Pilar Schiavo | Navigating Economic Uncertainty

Pilar Schiavo, Democratic Voices

Prior to serving in the state Assembly, I was a small business owner. Running my own small business while being a single mom was tough. 

With so much economic uncertainty, putting food on the table, filling up my car, and paying for health care was incredibly difficult. Growing up with parents who were small business owners and struggled to make ends meet was even harder. 

Luckily for our family, my dad eventually got a union job — it completely changed our life and my parents’ ability to provide for their kids and have retirement security. 

Today, families in our community are facing the same struggles. Cost of living is again on the rise, and too many don’t have the ability to cover all of their everyday costs. 

Families are having to decide between taking their kids to the doctor or filling up their gas tanks. A trip to the grocery store costs hundreds of dollars. And saving for the future is completely out of reach. 

That’s why in the Assembly, I have been focused on making people’s lives better by addressing their economic challenges in a variety of ways. 

First and foremost, we have been laser-focused on helping our constituents, putting more than $675,000 back in people’s pockets since I took office just one year ago. 

And, we have assisted more community members in our first year than our predecessor. We have done this by helping people with rental and utility assistance and helping to move their cases within state agencies like unemployment, disability, DMV, consumer affairs and more. 

Securing these dollars for folks, and helping them cut through red tape, brings much-needed funds directly back into wallets for families at a time when it’s really needed. 

We were also able to secure a historic $20 million in critical infrastructure investments that came directly back to our community. These projects will help to protect our water, support our schools and kids, clean our environment, provide health care and bring solutions to homelessness and those struggling in today’s economy.

Finally, we are tackling our economic issues legislatively as well. 

When talking with people throughout our community, one of the main things that comes up around affordability issues is housing. 

People used to move to our district for the opportunity to own a home, and now owning a home — or even finding affordable rental options — has become impossible for many. 

That’s why we have been working to bring down the cost of housing with two bills in the last legislative session: Assembly Bill 519, to streamline the state funding process for affordable and homeless housing, and AB 911, to remove red tape for affordable housing developers, allowing the project to more quickly move forward to shovel ready. 

And, we kicked off the 2024 legislative session with yet another affordable housing bill, AB 1820, to help address one of the roadblocks to creating and completing developments of housing people can afford.

We are continuing to fight to cut costs for veterans, and authored legislation to eliminate out-of-pocket health care costs for more than 600,000 Californians enrolled in insurance through Covered California with AB 1208. 

And this year, I plan to focus on legislation relating to home equity protection during the foreclosure process, and on protecting consumers when it comes to automatic subscription renewals. 

As an assemblywoman, there are many ways I can help to bring down the cost of living and make it easier to afford the necessities. 

Families in our community work so hard, and moved here to create a better life for themselves. It is our responsibility as lawmakers to do all we can to ensure that people aren’t struggling so much, and that we all have what we need to provide for our families and to thrive. 

I am proud of the work we have done in our first year to make things better for families throughout Assembly District 40 and am honored to do impactful work this year that continues to deliver for you.

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.

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