A Look Back at State of the Region 2023:

Embracing Collaboration for Regional Prosperity

November 2, 2023 | Embassy Suites | Seaside, CA

The power of collaboration and the need for adaptability in response to changing economic and political landscapes were key themes at Monterey Bay Economic Partnership's recent State of the Region, gathering community leaders, experts, and stakeholders to discuss the future of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. Highlighting MBEP’s commitment to fostering economic health, inclusivity, and sustainability in the region, the Nov. 2 conference kicked off with a poignant acknowledgment of the traditional Rumsen Ohlone lands by UC Santa Cruz Chancellor and MBEP Board Chair Cynthia Larive, who also underscored UCSC’s initiatives in sustainability and education, reflecting the university's alignment with MBEP's goals for regional leadership and development.

Seaside Mayor Ian Oglesby highlighted the power of collaboration in building a vibrant Central Coast. He emphasized the shared mission of improving the region's economic health and quality of life.

MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya discussed the organization's proactive approach to addressing critical issues like housing and broadband access, the necessity of diverse housing options and digital equity, crucial for the region's economic vitality and inclusivity. She highlighted MBEP’s strategic initiatives, including collaborative efforts with UC Santa Cruz and region-wide projects like Uplift Central Coast.

The event stressed the importance of inclusive economic development, considering factors like climate sustainability, transportation, education, and childcare. Goraya emphasized the role of community engagement and networking in driving regional progress, showcasing MBEP's commitment to collective action. Recordings of each full session can be found below. For speaker bios and more information click here.

Welcome address

California Jobs First: Building California’s
Community-Led, Climate-Forward Economy Together

Samuel Assefa, Director of the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR), unveiled the ambitious "California Jobs First" program, poised to redefine California's economic landscape. The program's core principles are rooted in community-led, climate-forward economic development, underpinned by a commitment to equity and inclusivity.

The groundbreaking "California Jobs First" program adopts a unique approach to economic development, characterized by regional collaboration. The program recognizes and celebrates the diversity of California's economic regions, empowering them to define what constitutes a "California job," customized to their specific needs and strengths.

Highlighting the stark regional disparities within California, Assefa underscored the program's aim to address economic stratification and disparities in income growth, with the overarching goal of creating economic development strategies that benefit all communities, especially those historically marginalized.

Assefa emphasized the critical role of addressing climate change and harnessing renewable energy sources, and as California embarks on the path away from fossil fuels, significant opportunities emerge for economic growth and job creation.

The "California Jobs First" program represents a bold step towards redefining the future of California's economy, with inclusivity, sustainability, and innovation as its guiding principles.

A Call for Collaboration and Action: Towards an Inclusive Economy in the Monterey Bay Region

Economic growth can't be measured by Gross Domestic Product alone: Rather, it must be weighed against the distribution of that output and its impact on the community, says Dr. Chris Benner, director of the Institute for Social Transformation & the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change at UC Santa Cruz. Delving into a report that sheds light on the economic landscape of the Monterey Bay region, Dr. Benner argued that sustainable growth and long-term decision-making should be at the forefront of economic discussions.

Significant economic challenges facing the Monterey Bay region include disparities in education, income inequality, and issues related to housing affordability, said the prominent economist and researcher.

Dr. Benner highlighted the racial generation gap as a significant demographic shift in the region: This gap, defined by the proportion of non-Hispanic white individuals in the older population compared to a more diverse younger generation, poses a challenge for future civic leadership and representation. Addressing this gap and ensuring diverse representation is crucial for the region's future.

Education also emerged as a key focus area, with Dr. Benner stressing the importance of educational attainment as a pathway to better economic opportunities. While there have been improvements in high school graduation rates, significant racial disparities persist, underscoring the need for investments in adult education and K-12 schooling.

The report also delved into income distribution and inequality. Dr. Benner highlighted the alarming gap between the top 20% and bottom 20% of income earners, and stark disparities in homeownership rates among different racial groups, which bears significance as a critical indicator of wealth accumulation and prosperity that can be passed on to future generations.

The presentation also emphasized the importance of civic engagement and participation in the region's economic development, and the need to create and sustain "good jobs" in the region. He pointed out that a focus on certain sectors, such as agriculture and tourism, needed to be balanced with efforts to improve job quality and economic stability. The presentation encouraged exploring opportunities in ag-tech and technology to enhance economic opportunities.

