Rusty's Priorities   

Protecting Our Water, Air, Forests and Coastline

The North Coast has a unique opportunity to showcase climate leadership that preserves our natural beauty for future generations, reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, and addresses the impacts of climate change. We must work together in partnership with grassroots leaders, sovereign tribal nations, local elected leaders, and interested stakeholders to protect our fragile ecosystems and habitats, address the impacts of sea level rise and better manage and steward our forests to build resilience to wildfires. We can also invest in renewable energy projects like offshore wind while protecting our precious coastline and creating good jobs for local workers.  

Reducing the Threat and Impact of Wildfires

Every county of the North Coast has been affected by devastating wildfires - from the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County in 2017 to the recent Smith River Complex Fire in Del Norte County in 2023. Climate projections forecast a hotter, drier future and we must prepare our rural communities for this reality. I’m proud to have the support of the California Professional Firefighters, and will make wildfire resilience and planning a top priority. From better management and stewardship of our forests to reduce fuels to weed abatement programs, home-hardening measures, and wildfire-resistant building codes and landscaping standards, we can reduce the threat and impact of future wildfires on our communities. 

Combatting Homelessness

Far too many of our fellow North Coast neighbors are experiencing homelessness. Some are chronically unhoused. Others - like students, families, veterans and seniors - become unhoused because of stagnant wages, rising rents, a debilitating illness, or economic hardship. To end the cycle of homelessness for so many, we must invest in a holistic, comprehensive approach that begins with collaboration between government agencies, the nonprofit community, and local stakeholders. We must then invest in proven solutions like quality shelter and supportive services like mental health and addiction treatment, job training, and employment opportunities. By building a safety net that uplifts those experiencing homelessness, we can ensure real pathways towards stability and self-sufficiency for all who call the North Coast home.     

Reducing the Cost of Living & Creating Good Jobs

The costs of food, housing and gas on the North Coast continue to rise and a good job is getting harder and harder to find. We need leaders with a proven track record of delivering for working people. As a Labor leader and organizer, I led efforts to increase the minimum wage, create good jobs and build more affordable housing. In the State Assembly, I'll fight to bring more good jobs to the North Coast and ensure families and communities thrive. I’m proud to be endorsed by working people of the North Coast, including firefighters, nurses, healthcare workers, laborers, ironworkers, grocery workers and truck drivers and many more.

Improving Access to Quality Healthcare 

Access to quality healthcare - especially in our rural communities - is a major challenge on the North Coast. Whether it's preventative care, reproductive care or specialty care, families and seniors are unable to get the care they need when they need it most. We must invest in programs that attract more doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals to our communities, work to lower the cost of prescription drugs for our seniors, and fight to ensure every community member has the quality healthcare they need.    

Serving Our Veterans

As a Veteran of the United States Navy Reserves who served in Afghanistan, I know first-hand the complex issues our Veterans face when they return home. As a labor leader, I established a program to connect Veterans to good-paying union jobs when their military service was complete. In the State Assembly, I will continue to be a strong advocate for Veterans who need good jobs, affordable housing, and the medical and mental health care they deserve.