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GUEST OPINION: Taking office in time of great change in Sacramento

  • Marc Levine

It is an incredible honor to be sworn in Monday as the state Assembly member representing Marin and southern Sonoma counties. It means the world to me to represent the beautiful and vibrant North Bay where my wife and I are raising our children. I am so very fortunate and grateful to be elected to represent the communities I love.

As I assume office, I cannot help but take note of the phenomenal responsibilities and challenges ahead — not just for the Legislature but for all Californians. In California, as a state and as a people, we face historic barriers in our effort to restore our greatness.

We need to create jobs for the unemployed. We need to stem efforts to balance the state's budget on the back of our natural resources. We need to build on the passage of Proposition 30 by providing long-term and sustainable financing for our schools, community colleges and universities. California and the North Bay are home to some of the brightest minds in the nation, and we must encourage innovation and investment in ideas and creative thought.

I will give every ounce of my effort to tackle these challenges and to ensure that the interests of the North Bay are well-represented.

It's important to note that the new class in the Legislature, of which I am proud to be a member, is taking office at a time of significant change in state government. Not since the days of Hiram Johnson has our system of governance undergone such scrutiny and seen such change. And there is much more to come.

After decades of systemic dysfunction in Sacramento, newly instituted reforms are providing a needed shake-up. Changes were made to provide that legislators are now chosen through an open primary system that allows the top two primary election vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, to advance to the general election. My race for state Assembly was a perfect example of how this reform has created more competitive elections and more choices for voters of all political persuasions.

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