The report recognized the importance of sustainability in economic development. The region's efforts to reduce energy consumption, improve greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce air pollution were acknowledged as positive steps towards environmental well-being. Additionally, achieving economic stability and avoiding the negative impacts of economic recessions were highlighted as key goals for the region.

Dr. Chris Benner closed with an invitation for collaboration and dialogue, stressing the importance of connecting the data and insights presented in the report with practical policy changes and initiatives.

Innovative Approaches to Workforce Housing

In an overview of MBEP's housing initiative, MBEP Director of Housing and Community Development Gabriel Sanders discussed the organization's role in advocating for, educating about, and coordinating efforts related to affordable housing. He emphasized the importance of employer-sponsored housing and highlighted key policy recommendations, including streamlining permitting, increasing allowable densities, reforming impact fees, and optimizing inclusionary housing ordinances, and shared recent legislative developments that impact housing in the region, such as SB 4 and ACA 1.

In a panel discussion moderated by MBEP Senior Housing Advisor Matt Huerta, regional leaders and experts addressed the pressing issue of workforce housing. The discussion shed light on the challenges faced by various sectors, including healthcare, education, and government, and explored potential solutions to alleviate the housing crisis.

The panelists emphasized the critical need for workforce housing, especially for those earning between 80% and 140% of the area median income (AMI). Despite their relatively higher income levels, many individuals in this bracket struggle to find affordable housing in the region.

On the panel were Dr. Matt Wetstein, Superintendent/President Cabrillo College; Julie Mahowald, Chief Financial Officer, Head of Partnerships & Strategy, Housing Trust Silicon Valley; Greg Smorzewski, VP/Chief Human Resources, Montage Health; and Abraham Prado, Director of Planning and Building Services, San Benito County.

Collaboration emerged as a key theme. Mahowald highlighted how Monterey Bay Housing Trust is partnering with developers to create workforce housing projects, creating housing solutions for various sectors, including healthcare, government employees, and educators.

Mazursky discussed the challenges faced by the healthcare sector and shared how Montage Health has taken initiatives to address this issue, including offering home loan programs for employees and equity share programs to attract and retain talent.

Abraham shared insights into the complexities of housing element updates. He emphasized the need for partnerships to provide affordable housing for farmworkers, government employees, teachers, and healthcare workers. The Farmworker Housing Act was highlighted as a step forward in streamlining housing development for farmworkers. He also raised concerns about overcrowding in households with incomes above the affordable housing threshold. Many families earning between 100% and 200% of AMI still struggle to afford housing in a market where the average single-family home costs over $800,000.

Legislative Update: Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas

State Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas addressed critical issues and opportunities facing the Central Coast region. A lifelong resident of the area, Rivas highlighted the importance of addressing key challenges and outlined his vision for the future. Key takeaways from his presentation:

Rivas emphasized the significance of engagement, partnership and working collaboratively with local stakeholders.

The affordability crisis affects the region and the state as a whole. He cited a recent ranking that placed Salinas as the seventh most expensive place to live in the entire country, driven by a median home price of $925,000.

Rivas shared a personal anecdote about his family's experience, highlighting how his grandfather, a farmworker making $6.33 an hour, managed to save enough money over 30 years to buy a home. He emphasized the importance of affordable housing for upward mobility.

With 60% of Californians worried about finding affordable housing, Rivas emphasized the urgency of addressing affordability issues and the need for immediate action. He commended the collaborative efforts of local leaders and stakeholders in addressing these challenges and highlighted the importance of working together to create solutions.

Legislative progress in the past year included bills related to broadband deployment, infrastructure, and energy, and critical infrastructure investments such as the Pajaro Levee.

Rivas also emphasized the importance of recognizing that solutions that work in other parts of California may not necessarily be suitable for the Central Coast. He stressed the need for tailored approaches to address local challenges.

Investing in Early Childhood:
Critical Social Infrastructure with Significant
Impacts on our Regional Workforce

Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez made a compelling case for investing in early childhood education and care, shedding light on the often-overlooked issue of childcare affordability and its significant impact on the region.

Child care, often unseen but profoundly felt, emerged as a central concern: While housing affordability typically takes the spotlight, childcare costs are soaring in Monterey County, making it a critical issue for families. According to Lopez, the average cost of child care in the region rivals college education, with families facing staggering bills of $14,000 per child.

