A New Governor & Supermajority Legislature Seek to Act Bold

by Jesus Mata, LeadingAge California

The New Year has brought with it a new, diverse and progressive group of Constitutional Officers ready to serve California. On January 7th, Gavin Newsom was sworn in as California's 40th governor. Eleni Kounalakis is now the first woman serving as Lieutenant Governor. As the new Insurance Commissioner, Former Senator Ricardo Lara is the first openly LGBTQ statewide elected official. Furthermore, Fiona Ma was sworn in as California State Treasurer, former Assemblymember Tony Thurmond was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Secretary of State Alex Padilla and State Controller Betty Yee were sworn in for their second terms.

In the California State Legislature, democrats now have a supermajority in both the Assembly and Senate, holding 89 out of 120 seats. However, this does not mean they will always agree on their approach to addressing the biggest issues Californians face. Since the start of the new session in December, the legislature has eagerly introduced new bills, seeking to work with the new governor on legislation and funding for affordable housing, childcare and education programs, extended paid parental leave, tuition-free community college for two years, and many more.

In his inauguration speech on January 7th, Gavin Newsom spoke of “A California for All,” and acknowledged that "We face serious challenges – some that have been deferred for too long." As a candidate, Newsom said that California's aging population "needs to be invested in… needs a plan to address the long-term aging needs of this state. I want to extend to you my commitment – not just my interest – my commitment – to lead that charge.”

That commitment and leadership are absolutely necessary for an incoming California governor, writes LeadingAge California's Eric Dowdy in a Sacramento Bee op-ed. In a state where the over 65 population will increase by 4 million by 2030, the Chief Operating Officer states that "we need a master plan for aging that replaces California’s disjointed and fragmented approach and that prepares us for the crisis we all know is coming."

But it is up to Californians to hold our lawmakers accountable for taking action to address the needs of its rapidly aging population. Join LeadingAge California in asking the Governor to make good on his promise to create a master plan for aging in California.