Let's Build a
In the Assembly Bijan will fight to create a California for working families and build an economy that works for everyone.
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Currently, only 1 in 3 three-year-olds are enrolled in a pre-k program and our state’s programs fall short of covering those in most need. Universal pre-school for three- and four-year-olds will help alleviate financial strains for working families with young children and ensure that our kids are prepared for kindergarten and beyond. In fact, for every $1 we invest, our state would receive as much as 4x that amount in benefit! Pre-school remains one of the most cost-effective ways of eliminating child poverty and improving child learning outcomes.
Pre-school is good for kids and good for working families which is why I promise to bring legislation to ensure that every three- and four-year-old is covered and has the opportunity to attend a quality public pre-school program.
Kids are our future. It’s time our state prioritizes them.
In 2011, our community was rocked when eight of our sisters and brothers were senselessly killed in Seal Beach with an ordinary handgun. These beautiful lives were lost in a tragic attack by an evil man who should have never been in possession of a gun. But we know that these attacks are not uncommon. Tragedy continues to strike our state and country on an almost regular basis.
The prevalence of guns on our streets is a public health and education emergency. Every day we don’t act is another day closer to tragedy. Mass shootings will continue unless our politicians find solutions. During my time at UCLA School of Law, I worked independently with professors to study the Second Amendment and the Constitutional Law surrounding it. The answers exist if we are bold enough to act on them.
Bottom line is: I know that we can do better.
We need to continue to lead the nation with our strong gun laws and work to completely take these weapons off our streets. I will pass laws to end gun shows and the sale of DIY gun assembly kits. I will increase funding for gun violence intervention programs. I will also work to form gun-control pacts with our neighboring states to prevent people from obtaining guns across state lines and bringing them to California. The right to own a gun does not trump the right to live. I will work tirelessly to remove guns and weapons of war from our communities.
Our children deserve better. Enough is enough.
Teachers are among the most underpaid and overstaffed workforce in California. If we want to increase the quality of our students’ education, we must reduce classroom sizes, raise teacher pay, and hire more qualified teachers at higher and more competitive salaries. I will work to provide our educators with opportunities for professional growth and networking, and make interdistrict reciprocity and movement accessible. I will also pass legislation to invest more money in facilities, tools, and resources so that our teachers are better equipped to provide our students with the best education possible.
From its founding until 50 years ago, the University of California system was free to all Californians. Today, tuition at the University of California costs as much as some private schools, despite the fact that our state continues to be more prosperous than it was decades back. I believe that education is a right and is good for our democracy and economy. I will introduce legislation that invests in our future and ensures that a public college or trade school education is free to any California resident, including our workforce displaced by automation.
PROTECTING OUR COAST AND AIR
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There’s no avoiding it, climate change is the biggest issue facing Orange County. From our rising sea levels, to our increasing air pollution, to the wildfires ravaging our homes, climate change poses a threat to every one of us. We need to see a robust response to this existential crisis in Sacramento, and I am the only candidate in the race for California Assembly District 72 prepared to do that.
The time to act is now. I will write legislation to combat climate change, prioritizing communities at risk of wildfires and coastal flooding (like Orange County). I will increase funding for preventative land management and resources for firefighters, first responders, and disaster relief. I will also create a statewide Catastrophic Extreme Weather Insurance program to ensure community stability in the aftermath of disaster.
Our largest source of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. I will work to refresh our roads and bridges and invest in green energy and public transportation. We’ll bring more jobs to Orange County and increase accessibility to clean transportation.
Over half of the counties in California, including Orange County, have received “F’s” in air quality from the American Lung Association. Meanwhile, lung disease continues to rise. In Orange County, more than 1 in 5 children will be diagnosed with Asthma before they turn 18. Make no mistake, this is a direct result of the continuing decline in our air quality. We will tackle traffic and congestion by refreshing our roads and bridges and building better more efficient infrastructure. I will ensure that cities like Garden Grove are not doing road work during peak traffic hours. I will also introduce legislation to ensure clean transportation is accessible to every resident of Orange County.
As your next assemblymember I promise to prioritize the health of you, your family, and our environment.
