Recall Newsom candidates weigh in on top issues – California Policy Center

The California Policy Center recently outlined my Smart Schools plan, my plan to free California from the grip of public sector employee unions and special interests, my thoughts on local control, and my top 3 priorities as Governor. You can see my answers below to the great questions that the California Policy Center asked me.

Do you support a full (full days, all students and staff, five days a week) reopening of California schools this fall? How would you make this happen? What, if any, safety precautions would you support for K-12 students?

I’m a mom, farmer, and successful businesswoman running to free California from an incompetent Governor. In Gavin Newsom’s California, the future is indefinite masking, mandatory vaccines, and fear-driven messaging. There is no data on the finish line. We are forever subject to his whims.

I am data-driven, and am confident that together, we can invest in our future by ensuring all schools are open for in-person instruction. The mental health, educational attainment, and domestic abuse statistics from the past year of lockdowns are staggering – schools must be open.

First, I will make masking optional in schools (download my Action Plan). Second, I will ensure every district provides a virtual learning option for families who prefer not to send their children back to in-person learning.

Everyone wins. Most kids are back in school with optional masks, parents can go back to work instead of being forced to educate at home, and parents who wish to keep their children at home can do so.

In addition, we must make up for learning loss by expanding enrollment in evidence-based expanded learning opportunities (such as afterschool programs) – currently, under 8% of our 6 million students take advantage of expanded learning. I will fund these services and help school districts source additional instructors through partnerships with community-based organizations.

For the current COVID-19 situation and health emergencies that may arise in the future, who will you seek input from in policies related to school openings, closures, and safety protocols? Who ultimately should decide and enforce safety protocols?

As Governor, I am responsible for managing multiple issues – education, economy, health, safety, and more. I will be advised by public health experts but will more actively seek direct input from health care workers, parents, teachers, school administrators, and students.

County public health departments will focus on health education, sharing with individual school districts ways to keep children safe while ensuring freedom and in-person instruction, and managing local statistics. However, local school boards – directly accountable to communities – should manage the ultimate decisions on openings, closures, and safety protocols.

This is how we Free California from government overreach.

Do you support school choice? What does school choice mean to you?

My children attend a public Spanish-language charter school. As the candidate running to Free California, I support school choice and support the School Choice Ballot Initiative proposed for the 2022 election.

I support funding policy where educational funding follows the student, giving parents the flexibility to use funds to enroll a child in the type of school that works best, whether that is public school, charter school, private school, or homeschooling.

My Smart Schools reform plan will achieve school choice and broad educational reform to bring California schools back to the top of US school systems.

How will you ensure all students – regardless of whether they are educated in a traditional public school, charter school, private school, home school, or virtual school – receive equitable funding? 

My Smarter Schools education reform plan gives every school-aged child in California an education savings account. Each year, the funding that California allocates for each child’s education will be deposited into this account.

Parents can use the funding however they wish for their child’s education – whether that’s for public school, charter school, private school, or virtual school; saving funds for college education is also an option.

This way, each child – regardless of how or where they learn – will receive equitable funding.

How would you handle Critical Race Theory (CRT) and/or ethnic studies in our K-12 schools? 

I have a plan called “Remove and Replace.” While conversations about race are important and should be taking place in our schools, Critical Race Theory and California’s current ethnic studies curriculum are divisive. I would ban their teaching in California’s K-12 schools.

Our state is ranked 40th in K-12 education by U.S. News & World Report, even though education is the most expensive line item in our budget. I will implement engineering, coding, and vocational classes into our public schools instead of focusing on divisive theories to prepare students for the jobs of the 21st century.

We need engineering, not social engineering, to build a free and prosperous future in California.

How will you ensure all government workers in California are made aware of their Janus rights when it comes to the choice of joining a public employee union or abstaining from membership?

A free California requires free employees. I will make this education a part of the employee onboarding process. At the very beginning of a government worker’s employment, they will receive necessary and accurate information to make a decision that is best for them regarding union membership.

It is the government’s job to educate, not mandate.

Do you accept public employee union donations or endorsements? Which unions have contributed to your campaign (current and past)? 

No, I do not.

Do you think government unions have undue influence over California policies? If so, how would you address this?

California needs to be freed from the undue influence that government unions wield upon both the Legislature and current Governor. After Gavin Newsom shut down schools for the remainder of last school year, the teachers’ unions funneled $2M to his recall defense fund. Every time common-sense building reform is proposed in the Legislature, the trade unions threaten Democrats to oppose reform or risk a union-backed challenger in the next election.

I will address this influence in two ways: one, I will never take a dime in campaign contributions from a public employee union. There can be no conflict of interest. Second, I will work with legislators (Republican or Democrat) who support common-sense reforms in the face of union opposition by backing them with messaging and political support.

How would local control factor into your solutions for other pressing issues facing California, including the housing shortage and homelessness, water shortages, state mandates, taxation, etc? 

The goal of my time in office is to Free California from a one-size-fits-all government that does more harm than good. To solve the homelessness crisis, I will ensure funding is focused on coordinated care managed at the local level, with specific focus on sufficient substance abuse and mental health support.

To accelerate home building, I will streamline regulatory approvals and development impact fees, and will incentivize localities to stop new local growth ordinances which increase house prices by up to 5% per ordinance.

I will allow public health decisions to be made on a county-by-county level, and decisions on masking in schools to be left to the individual parent.

California’s remarkable diversity means that state officials in Sacramento don’t know what’s best for different communities in Bakersfield, Fresno, or Orange County – these decisions will be made by local leaders.

What are your top 3 priorities, and what do you plan to accomplish in the first 6 months of your term?

I will restore economic growth to free California to live, work, and breathe.

First, I will free California to live by restoring our cities. I will stop prison releases and closures and reduce homelessness by addressing root cause issues. My “Spend Smarter” plan will use data to base local funding on progress, increase mental health and substance abuse support, and ensure the homeless are legally bound to use available housing options.

Second, I will free California to work by celebrating our businesses. I will support small businesses by phasing out extended unemployment benefits, removing harmful regulation (like AB5), and reducing fees.

Finally, I will free California to breathe by sustainably managing shared resources with a long-term plan. I will renew water deliveries to farmers. I will free California to breathe by reducing wildfire risk, managing 1M acres of managed forest per year through thinning, biomass permits, and controlled burns. And I will stop power source closures, increasing the diversity of our power supply and ensuring we can keep the lights on.

Together, we can restore local control and free California to live, work, and breathe.