Happy New Year, and as 2024 unfolds, it’s crucial for every Californian and American to engage actively in shaping our political landscape. This year, California stands at a pivotal juncture, as highlighted by a recent California Public Policy Institute survey: 58% of Californians believe our state is on the wrong path, and 55% disapprove of the Legislature’s performance.
In the 2024 elections, we face critical decisions in California, including selecting a new U.S. senator to succeed the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein and addressing vital local issues on the March and November ballots. Campaigns will also be waged for local offices, and several critical issues will be on the ballots.
However, despite the importance of these elections, some significant issues remain noticeably absent from our ballots, such as the soaring cost of living in L.A. County and the escalating crime rates that plague our communities.
While certain issues may not appear directly on our ballot, the individuals we vote for and their stances on these matters indirectly shape our quality of life. If those we vote for have demonstrated an inability to set aside partisan politics and endorse policies addressing crucial concerns like high taxes, cost of living and crime rates, re-electing them will perpetuate the same issues. We should consider whether returning them to office aligns with our expectations for change.
California’s one-party rule has failed to address these pressing concerns. The supermajority of Democrats, controlling every state office, and both houses in the state Legislature, have widened socioeconomic disparities, increased crime rates and failed our education system. Their missteps, exemplified by ill-conceived policies like Assembly Bill 109, and Propositions 47 and 57, have only exacerbated public safety issues.
It’s been years since Californians received any substantive tax break. And while costs, taxes and fees have continued to go up, the state still has itself in a $68 billion deficit. There’s plenty of blame to go around for that deficit, but it doesn’t change the fact Californians deserve a tax cut. Take any policy area — gas and energy, consumer goods, renters and property owners — there’s more than enough room to offer Californians some relief. It’s only fair.
Regarding public safety, reasonable people of all parties agree the “defund the police” movement was a failure and only empowered criminals and created more victims. Politicians and even local candidates on the far left, who once kneeled during protests, now hope voters forget about that mistake. The best thing Californians can do would be to demand the repeal of Prop. 47, Prop. 57 and AB 109 — three laws that really provided the foundation for the “defund the police” movement.
To impact real change, it’s crucial to get involved. Have meaningful conversations in your communities, using evidence-based discussions to showcase the shortcomings of current representatives. Don’t be a jerk, no one likes to listen to jerks. Back candidates genuinely dedicated to making a positive difference, not just chasing social media popularity. And most importantly, cast your vote! Encourage your friends and family to participate in both the primary and general elections. Your voice matters.
In this pivotal year, let’s collectively declare “enough is enough.” Vote. Volunteer. Contribute to candidates who genuinely prioritize Californians’ interests. By demanding accountability and promoting sensible policies, we can usher in the change our state desperately needs in 2024. I am fiercely resolved that California can and will be steered back onto the right track.
Suzette Martinez Valladares is Santa Clarita’s former assemblywoman, wife, girl mom, avid DIY’er and a monthly contributor to The Signal’s “Right, Here Right Now,” which appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.