Soapbox

Assembly GOP will work to restore California Dream

The state Assembly met  in December for an organizational session where lawmakers took the oath of office.
The state Assembly met in December for an organizational session where lawmakers took the oath of office. Associated Press

As the 2015-16 legislative session begins, I am excited to serve as Assembly Republican leader and will work hard to deliver the kind of leadership that all Californians deserve – leadership focused on practical solutions and bold ideas that will revitalize every region of California and improve the quality of life for all those seeking to prosper in our great state.

Despite reports of economic recovery, the realities of hardship and frustration continue – high cost of living, limited choices in education and scarce employment opportunities – leaving many people disenchanted and stressed. As working parents seeking the best for our children, my husband and I can relate.

My goal is to unite Assembly Republicans around core priorities that will make Californians’ dreams more achievable again: a quality and affordable education, a healthy and growing economy and a government that works for us, not against us.

Assembly Republicans are well situated to deliver this message because we don’t fit in a box. We know what will help families and communities flourish because we’ve been on the ground fighting for our own dreams.

I am a daughter, a wife and a mother of three school-age children. I am a sister and an aunt. I am a business professional, a strong advocate for public education and a tireless representative for my community.

The caucus I am honored to lead is our most diverse ever: small-business owners, parents, community activists, farmers, even a software engineer. We have the first Korean Republican woman and first Taiwanese member ever elected to the Assembly. We have a higher percentage of women in our caucus than the Assembly Democrats.

Like many California women, I work hard each day to balance work and home life. I have to maximize every minute of the day to juggle my personal and professional responsibilities by tuning out unnecessary political noise and focusing on results. I apply this approach to my job as GOP leader as well. Rather than chase the impossible, I focus on the possible.

Californians are tired of bitter, partisan politics that lead to nothing but gridlock and childish finger pointing. I am, too. We want and deserve solution-focused leaders who will roll up their sleeves and get results without sacrificing their principles. We want and deserve leaders who have the courage to represent people over and above special interests.

Assembly Republicans will bring our personal and professional experiences – along with our winning ideas – to the table with our Democratic colleagues to deliver positive and tangible outcomes to the classroom, to the workplace and to the dinner table.

This session, we have already introduced measures to help parents and college students by freezing tuition at our state universities while the education tax is in effect; reducing costs on small businesses from predatory lawsuits so they can thrive and hire more people; helping families by stopping state government from placing higher costs on gas and by providing working parents with more scheduling flexibility in the workplace; and encouraging civic participation by requiring all bills to be available for public review at least three days before they are voted on.

We are currently at work on measures that will provide teachers and school districts the support they need to give each and every one of our kids a high-quality education. We will promote creativity, innovation, freedom and entrepreneurship – values that first made California great and that result in economic growth and new jobs.

I have worked, and always will work, across party lines to offer conservative solutions, mold consensus and help make ours a state that delivers on its promises to each and every Californian.

Great opportunities come with tremendous responsibilities. Our diverse, hard-working caucus has been given the opportunity to lead and represent each of our unique districts, despite our collective minority status in the Legislature. We will now take that opportunity – and responsibility – and work together to convince our Democratic colleagues that conservative ideals of limited government and opportunity for all will lessen the challenges facing our communities and state.

Kristin Olsen is Assembly Republican leader and represents the 12th Assembly District, which includes portions of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

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