Why are you running for State Assembly?
I have been in public service for over 30 years and I have the experience, dedication, courage, and tenacity to serve the people of District 25.
My experience serving on several boards and commissions, School Board, and the City Council has given me the skillset to start the job on day one, with the knowledge and background information that is essential when making decisions that affect the lives of people living in cities and counties.
What do you love most about District 25?
District 25 has one of the most diverse populations in the state. There is diversity in age, ethnicity, socioeconomic levels, creativity and entrepreneurship. There is diversity in geography as well and how each city in District 25 has its own perspective overlooking the towering beautiful foothills to the East. Every area is unique in their priorities and that’s what I love about District 25.
If elected what would your legislative priorities be?
My legislative priorities are Education, Public Safety, Traffic, Housing and ensuring sustainable job markets.
What are some things you see that are happening in local government right now that inspire you?
Government was formed to represent the people. What inspires me is that people are coming together for common causes and are making their voices heard.
Where should the state’s priorities be in terms of K-12 education? Do you have any proposals/ideas for increasing funding in education?
Our priorities should be to close the achievement gap. We need to prepare our workforce to meet the demands of a global economy. We must include our teachers as to what works and what doesn’t work in the classroom. I have the experience of 27 years as a credentialed teacher, and too many times teachers are overlooked for input when legislators make decisions regarding education.
We should also re-examine the curriculum taught at our high schools; for example, we should teach “Financial Literacy” to prepare our students for “Real World” life skills. Also, Early Childhood Education in our High Schools, so when these students become adults they will have some background knowledge of how to raise a child. Studies have shown that the ages zero to five are the most critical years of a person’s life. We should take a proactive approach to reduce any factors that create poverty and violence in our society. Funding is good and increasing it is even better, but throwing any amount of money at education is not a cure all. There needs to be fundamental changes in the curriculum to close the achievement gap, and when elected, I plan to be at the forefront of making those changes occur. Currently California is ranked 37th out of 50 states in the nation in terms of testing scores. This reflects poorly on our current leadership.
Any proposals for bringing more affordable housing to our region?
I would support any housing initiatives that create more housing stock, but it must have the “buy in” from the community and have local control. Cities must have local control of how and where they should build more housing. I support new legislation on ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units), which was recently adopted by the State Legislature to provide more affordable housing in cities and counties.
Do you have any ideas that would help our state government function more effectively?
Many complaints from citizens are that the state is too bureaucratic. We need to streamline processes that would slim down the bureaucracy. One possibility would be maybe having “Government Apps” on your cell phone so citizens can have direct “real time” access with their legislators through their office staff.
What do you think the biggest issue is that’s impacting our residents in our district, and how do you intend to help fix it?
I feel traffic is the biggest issue facing our region today. Traffic congestion is affecting the quality of life for many residents. Some of the residual effects are noise, air pollution and stress. Mass transit is one solution. To alleviate traffic I would propose an incentive of a Tax Deduction for those who use Mass Transit. I would also strive to find ways to make our transportation infrastructure seamless with less traffic impediments.
What is something unique that you bring to the table?
As a teacher for over 25 years, one has to be creative, think fast, and improvise when needed. I am an innovative person and come up with “out of the box solutions.” I am a risk taker and have a “Just Do It” attitude in life’s journey.
Whether it’s working with children or working with adults.
What do you love to do in your spare time?
I love to read good books and teach lessons to our youth. I like to go hiking and gardening. I also enjoy volunteering with my Kiwanis Club.
Anything else you’d like to share?
A Vote for me is one more vote to make sure California is on the right track to ensure your representative puts your priorities first. Please visit my website to find out more about my campaign. Visit: www.carmen4stateassembly.com