the Obama family will return to Washington D.C. where they will live until their daughter, Sasha, 16, finishes high school in two years.