This year, it was reported that water wells across Southern California contained toxic perfluorooctanoic acid (PFAs), a chemical family linked to life threatening illnesses including cancer. Even in small amounts, these chemicals can cause huge damage. Orange County has more wells with reportable levels of PFAS than Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties combined. This is unacceptable. I will bring about swift legislation to ensure that our water sources are safe, regularly checked and maintained, and will invest in more purification plants to remove all toxic chemicals from our tap water.
Our coast is not only one of the most beautiful in the world, it’s also an economic driving force in our economy. We have seen the damage to our land caused by fracking, and the destruction coastal oil spills cause to the environment, wildlife, and local economies. I will work to protect our coast from polluters and will fight against offshore drilling and fracking.
But it is not enough to end fracking and dangerous oil drilling in our coastal cities without protecting the hardworking people performing those jobs. This is why, I will also introduce legislation to bring jobs in renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure to Orange County. As we move towards a greener future, we must ensure our workforce is never left behind.
COMBATTING HOMELESSNESS & POVERTY
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A quarter of the nation’s homeless population lives in California, and almost 30% of the nation’s homeless veterans live in California. The problem is not getting better, in fact, homelessness continues to rise every year, as does the cost of housing. On average half of Californians spend more than 30% of their income on housing. Because California faces a shortage of open rentals, prices are forced to rise. The issue is a national travesty.
I will address California’s homelessness crisis head-on. I will work to ensure mental health and rehabilitative services are accessible. I will also fight to advance education and healthcare, so future generations have the resources they need to be housing independent.
I will also work to make housing more affordable to ensure working families are not forced out because of rising costs. I will pass legislation to build more housing to stabilize the market for low and middle income communities, ease zoning restrictions, and increase tax credits for working people. I’m proud to be pro-housing, pro-tenant, and pro-new neighbors.
I know we can do better, and as your next assemblymember, I will fight every day to ensure that we end this crisis.
Orange County has the second highest rate of child poverty in the state. Even worse, 1 in every 3 children in our district lives in poverty. This is a moral outrage, but the solution is in our hands. I will work to expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and pass a targeted Child Tax Credit that will put more cash back into families’ pockets to support the basic necessities of daily living. I will pass legislation to establish universal preschool for all three- and four-year-olds and Medicare for All which will provide quality healthcare to all Californians. Lastly, I will work to expand emergency child care for foster care families, access to housing for youth aging out of foster care, and rental subsidies for homeless families and families living in poverty.
ENSURING ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE
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The Affordable Care Act was a great step in the right direction; it prohibited insurance companies from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions and allowed children to stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26. However, for many, the cost of healthcare is still far too high, and insurance companies continue to gouge patients with skyrocketing co-pays, premiums, and deductibles.
Its time we lead the nation and join the rest of the advanced world in providing our citizens with healthcare.
We can work to improve Medicare and extend it to all Californians. No Californian should have to choose between paying for rent or life-saving treatment, nor should any Californian go broke because of a life-altering diagnosis.
Medicare for All means increased access to care, greater use of prescription drugs and preventive care, and improved financial well-being, including fewer bankruptcies, better credit scores, and reduced debt. It also improves the financial performance of hospitals and lowers the likelihood of hospital closures.
We can ensure that every Californian gets the care they need without having to make life-saving decisions with their wallet in mind.
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I believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights. Every woman (poor, immigrant, disabled, trans, lesbian, queer, Muslim, Hispanic, Asian, Black) deserves equal access to workplace safety, equal pay, paid parental leave, and full access to healthcare. I also believe that access to reproductive healthcare is essential to ensuring that women achieve equality. Unequivocally, this means open access to safe, legal, publicly funded abortion, birth control, and family planning services, as well as access to quality pre- and post-natal care, for all people, regardless of income, location or education.
In California, women continue to get paid 41 cents to 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. Together, those lost wages amount to more than $87 billion a year! I believe in equal pay for all genders. The pay and hiring discrimination faced by women – mothers, expecting-mothers, women of color, lesbian, queer, and trans women – is unacceptable and inexcusable. I will work tirelessly until all women receive equal pay for equal work. I will also work to close the opportunity gap by ensuring that all Californians have equal access to affordable childcare, universal pre-school, vacation days, and greater paid family leave.
