As America’s sixth largest county, Orange County (OC) is one of the most desirable places in the nation to live. I’ve lived in District 4 of Orange County the majority of my life and I feel that there is truly no better place in the nation to live, work, raise families, and enjoy an excellent quality of life. It’s important to me that OC’s vibrant economy continues to expand, bringing the benefits of prosperity to every corner of the district.
Unfortunately, housing and employment projections in North OC point to a looming imbalance between job growth and workforce housing availability. North OC’s jobs-to-housing balance are inadequate and we continue to suffer a severe housing shortage due to more rapid employment growth, and jobs that do not commiserate with rising housing prices.
I feel that the long-term negative impacts of inadequately addressing the workforce housing issue cannot be overstated. Working intelligently, our region can work to alleviate this trend and create a balanced, affordable housing market for all of our residents. Addressing this problem will require close attention to public policy, social and economic factors that affect all of us, local land use decisions, and, ultimately, the cooperation and input of all stakeholders.
Where North OC is headed in terms of workforce housing, and how housing will impact demographic, social, economic, and business factors is up to us. We have an excellent and untapped potential for making our area an attractive and affordable place to live and work for all of our residents.
One of my main priorities is affordable, accessible, high quality healthcare for everyone in Orange County. Orange County has a population of over 3 million residents and we must assure access to quality health care services, especially to those communities that are most vulnerable to disease and disability. I believe in promoting and ensuring a healthful environment for all of us by implementing health policy and services based upon assessment of community health needs.
Orange County Workforce Development research has been telling us of this for quite some time; Orange County is aging in place. While many other Counties throughout the state are experiencing an increase in the older population, Orange County is the only County that is projected to also deal with a simultaneous decrease in younger and working age populations. This major demographic shift will have profound ramifications throughout the economy, housing markets, and in the provision of government services.
With technological advances, come changes in the economy and our ability to change and grow along with it. New opportunities for innovation, industry and business are abundant. With these changes, naturally comes the need for new ways of educating and preparing our workforce. As economic and demographic trends continue to evolve rapidly, Orange County faces a complex set of questions about the future of workforce development.
In District 4, we can easily see that trends like demographic change, the skills gap, and workforce housing supply are longstanding, interconnected issues generating headwinds to our economic performance. Despite this, tremendous opportunity is prevalent for innovation within new and traditional industries to propel growth for decades to come. North Orange County needs leadership that is willing to dig in deep to learn and understand the factors that will improve our workforce development.
It is imperative that our County Board of Supervisors, other local policy-makers and county stakeholders continually improve strategies to ensure viability in the New Economy.
I support organized labor.
I feel that county staff is the most important and valuable resource in our mission to provide quality services to the community. There are important distinctions between managers and leaders. It’s important to understand that when you are in a role where you are managing people, you don’t automatically become a leader. We need staff at all levels (from entry-level workers to executive management) to be trained to be authentic and transparent leaders. I strongly feel that in order for us to successfully provide public services that are meaningful and effective, we must have county leadership that sees their people as competent and are optimistic about their potential.