Diverse is watch word in 54th Assembly District

Candidates reflect that as well

Cynthia E. Griffin | 11/27/2013, midnight

Why are you running for this office?

Because I believe I have the intelligence, public policy skill set, and a comprehensive working knowledge of our State Capitol and the legislative process to be a driving force for residents in South Los Angeles, Southwest Los Angeles, Culver City and West L.A.

Have you ever run for political office before?

I’ve never run for nor held political office before. But in my role as political director for the nine-member California Legislative Black Caucus, I played an up-close-and-personal strategic role in electing two outstanding members of the California State Assembly, when I served as campaign manager for Assembly members Cheryl Brown in the Inland Empire and Shirley Weber, Ph.D., in San Diego.

What unique talents/skills would you bring to this office, if elected?

In my past role as policy director for state Senator Curren D. Price Jr.—and in my present role as a policy advisor for economic development, education and health to L.A. City Council member Curren Price—I’m responsible for knowing the issues and knowing how state and local issues impact diverse constituents.

I know that enabling our small businesses to compete for state contracts can lead them to positions where they can expand their operations, and in turn, create new jobs for residents of our communities. I know that leveraging public, taxpayer-funded building projects to strongly encourage local hiring opens the doors to apprenticeships and training in union trades that can lead to 30-year careers and a comfortable retirement for job seekers presenting unemployed or stuck in low-paying positions that offer few benefits and even less of a future.

I know that leadership matters, and we have to push harder to ensure that residents of our communities get their fair share from Sacramento.

What do you consider the key issues in the 54th Assembly District, and briefly detail how you would address them?

The number one priority for people from the Westside to South Los Angeles is jobs. We must do our utmost to create new jobs. We can accomplish this, in part, by supporting small businesses. We must expand the abilities of small business owners to take advantage of local and state contracting opportunities.

It is essential that we redouble our efforts to help unemployed residents in the 54th Assembly District get connected to labor apprenticeship programs that will enable them to learn the hands-on skills they would need to begin a career in construction.

Our law enforcement agencies—from the LAPD to Culver City PD to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department—need to be assured they will have the resources, tools and community support to perform the challenging daily job of keeping our neighborhoods safe.

Community policing that engages community members and assesses their public safety needs is now a highly accepted form of law enforcement for two principal reasons: (1) It works and (2) Residents and business owners respond favorably when their public safety needs are met through collaboration with sworn officers on patrol and detectives in the field.

But public safety is not solely about more officers on our streets. We must dedicate resources to community-based efforts to prevent crimes from occurring. We must support effective programs that direct young people, who are vulnerable to the lure and solicitation of gang organizations, to supportive activities that enable them to envision their future as productive wage earners, skilled tradespersons, college graduates, career professionals, and ultimately, retirees with a fixed income they can count on.