California lawmakers whose districts include the Santa Clarita Valley are set to be sworn into office Monday, including the newest member of the local Sacramento delegation, Republican Assemblywoman-elect Suzette Martinez Valladares.
The days leading up to the newcomer’s ceremony after a sweeping win have been “bittersweet” due to preparations being “very fluid” as plans to have family members attend with her on the Assembly floor would no longer be allowed due to COVID-19 safety guidelines in place, she said Wednesday.
“The ceremony will be streamed and this is going to be a swearing-in unlike any other because every vote will be by a voice vote and that hasn’t happened since the 1930s,” she said. “So, a bit of history will be going down.”
With COVID-19 figures on the rise, not only in her district but also across the state, Valladares said she will waste no time in addressing the needs of her constituents after a busy campaign season, helping connect those affected by the pandemic with available resources. She said she is also preparing to introduce two pieces of legislation as early as Monday.
“Knowing that those in our restaurant industry will be unemployed, I’m really eager to get phone lines open and emails open to help our community,” she said, adding that among her priorities include looking at ways to safely reopen businesses and schools and “(asking) the tough questions, looking at long-term consequences” of what a full closure could do to communities.
Monday’s ceremony will also officially welcome back incumbents state. Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita; Sen. Henry Stern, D-Calabasas; and Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale. The lawmakers took to social media or issued prepared statements, thanking their supporters for re-electing them and sharing their first orders of businesses, which centered around COVID-19 recovery. Wilk, for example, said he would focus on safe reopening protocols and addressing issues related to unemployment benefits.
“On my return to Sacramento I am looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues and local governments to develop solutions that safely open our schools and businesses,” said Wilk. “We as a state need to follow sound science, supported by publicly released data and then empower local policymakers to make the best decision for their community.”