As a form of social infrastructure, child care plays a vital role in supporting the workforce, ensuring that parents can pursue careers while providing quality care for their children. The lack of affordable childcare options is driving people out of the workforce or causing them to seek solutions elsewhere, said Lopez, leading to an exodus from the region.

Bridging the Digital Divide:
Insights from Experts on Broadband Access

Access to high-speed internet has become a necessity in today's connected world, but the digital divide persists, leaving many communities without the benefits of broadband services.  A panel discussion moderated by MBEP Senior Broadband Advisor David Witkowski shed light on the individuals and groups working to ensure that broadband access is not a luxury but a fundamental right, and highlighting strategies, partnerships, and grassroots efforts that are making a difference in bridging the digital divide.

Panelist included Elissa Benson, Assistant County Administrative Officer, County of Santa Cruz; Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez; Former FCC Commissioner Rachelle Wong; and San Benito County Supervisor Angela Curro.

Key points made in the discussion:

The role of regional consortia as champions of change in driving broadband access: These groups, led by local experts like Wong, are dedicated to advocating for funding and resources to bring high-speed internet to their regions. They serve as a driving force for change, educating communities and policymakers on the importance of broadband access.

Partnerships between public and private entities, nonprofits, and government agencies were highlighted as essential components of successful broadband initiatives. Curro emphasized the invaluable support received from organizations like MBEP. These collaborations not only provide funding but also expertise and resources for planning and implementation, ensuring that no community is left behind.

Panelists shared inspiring stories of grassroots efforts led by community members, such as the San Juan Bautista Rotary. These advocates raise awareness and drive change at the local level, proving that every voice counts in the fight for broadband access.

The panel underscored that broadband access is not just about internet browsing; it's an equalizer, leveling the playing field for education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Curro highlighted that broadband is the key to the future of economic development and education, connecting underserved communities to essential resources.

Throughout the discussion, panelists acknowledged the vital role of organizations like MBEP in providing crucial support, education, and resources to communities, advocating for broadband access, assisting with planning, and connecting regions with funding opportunities.

MBEP Digital Equity Initiative

MBEP Director of Economic Development & Digital Equity Ameer Othman shared an overview of MBEP's Digital Equity Initiative, which works to address multifaceted challenges ranging from infrastructure gaps to issues of awareness and adoption. While the region has seen historic levels of funding directed toward infrastructure development, Othman emphasizes the need to focus on raising awareness, promoting adoption, and expanding the community's capacity to leverage these new resources effectively.

The MBEP Digital Equity Initiative has been a trailblazer in recognizing the crucial role of broadband access and infrastructure in the region's economic development.

MBEP doesn't work in isolation; it plays vital leadership roles in organizations like the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority and the Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CBBC), and in creative solutions such as public-partnerships that are instrumental in expanding access and digital equity across the region.

The MBEP Digital Equity Initiative also offers technical assistance and guidance on grant rules and guidelines. Regional convenings bring stakeholders together to foster collaboration and promote digital equity, making it a community-driven effort.

At the heart of this initiative is a commitment to empowering communities. By providing digital literacy training and support to disadvantaged groups across three counties, MBEP is helping historically marginalized communities bridge the digital divide and access opportunities.

Affordability remains a significant concern, especially in urban areas with existing infrastructure. Othman highlighted the importance of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) in making digital resources accessible to all.

As part of its ongoing efforts, the initiative focuses on fixed wireless technology and hybrid broadband models, combining wireless and fiber optics to address accessibility challenges where traditional infrastructure falls short.

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership 2023 Community Impact Award Celebrates Collective Efforts

The year 2023 has been a remarkable one for Santa Cruz County, marked by resilience, community spirit, and collective efforts in the face of adversity. The Community Impact Award, an annual recognition, took on a special significance this year. Instead of singling out one individual or organization, the award celebrated the strength and unity of the entire community.

The event began with Susan True, CEO of the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County and a member of MBEP's Board of Directors, reminding everyone that they are not alone in their ambitions for the region. The award ceremony highlighted the idea that in times of crisis, the community comes together as one. From pandemic-related hardships to evacuations due to wildfires and floods, the community faced numerous challenges over the past three years.

