Labor Day is upon us. And beyond enjoying some well-deserved time off with friends and family, it’s a time to celebrate the achievements of working women and men throughout our country’s history.
It is due to the fight of the labor movement that most now enjoy an eight-hour work day and weekends off from work, in addition to better wages, health care, workplace safety standards and the elimination of child labor.
My work prior to serving in the Assembly was rooted in the labor movement. After graduating college, I wanted to help children. After spending time working for a Tribal Head Start, I learned that the economics of a family has the biggest impact on the early brain development of a child.
So, if I wanted to change the lives of our children, I really needed to fundamentally change the economic opportunities for families.
It was that knowledge that led me to spend more than 20 years in the labor movement and then run for office, to fight for economic stability for all people.
Right now, families are struggling. So many have to work multiple jobs just to put food on the table.
Parents are deciding whether they should pay the rent, or take their kids to the doctor. Housing is unaffordable for most and health care costs are bankrupting people.
This reality is unacceptable, and one I am fighting to change in the Assembly.
In all of our efforts since I first took the oath of office, we have been focused on changing the economic circumstances for working women and men in our community through legislation, constituent advocacy, and our work in the community.
Through legislation, we have bills that are focused on creating more affordable housing in our community, protecting health care for seniors, increasing sick days for health care workers, and more.
And excitingly, we secured a record $20 million in the state budget specifically for our own Assembly District 40 communities, some of which went to organizations that work with constituents to address economic challenges.
The Child Care Resource Center, Penny Lane, California State University Northridge, the Child & Family Center, VIDA Mobile Clinic, Bridge to Home, and Northeast Valley Health Corporation all support folks in our community facing tough economic circumstances and all will receive significant funds from the state dollars we secured.
Through our constituent advocacy — also known as “casework” — we have cut through red tape to put money right into people’s pockets. We are doing that through helping to get folks their paid family leave, unemployment insurance from the Employment Development Department, disability, rental and utilities assistance, as well as middle-class tax refunds.
This work has led to more than $375,000 directly to folks in our community.
Through our community events, we have also been working to provide support that families need.
We recently held a backpack giveaway event where we provided 600 backpacks and school supplies to more than 200 families who needed the support as their children head back to school.
Earlier this year, we also hosted a Health Fair, where families in our community were connected with resources and support for physical and mental health, as well as substance use treatment and prevention.
I wanted to serve as your assemblywoman because I want to help the working women and men in our communities who, despite working hard every single day, still struggle for financial security. I also strongly believe that the role of government should be to help people with opportunities to realize their potential and stability that provides peace of mind.
I am so proud to now be in a position to deliver on the promise I made to our community, and I’m excited to continue to do this work so every family and child can thrive.
Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, represents the 40th Assembly District, which includes most of the Santa Clarita Valley in addition to the northwest San Fernando Valley. “Democratic Voices” appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.