A Progressive Vision for a Safer, More Affordable East Bay
SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS FOR ALL
Rising violent and property crime has impacted our quality of life, strained our sense of community, and led to too many tragedies. We must address this crisis head-on, with both urgency and pragmatism, while putting forth solutions that adhere to our progressive values.
First and foremost, to prevent crime, Jesse will work in the Senate to secure the funding we need to help cities recruit, hire, and train more community police officers who come from the communities they serve. To address the root causes of crime, Jesse will fight to increase investments in proven violence prevention programs, such as the Ceasefire gang violence prevention program he launched in Berkeley. He will prioritize mental health services to support our most vulnerable, invest in our youth to create real alternatives to crime, and fight to strengthen re-entry and anti-recidivism programs. Jesse will continue to support reforms, like the ones he enacted in Berkeley, to shift responses to mental health and homeless emergencies from police to trained social workers, so police can focus on violent and property crime.
Jesse will work to increase deterrence by being smart on crime. He will partner with cities to enhance crime prevention technologies while ensuring our privacy rights are protected. He will work to improve 9-1-1 technology and response times and fight for stronger gun control laws.
To ensure accountability, Jesse will fight for stronger victim advocacy and support services, and strengthen our hate crime laws. He’ll also ensure law enforcement is held accountable, because while we must give our police departments the tools they need to prevent and respond to crime, we also need to hold law enforcement accountable when they violate public trust.
Economic disparities, soaring costs of living, and the addiction crisis have left many individuals across the East Bay unable to maintain stable shelter. We have a moral imperative and collective responsibility to address this crisis, and it's vital that our solutions lead with compassion. As mayor of Berkeley, Jesse launched new mental health and addiction services, shelters, and permanent housing–leading to a reduction in homelessness in Berkeley, while unhoused numbers rose significantly elsewhere throughout Alameda County.
In the Senate, Jesse will work to develop stronger partnerships between our state and local governments, so different levels of government can work together to promote flexible solutions for homelessness. He’ll fight for permanent funding to address homelessness so local officials have the financial assurances they need to get people off the streets, and he will work to expand funding to invest in extremely low-income housing.
Jesse also believes to prevent the crisis from getting worse, we should strengthen programs to help the many East Bay residents who are at risk of homelessness. He’ll fight to create a statewide rental assistance program to provide emergency funding for tenants on the brink, repeal Costa Hawkins and the Ellis Act, and adopt stronger eviction protections to keep people housed.
CREATING MORE HOUSING AND INCREASING AFFORDABILITY
The scarcity of housing forces so many residents across the Bay to spend a significant and unsustainable portion of their income on their rent or mortgage, increasing financial strain and limiting their potential. The lack of upward mobility reinforces intergenerational challenges, and forces families to make difficult decisions between paying for their housing and other basic needs. We must build a future where our East Bay cities are accessible and livable for all—regardless of their income.
As mayor of Berkeley, Jesse led the city through its largest housing construction boom in decades. As president of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Area’s regional government, Jesse led the development of a plan which will create more than 440,000 new homes throughout the Bay Area, to increase housing availability and reduce costs for working families.
In the state senate, Jesse will continue his bold leadership on housing, affordability, and economic opportunity. He will fight for higher wages and better working conditions so all workers can get ahead. He will encourage better land-use legislation, re-examine and re-prioritize our current housing finance policies, and advance bold new affordable housing legislation so we can build new housing at all income levels. Jesse will also advocate for renter protections and common sense rent-control policies, to prevent residents from being priced out of their homes.
COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE
California is on the frontlines of the climate crisis and its impacts are already being felt in the East Bay. By prioritizing sustainability, we won’t just stave off its worst effects, we will create opportunities for good paying jobs, decrease traffic and congestion, improve air quality, and enhance the quality of life for working families in the East Bay and across California.
Jesse has already moved the needle as mayor of Berkeley; his groundbreaking environmental leadership on phasing out throw-away plastics and banning natural gas in new buildings has become a model for other cities across America.
In the state senate, Jesse will advocate for forward-thinking policies that will help California transition to a clean, green economy. This includes better land-use policy to increase housing around public transportation, which will reduce traffic and air pollution while creating more livable and walkable neighborhoods. He’ll champion increased investments in renewable energy, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, and clean-shipping technology to ensure we reduce pollution at California’s ports without sacrificing growth.
IMPROVING PUBLIC EDUCATION
Everyone in the East Bay–and throughout California–deserves access to a strong public education system. Prioritizing and investing in our public schools not only fosters individual success but also promotes a more equitable and inclusive society, breaking down barriers and creating upward mobility and opportunities for all.
The son of farmworkers, Jesse was the first in his family to graduate college, from UC Berkeley. He knows firsthand the opportunities that a strong education can create. That’s why as mayor, he launched the Berkeley Promise scholarship program, that is helping to close the opportunity gap for low-income students. He also fought to increase college accessibility by negotiating a historic agreement with UC Berkeley to build more student housing.
In the state senate, Jesse will continue to fight for public education to empower the next generation. He’ll advocate for universal preschool to close the education gap and give every child essential skills for success. He’ll also continue to take action to make college more affordable, fulfilling California’s promise to its students.
FIGHTING FOR HEALTHCARE FOR ALL
Making quality healthcare accessible to all isn’t just a policy imperative, but a moral imperative as well. No one should be forced to make the often impossible choice between meeting basic needs and accessing essential healthcare services.
As Mayor, Jesse has taken bold action on healthcare, fighting tooth and nail to save Alta Bates hospital, a vital community resource that services over 60,000 patients a year. And he passed critical legislation to ensure that construction workers on local projects receive high quality healthcare benefits.
In the Senate, Jesse will continue his advocacy and fight for a truly universal healthcare system for California. He’ll take action to lower prescription drug prices, so Californians can afford the medicine they need. He’ll also fight to build a full-service hospital serving West Contra Costa County and Northern Alameda County, increasing hospital capacity in the East Bay to the benefit of all residents.
FIGHTING FOR OUR SHARED PROGRESSIVE VALUES
We must ensure the East Bay remains a vibrant, welcoming, and diverse place where everyone has a chance to thrive, and where marginalized voices are uplifted, not sidelined.
As he has done throughout his entire career, Jesse is ready to fight for our shared progressive values in the state senate. He will champion equal pay for women across California, champion the right to choose, and fight for the right to safe, private, accessible gender-affirming care.
Jesse will stand up for our immigrant communities, not only because they are vital to our economy, but because they are a vital part of our social fabric. And he’ll stand up against hate in all of its forms in our communities—because everyone should feel welcome in the East Bay.