Rather than recognizing a single person or organization, this year's award acknowledged the countless individuals who stepped up during trying times. It celebrated those who filled sandbags, staffed emergency centers, coordinated FEMA responses, and wrote impactful journalism. It praised those who drove seniors to safety and those who continue the arduous process of rebuilding after fires and floods.

The Community Impact Award recognized the outpouring of support from neighbors who gave their time, talent, and resources. Corporations and businesses played their part by contributing funds and sending employees to volunteer. The nonprofit sector truly shone during these trying times, providing critical assistance and support when it was needed most.

Public employees worked tirelessly to improve systems that better served the community. The challenges faced revealed gaps in public systems, and efforts are underway to ensure that these gaps are closed to create a more inclusive and supportive environment.

Bringing It All Together:
Ensuring the Triple-Bottom-Line

The presentation by Dr. Glenda Humiston, VP of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, was a compelling reminder of the potential that lies in collaboration and transdisciplinary thinking and underscored the importance of bringing together diverse expertise to tackle complex challenges effectively. Navigating an ever-changing world with evolving challenges, she issued a call to unlock opportunities through collaboration and ensure a triple-bottom-line approach that benefits society, the environment, and the economy.

While the role of research, teaching, and education remain essential, Dr. Humiston stressed the importance of expanding beyond the traditional boundaries of academia. While her institution is renowned for its contributions to fields like agriculture, nutrition, and technology, the real challenge lies in weaving these aspects together to enhance community well-being. It's not just about producing new crops; it's about understanding how these innovations impact the broader community.

Dr. Humiston called for synergies of "transdisciplinary" thinking, breaking free from disciplinary silos and encouraging engineers, biologists, economists, and social scientists to collaborate. In the pursuit of solving complex issues, having diverse expertise at the same table is crucial. She cited the example of agricultural technology (AgTech) where engineers can create machines, but their effectiveness depends on plant breeders who spend years developing crop varieties suitable for machine harvesting. This synergy cannot be overlooked.

Highlighting the expensive nature of research and development, Dr. Humiston praised the United States for its significant investments in research across various sectors and acknowledged the need for partnerships between academia, government, and the private sector to address grand challenges and facilitate the sharing of knowledge, resources, and innovative solutions.

Dr. Humiston emphasized the need to identify and capitalize on opportunities by collaborating with industry clusters. In California, she cited the example of the Central Valley AG Plus initiative, which focused on food and beverage manufacturing. Collaboration involving various stakeholders, including the workforce, new markets, infrastructure development, supply chains, access to financing, and research and development, not only benefited agriculture but also served as a model for other industries.

Regional initiatives such as Fresno's Future of Food (F3) project, which received the largest grant in the nation, show how multiple entities including research and development, workforce development through community colleges, and community engagement, can collaborate effectively to drive regional growth and innovation.

Legislative Update: Assemblymember Dawn Addis

In her legislative update, Assemblymember Dawn Addis, whose 30th Assembly District includes much of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, proudly shared several notable achievements that have made a tangible impact on her constituents: securing $20 million in direct assistance for flood survivors in Monterey County, funding for critical infrastructure such as Highway 1, and legislation aimed at safeguarding mobile home residents.

Despite its geographical and cultural diversity, Addis stressed the importance of recognizing the unity that prevails across the Central Coast and the collective efforts to drive positive change. In the face of challenges the district faced during winter storms and atmospheric rivers, nonprofit work and collaborative efforts played a crucial role in assisting with storm recovery.

Acknowledging the need for a stronger presence in the state legislature, Addis stressed the importance of a critical mass and a critical voice to effectively represent the Central Coast's interests. She emphasized the alignment of goals between the Central Coast Legislative Caucus and the Uplift Central Coast Coalition, working together for the betterment of the region.

To Go Far, Go Together:
Regional Collaboratives & Partnerships

In a panel discussion highlighting the critical role of collaboration in addressing community needs, representatives from diverse sectors, including the arts, education, and community organizations shared real-life stories and experiences demonstrating how these principles can drive positive change and create impactful partnerships.

Moderator Francine Rodd, Executive Director, First 5 Monterey County, led a panel featuring Celeste L. Baird, Director of Economic & Community Development, MBEP; Jennifer Laine, Executive Director, San Benito County Arts Council; Maria Elena de la Garza, Executive Director, Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County; and Dr. Larry Samuels, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor of UC Santa Cruz.