Our communities were built on the backs of our senior citizens, and I believe we owe a duty to support them and to care for those that are disabled. Seniors should have a choice whether they move in with their children and families, not be forced to do so by unaffordable rising costs. I will work to expand quality long term services, nursing home care, and home healthcare support. I will also work to expand affordable housing and to protect seniors from being priced out of their homes.
Orange County has never elected an openly LGBTQ+ legislator. I intend on being the first. I know the difficulty many in our community face from continued discrimination and hate. In fact, there are still laws and policies in place that continue to perpetuate injustice. I’m proud to have fought for the civil rights of members of LGBTQ+ community before the United States Supreme Court and I promise to continue to work tirelessly to promote justice and equality. To that end, California must act on Guns, Healthcare, and supporting our Trans Community.
Despite California’s strict patchwork of gun laws, shootings continue to occur at alarming rates, threatening not only the LGBTQ+ community, but also our schools and public spaces. I will work to close loopholes, like DIY guns, increase gun violence intervention programs, end the sale of firearms at gun shows, and to take guns off our streets.
Access to healthcare remains a huge concern among the LGBTQ+ community, particularly among people of color. I am a proponent of a comprehensive Medi-Cal for All system. I believe quality healthcare is a right and should be available to every individual regardless of income, race, gender, or sexual orientation.
Trans and Gender-Diverse Individuals
Transgender and gender diverse individuals, especially those that are people of color, are not only more likely to be subjected to violence or to commit suicide, but they are also more likely to be food insecure, homeless and in poverty. I believe that the issues surrounding their safety can be addressed by working to lift our trans community out of poverty. I will work to expand social services, create a comprehensive single-payer healthcare system for all, and increase affordable housing. I will use my office to advocate for the prosecution of all perpetrators of hate crimes and work to pass stronger legislation that will not only prevent these attacks but also ensure that law enforcement knows how to respond, investigate, and prosecute these cases with compassion for victims, diligence, and honesty.
Over the last several months I’ve spent on the campaign trail, one thing has become increasingly clear to me: we are failing our veterans. Those who have served in the armed forces exemplify the courage and bravery our country was built on. Yet all too often, they are left behind by our leaders in government. That stops with me.
As the next assemblymember for AD 72, I will fight for legislation that not only protects, but empowers our veterans. Growing up near the military bases in Los Alamitos and Seal Beach, I know that far too many of our soldiers return home from abroad with physical disabilities, mental health issues, or become victims of homelessness. That’s why I have a plan to combat these problems head-on
I believe healthcare is a right. And while veterans are typically covered by the VA, there are many that don’t even qualify for VA care and are completely uninsured. This is not to mention the notoriously long wait times associated with VA hospitals and the lack of resources the organization has. But this should not come as a surprise, benefit programs that are administered to low-income people are typically first on the chopping block to make room for corporate tax cuts. This is why I believe we must adopt a single-payer Medicare for All system of healthcare. Under a single-payer system, everyone, including our veterans, would be covered, able to choose any provider, and be guaranteed to receive the comprehensive healthcare, dental care, vision care, mental health care, and Rx coverage they need. As a member of the assembly, I will author a Medicare for All plan for California and will bring it to the floor. Its time we lead the nation and join the rest of the western world in guaranteeing quality healthcare coverage for all.
My plan for healthcare reform includes access to mental healthcare. Oftentimes those who are most in need do not have access to proper care which compounds their need for treatment. No one who has served our country should be trapped in a cycle of trauma and neglect. It is up to our government to take care of the soldiers who protect us, and as your next assemblymember I will fight to ensure that our veterans have proper access to healthcare, including mental healthcare.
Almost 30% of the nation’s homeless veterans live in California. It’s a problem that continues to get worse because of the shortage of housing and skyrocketing prices. That’s why we need to preserve our affordable housing and invest in new middle- and low- income housing. Our residents, including the brave women and men who have served our country, should never have to worry about being forced out of the place they call home because of rising costs. I will fight to build new affordable housing, ease zoning restrictions, and increase tax credits for working people. I’ll also fight to advance education opportunities at public colleges and trade schools to ensure our returning veterans have the resources they need for a smooth transition to civilian life, including housing independence.
