Rebecca Cohn on Education
"Improving public education benefits our community and our economy. Our kids
deserve trained, experienced teachers who can prepare them for the workforce of the
future. We need to make our schools a safe haven where students don't have to worry
about violence and can focus on learning instead. And we need to raise our standards
to world-class levels so our students can compete in a worldwide economy.
Improving the education of our children must be the highest priority of our elected
leaders today. As the mother of a public school student, this is not only my public
pledge, but my personal mission.
Teachers are the key. Every child deserves to have a teacher who is knowledgeable
about the subject and well-trained in classroom management. The problem is there
are too few of these teachers in our classrooms today. Fifty-percent of our young
teachers are leaving the profession within five years. School districts, particularly
in low-income areas, struggle to find qualified teachers and too often settle for
Increasing pay and improving benefit packages for teachers is the first step toward
improving the situation. Our governor increased general funding to school districts
this year, giving some teachers their first pay raise in years, but we still have
a long way to go. I will continue to support increased funding for teachers and other
options to make the teaching profession more attractive to college students, including
forgiving student loans and developing innovative housing alternatives."
Rebecca Cohn on the Environment
"Protecting the environment is no less important in our urban areas than in
the wilderness. We have different challenges, but we must have the same commitment.
Getting a handle on our growth problems is the first step toward improving our urban
environment. We need to increase incentives for 'smart growth' planning processes,
improving coordination within our region to tackle our massive transportation and
Making our existing neighborhoods safer and more attractive is one way to stop suburban
sprawl and keep more of our residents closer to their jobs and off of the highways.
We need to consider appropriate in-fill projects that can give our residents real
in-town opportunities for renting or owning a home.
We must win state and local support for acquiring more open space and parks in the
Bay Area to provide undisturbed 'breathing space' in our urban environment.
We also must take every necessary step to safeguard our children's health and safety.
I support legislative efforts to judge air and water pollutants not just on the impact
they have on adults, but on how they affect infants and children."
Rebecca Cohn on Housing
"A lack of adequate, affordable housing for all of our citizens ultimately erodes
the future of the Silicon Valley. We must take extraordinary steps to find homes
for our teachers, our firefighters and our service workers, not just our executives
and entrepreneurs. Free Market forces and federal economic policy have the greatest
impact on housing prices. But there are many things the Legislature can do to help.
It is just a matter of leadership.
In the Assembly, I will work to create incentives for lifestyle housing projects
- along transportation corridors and close to childcare, markets and jobs. I will
find creative ways to clear roadblocks to affordable housing. And I will turn my
attention to attacking the abuse of construction defect laws that have blocked the
construction of higher-density residential developments.
Housing is key to so much of what happens in Silicon Valley, from the availability
of a quality workforce to gridlock-caused air pollution to our ability to provide
teachers for our children's education.
We must work hard to renew older neighborhoods and encourage construction of transit-oriented
infill housing development. And we must fight to improve transit opportunities for
those who work in Silicon Valley but can't live here."
Rebecca Cohn on Jobs and the Economy
"The state, and the nation, owes its remarkable economic boom to the businesses
headquartered right here in Silicon Valley. Our government needs to do all it can
to keep our economy strong and competitive.
We need to make government a facilitator of economic development, not a hindrance.
Regulations are necessary and needed in areas that protect our health and our safety
and safeguard our consumer rights. But government shouldn't stand in the way of innovation
and the South Bay's entrepreneurial spirit.
I will bring a businesswoman's perspective to the capitol on these issues. I can
help our government figure out when it has a legitimate role to play - and when it's
time to stop interfering with market processes.
I'm also concerned about the workers who missed the technological revolution and
find themselves unprepared for today's economy. Increasing support for adult education
programs is the best way to bring prosperity into every neighborhood."
Rebecca Cohn on Transportation
"Transportation gridlock has affected the Silicon Valley's economy, housing
stock and our quality of life. I will fight for funds for improved transit services,
expansion of BART, and funding for repair of our streets and roads.
Transportation is a quality of life issue here in our valley. Every hour we spend
stuck in traffic is an hour away from our families. Many of our leaders seem to throw
up their hands and declare the traffic problem unsolvable. I will use my experience
as a businessperson, state commission and local resident to make a difference for
Silicon Valley commuter.
My vision of the valley includes real solutions to our traffic problems. In creating
a solution, we must encourage our local communities to expand synchronized lights
and widen roads. However, we must also ensure that the State provide the valley with
its fair share of funds for highway construction and expanded transit options. Through
increased local control and accountability for public funds we will find a solution
to our traffic problem.
The solutions to our traffic problems may be different for different areas of our
valley. We must think creatively and consider all options, from providing incentives
for telecommuting to approving new in-fill housing so workers can live closer to
With transportation on the top of my agenda, I will devote the time and effort needed
to explore every option and-finally-make a difference for commuters.":