Laine shared a compelling example of how collaboration can spark transformative change. In response to the challenges posed by the pandemic, the California Creative Corps partnered with community-based organizations and government agencies. Their goal was to harness the creativity of artists to tackle pressing issues in four key areas: climate impact, civic engagement, social justice, and public health.

The 23 projects funded along the Central Coast resulted in the creation of over 300 jobs. These projects ranged from mural installations that raised awareness about climate change to public health campaigns led by artists, reaching thousands of community members.

Samuels, an advocate for regional collaboration, emphasized the importance of trust as the bedrock of effective partnerships. He shared a poignant anecdote about reconnecting with a friend, Bud Colligan, who was texting him from Laos. The panelists highlighted how, just a decade ago, there was a palpable divide between different counties in the region.

However, through persistent efforts and the formation of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, these barriers began to crumble. Being a good partner means lowering one's ego and seeking the common good, stressed Samuels. The lesson here is that trust and collaboration can bridge even the widest gaps.

De la Garza recounted the importance of listening to the community's needs during listening sessions throughout the region. Community organizations and institutions often assume what's best for the community, but true progress comes from genuinely understanding their needs. She emphasized that making the invisible visible, particularly regarding racial justice and equity, is an uncomfortable yet necessary step toward positive change.

Data is a driving force behind effective action, said Rodd, who she shared statistics that highlighted the stark realities faced by underserved communities: Some families reported annual incomes of just $5,000 due to the effects of the pandemic, fires, and floods. Panelists stressed the need not only to collect data but also to disaggregate it to understand specific community needs, and then to use that evidence to advocate for change effectively.

Collective Power to Support Climate Resilience

In a world increasingly confronted by the realities of climate change, Will Wiseman, CEO, and co-founder of Climatize, delivered a powerful message about the urgency of the issue, the economic opportunity of climate resilience, and his vision for how communities can play a pivotal role in addressing it.

While most people are already aware of the dire consequences of climate change, from devastating storms to destructive floods and wildfires, Wiseman said it's not a problem that will only affect future generations or distant places. Many individuals and communities have experienced a deeply personal connection with this issue: Wiseman's family has been evacuated multiple times due to fires and floods over the last five years.

Wiseman emphasized that climate change presents one of the largest economic opportunities of our lifetimes. By viewing it as an opportunity, communities can proactively seek solutions, create jobs, and transform their economies while decarbonizing in an equitable way. To address this complex problem at the speed it demands will require coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders. In particular, he highlighted the advantages of the Central Coast, such as its agriculture, education, innovation, talent, and capital, which position it well to lead the transition to a more sustainable future.

Wiseman shared his personal journey into climate activism, from his high school years installing solar panels on rooftops in Santa Cruz to a pivotal moment during global climate strikes in Barcelona in 2019 in which he realized that collective action alone was not enough. People needed practical ways to engage with and use climate solutions to become active stakeholders in the energy transition.

As a result, Wiseman and his co-founder created a crowdfunding portal that enables communities to invest in local energy projects.

Since its launch in May, the platform has helped raise over $1.5 million for solar projects across the country, enabling people to become active participants in the energy transition, investing in projects in their communities, and earning a competitive return on their investments.

Transformative + Equitable Clean Energy Transition

In a panel discussion moderated by Climatize CEO & co-founder Will Wiseman, experts and advocates highlighted the growth of the climate workforce, the significance of equity, and the pivotal role of nonprofits and advocacy in hastening the transition to a greener world.

Panelists included Dr. Brandon Tinianov, Climate Consultant; Evan Hynes, CEO & co-founder, Climatebase; Dr. Tiffany Wise-West, Sustainability & Climate Action Manager, City of Santa Cruz; and Gino Garcia, Assistant Planner, Ecology Action.

Hynes shed light on the meteoric rise of climate-related job opportunities: Climatebase has successfully connected nearly 10,000 individuals with climate-related careers, an achievement that speaks volumes about the burgeoning demand for climate professionals, with projections for an estimated 300 million new climate jobs on the horizon.

Tinianov emphasized equity as a core tenet of climate work, ensuring that climate action benefits every segment of society.

