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    Tom Lackey: Californians deserve a governor who prioritizes them
    • July 9, 2024

    California is experiencing an extended heatwave with scorching temperatures of 100 plus degrees.

    Firefighters are battling over 3,000 active wildfires throughout the state.

    Approximately 17,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes and taken refuge with families, friends or in a shelter. Evacuees are worried about the condition of their houses when they return. Sadly, for some, their houses may not be intact.

    To make matters worse, some of these wildfire victims may be told that they are not adequately insured, due to California’s insurance crisis. Major insurance companies have either left the state or stopped writing new policies resulting in homeowners turning to the costly plan of last resort, known as the FAIR Plan.

    Consumers are facing financial anxiety.

    The cost to live in California is out of control. Californians cannot afford to pay for basic necessities from food to utility bills, forcing many to turn to credit cards. According to, the average credit card debt of Californians is $6,576. It will take 14 months for the consumer to pay off this debt.

    The state budget the Governor signed in June is unsustainable. It papers over the root causes of the massive deficit he created. Under his reign, the state went from a historic $75 billion surplus to a $68 billion deficit according to the nonpartisan legislative analyst.

    A vast majority of Californians feel unsafe. Retail theft is rampant. There’s not a day that goes by where there’s not a news clip or an article of a brazen retail theft, which sometimes happens in broad daylight.

    These heists are occurring in every community – from rural areas to urban centers. Recently, a tourist from New Zealand was robbed and killed in a parking lot of an upscale shopping center in Newport Beach.

    California is drowning in crises.

    Yet, the Governor’s priorities are elsewhere.

    A day after announcing his “robust measure” to reform Proposition 47, the Governor dropped it. The Governor claimed he could not get the amendments done in time for the deadline to place his deceptive measure on the November ballot. This is not true. In 2008, the Legislature passed Proposition 1A “Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act” on August 13 to place it on the November ballot.

    There is wiggle room in the Elections Code regarding the deadline to place legislative measures on the ballot. If the governor truly wanted to work with law enforcement to reform Proposition 47 and curb retail theft and other crimes, it could have been done.

    The governor simply was not focused on California.

    The next day – the day that Democrat lawmakers scheduled an unusual evening session – he left the state to campaign for the President, and some would argue, for himself.

    In his desire to conduct a whisper campaign for the presidency, he completely abandoned his duty to act on two bond measures. The Senate pro Tem had to step as acting governor to sign those measures so that they can be placed on the November ballot.

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    Ignoring the state’s crises and residents’ hardship, the governor selected to gallivant around the country to promote himself on national television and introduce himself to voters in battleground states.

    No one should begrudge the Governor for having higher aspirations. It is his right. But he must not do this at the expense of Californians.

    California voters trusted him with their precious vote.

    The governor should be duty-bound to carry out his responsibilities for the people who elected him.

    The people of this state deserve his respect and attention. He needs to be here – in person – to work with the Legislature and solve the state’s crises. Californians deserve to be prioritized over other states.

     Tom Lackey is the Vice Chair of the Assembly Elections Committee, member of the Assembly Public Safety Committee and a former CHP Sergeant. He represents the 34th Assembly District.

    ​ Orange County Register 

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