Ben Bartlett for Assembly - Green New Deal

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The driving reason for my candidacy for California State Assembly is my belief that everyone in the East Bay deserves a home. I am laser-focused on ending policies that displace seniors, people of color, working families, and poor people from their homes – and on creating solutions to house the homeless, create green jobs and protect our freedom.

Each of these challenges require specific solutions, but my focus is grounded in a broader philosophy and goal for our state: The Green New Deal.

What’s Wrong with the Current Deal?

California’s economy produces more than a trillion dollars more than the next most productive state, yet our supplemental poverty rate – the lack of economic resources for consumption of basic needs such as food, housing, clothing, and utilities – is 23%, the highest in the nation. And one of the most shocking statistics is that California has more children living in poverty than any other state in the U.S.

We are the home of innovation and creativity, yet inequality and exclusion are at an all-time high.

These disparities are stark, right here in the East Bay. A sobering study by the Alameda County Public Health Department that was released right before the 2008 economic collapse reported that an African American child born in West Oakland can expect to die almost 15 years earlier than a White child born in the Oakland Hills. A new study by the L.A. County Department of public health found similar disparities there.

And a newly published analysis paints a devastating picture of the future for African American and Latino families in the U.S.:

If the racial wealth divide is left unaddressed and is not exacerbated further over the next eight years, median Black household wealth is on a path to hit zero by 2053… Median Latino household wealth is projected to hit zero twenty years later, or by 2073. In sharp contrast, median White household wealth would climb to $137,000 by 2053 and $147,000 by 2073.

They called the aftermath of the 2008 economic collapse the Great Recession, but to many this was another Great Depression. The Great Depression resulted in the people’s hard earned wealth being transferred upward. This rupture of the people’s faith resulted in the social compact known as the New Deal.

Its time to renew our social compact. We need a New Deal that’s dynamic, green, and inclusive.

A Green New Deal!

We can eradicate poverty in California by constructing and financing a new infrastructure with 100% renewables, green buildings and electric vehicles – creating new blue collar jobs for the internet age: coding, data center construction and data maintenance.

We can  partner with labor and business to bring a new level of workforce development and shared prosperity.

We can meet the housing crisis head on, and end the homelessness epidemic by creating five million units of housing with one million affordable units. Let’s create pathways to ownership for low-income tenants.

College can be for all, if we offer student loan abatement and debt-free education. Opportunity can be re-opened with criminal justice reform and repealing Prop. 209. We can end the digital divide with statewide public wifi.

And it can be paid for by implementing new, more equitable finance models, starting with a brand new, public, California State Bank. Public banks are not new, but they are innovative. Rather than depositing the hundreds of billions of dollars of California’s annual local and state tax revenues in private banks, California would create its own bank and put those funds to work for Californians by financing socially responsible projects and partnering with private lenders to drive down the cost of borrowing.

Our state and local governments have operated for too long under a siege mentality that pits our communities against each other in a zero-sum competition for resources. It’s time for a new spirit of bold leadership and technological innovation with new development and finance models that will create a new California with shared prosperity for all.

For example, growing urbanization is projected to drive more than $3.5 trillion in global investment in “smart cities” – those that are using green, equitable and efficient development and finance models in governance, energy, building, mobility, infrastructure, technology and health care – by 2026. California’s share is huge – and the Golden State has a golden opportunity to leverage that investment to make sure that we are widening the circle of prosperity to include everyone.

Together with the growing consensus – a movement, actually – to provide universal healthcare in California, the Green New Deal can align our public policy and approach to government with this fundamental value:

No matter who you are, or where you are from, you are important and integral to our shared success in California.

Together, we can make a Green New Deal. We’ve accomplished so much, and yet, we’ve just begun. Let’s take it to the next level.

All Doors Open!

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