Nonprofits play an indispensable role in expediting the energy transition, according to Garcia: Over the last five years, Ecology Action's collaborations with local jurisdictions have resulted in securing approximately $200 million in transportation grants, catalyzing significant progress in improving climate resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in communities. Community engagement in decision-making processes is crucial to yielding more meaningful and impactful results.

Wise-West outlined myriad opportunities for both individuals and organizations to contribute to climate action. The climate sector is teeming with job openings, she said, offering various entry points for those eager to make a difference. She credited Resilient Central Coast for its role in empowering individuals to understand their climate impact and take meaningful actions, from emissions mitigation to climate resilience, and spotlighted opportunities for organizations to collaborate with the private sector, delving into areas like battery storage, solar energy, and microgrids.

Innovation in Education & Training =
Strong Workforce

Moderator Farris Sabbah, Superintendent of Schools, Santa Cruz County, led a panel discussion featuring Rosa Vivian Fernández, President & CEO, San Benito Health Foundation; Cesar Lara, Director of Workforce & Economic Development, California Labor Federation; Maria Rocha-Ruiz, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Educational Partnerships and Chief Campus Outreach Officer, K-16 Collaborative, UCSC; and Cody Cleverly, Workforce Development Lead, Joby Aviation.

Shedding light on the challenges and opportunities in workforce development, panelists underscored the interconnectedness of climate change, immigration, childcare, healthcare, and housing, and emphasized the imperative for collaborative efforts across sectors to tackle these challenges head-on. Tackling these formidable challenges necessitates collaboration across sectors.

Fernández revealed how her organization transitioned to complete self-sustainability through solar power. In 2019, they became entirely off the grid, setting a remarkable example for sustainable healthcare operations. A new facility project aims to be entirely self-sustainable, ensuring that the workforce can deliver vital services, even in the face of challenging climate conditions.Lara shared statistics showing that Monterey County boasts the highest percentage of undocumented individuals per capita in California, underscoring the urgency of comprehensive immigration reform and support for this vulnerable workforce. Coupled with a childcare crisis — there are 10,000 slots available for professional childcare, while the need is a staggering 30,000 — it underscores the necessity of affordable, accessible childcare and robust immigration reform to foster a thriving workforce.

Rocha-Ruiz presented a stark reality: the data revealed that nine out of 10 of the most common occupations requiring a high school degree or an associate degree in the region did not offer livable wages. Even with a bachelor's degree, five out of the 10 most common jobs do not provide livable wages at entry-level. This data-driven insight underscores the urgency of developing job pathways that lead to economic security, especially for historically marginalized students. Her team chose to focus on healthcare, engineering, computing, and education, carefully selecting pathways that offer livable wages, opportunities and accessible educational on- and off-ramps for career advancement.

Industry plays a pivotal role in shaping the workforce landscape, according to Cleverly, who highlighted how Joby and other industry leaders are making substantial investments in workforce development. Industry collaboration with the community is vital to create jobs that not only drive economic growth but also benefit the region as a whole.

2024 Political Headwinds:
Role of Policy, Civic Engagement, & Discourse

MBEP's 2023 State of the Region concluded with a compelling panel discussion, featuring co-moderators Zach Friend, Santa Cruz County Supervisor, and Cynthia Larive, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor and MBEP Board Chair, guiding an exploration of key issues facing the state. Renowned political strategist Mike Madrid and former legislator Ian Calderon shared their insights on topics spanning the 2024 election, the future of education, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for California.

Looking ahead to the 2024 election, Madrid expressed optimism tempered with realism: Historically low job approval ratings to dissatisfaction with the economy are among the unique dynamics shaping the race. The conversation shifted to demographics and the impact of cultural issues in shaping voter behavior.

Calderon highlighted the importance of education in California's future. He stressed the need for diverse voices at the table when crafting policies that impact education, especially given the state's budget challenges.

Both speakers emphasized the crucial role of civic engagement in shaping California's future.


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Launched Monterey Bay Housing Trust

Funding 500 new affordable homes.

Published Housing White Paper

Resulting in 14 + new policies that are improving housing affordability

Published Housing + Water "Blue Paper"

To recommend water policies that are increasing housing production

Published ADU White Paper

Aiming to educate about new laws, and strengthen policies and practices in Monterey County.

Launched Action Center

Resulting in 2,029 new homes

Implemented Farmworker Housing Action Plan

Resulting in 2,200 + new beds

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