Opposing the Federal Government’s Treatment of Immigrants and Asylum Seekers
I’m a first-generation American, and like many in our community, my family is made up of immigrants. California is a testament to the fact that immigrants make our community more vibrant and our economy stronger.
I’ve worked pro bono helping asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking obtain permanent status after finding themselves in America in search of a better life. I, like many Californians, am appalled by what the Trump-Pence administration is doing to immigrants. It is inhuman, un-American, and it must stop. I will work to oppose these policies of hatred and to ensure that California remains a beacon of hope and sanctuary.
Immigration Bonds and Attorney Funds
Individuals who find themselves in immigration court are woefully deprived of due process. Even after presenting themselves at the border, legally, to claim asylum, they are often detained for months, even years, despite never having committed a crime. In order to be released, they must post a bond of between $1500 – $8000. To make matters worse, these asylum seekers have no right to an attorney.
When New York City became the first place to provide asylum seekers with publicly funded attorneys, the number of successful applications rose by an astounding 1100%! California can continue to be a beacon of sanctuary for immigrants fleeing wars and persecution–especially those within the LGBTQ+ Community–by creating a state-wide bond-fund and expanding the Department of Justice to include attorneys devoted to defending federal asylum cases in immigration court.
Extending California’s Earned Income Tax Credit
The California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) is a refundable tax credit that puts money back in the pockets of low-income working people. Modeled off of the Federal EITC, it is one of the most effective tools for lifting people out of poverty, because it helps people afford basic necessities, improves child and maternal health, and grows local economies.
Unfortunately, CalEITC excludes people who use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file their taxes and people who have a Social Security Number (SSN) but lose their DACA or TPS status. Even if one person in a household files their taxes with an ITIN, the whole family misses out on the credit. For relatively little investment, California can support hundreds of thousands of people who are currently left out of our state’s critical fight against poverty while growing our local economies.
JUSTICE FOR ALL
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We must work towards greater community policing, where police officers and the community work together as partners. This means that policies of de-escalation must be adopted. Police officers cannot be allowed to resort to physical restraint, violence, or the threat of arrest or violence when faced with a verbal disagreement, non-violent resistance, or the assertion of one’s civil rights.
I support the universal use of body cams and dashboard cams, and the creation of local civilian oversight boards for all police departments. Our communities should be given the authority to reign in abuses of power and to ensure that our police officers continue to uphold their duties.
Community policing requires trust. We can begin rebuilding it from the ground up by ensuring that Cities work to keep us safe, rather than being out to take residents’ hard-earned money. It’s one thing to uphold the law, it quite another to prey law abiding citizens. I will work to pass legislation to lower the cost of parking tickets and towing fees which continue to fill city council coffers at the disproportionate expense of low-income families.
Grand Juries play a key role in the criminal justice system. They keep our politicians honest, but they also indict individuals whom prosecutors accuse of crimes. Over the years, the Grand Jury in Orange County has consistently failed to diversify in age, income, and race. This is because, unlike other counties in the state, the Orange County Grand Jury is a full-time job that pays $6.25 an hour. The structure and appointment process of the Orange County Grand Jury prevents it from adequately representing a better sampling of our vibrant community. I will work to pass legislation that restructures the Grand Jury system statewide to ensure equity in indictments, greater accountability, and the equal application of the law.
Prosecutors and Public Defenders are integral to our system of fairness. Prosecutors have the power to determine what charges to bring. Public Defenders are tasked with the Constitutional role of providing legal representation to anyone facing jail time that can’t afford an attorney. Even though, this role is protected by the 6th Amendment, Public Defenders are understaffed, overworked, and outmatched by district attorneys’ offices that have larger staffs and more resources to prosecute cases. This leads to less effective representation of the accused who are often unable to afford an expensive criminal defense attorney. In a system of “innocent until proven guilty” this should not be the norm. I will work to level the playing field to ensure that justice can always be found in a courtroom, regardless of income. California has the largest judicial system in the world, if we are to be a model for every state and nation, we must ensure that our accused receive quality counsel as required by our Constitution.