We are in the most difficult economic times California has seen since the Great Depression — but also the most important time for me to serve my state.

All the services we care so much about are on the brink of being obliterated, and I will continue to work to restore our state’s world-class education system, and being the voice to protect our most vulnerable populations.

In my first two years in the Assembly, we were able to pass two on-time budgets, reduce the state structural deficit from $20 billion to less than $5 billion, and I was able to pass legislation that directly serves my constituents, including helping local governments protect critical waterways, such as Lake Cachuma and Lake Casitas, from non-native quagga and zebra mussel infestation. AB 2443 will allow communities to act earlier to prevent mussel infestation and respond quicker to the significant problems they create. Mussel infestation has already damaged aquatic ecosystems in the Great Lakes region, costing the public billions of dollars.

Even with this, there is still much more to accomplish to save the public services, such as education, that our society so desperately needs. Unfortunately, two years is not enough time for me to get all of this done, and I very much look forward to staying in Sacramento to find solutions that will put our state back on the right track permanently.

My top priority in the state Assembly is to find new revenue sources to prevent further cuts to K-12 education, and return funding to the UC and CSU systems. Ensuring that more resources get in the classroom and creating opportunities and funding to hire new teachers and make higher education accessible for everyone is also part of that challenge.

For the past two years, I have served on the Education Committee and was recently named to chair the Assembly Higher Education Committee, a tremendous honor, given my humble beginnings and personal experience with our state’s higher education systems.

In order for our state and children to remain competitive in the 21st-century economy, we are going to need the best schools and teachers. A key step toward that will include passing Prop. 30, which raises and dedicates funding for schools.

We will meet that challenge by securing necessary education funding and by ensuring that teachers have the opportunity to provide students with an enriched educational experience.

In order to continue that work, I ask for your vote and look forward to continuing to represent you.

Das Williams, a Democrat from Santa Barbara, is running for re-election.

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