At one time, I was a young single mom in Sacramento. My oldest son Nate and I lived in low-income housing. We used food stamps and subsidized child care. I worked full time during the day and put myself through UC Davis undergrad and McGeorge School of Law, all while raising my sweet son. We persevered. And while I know many forces tried to keep me from this moment of running for State Senate, I am taking the plunge just the same. Because I know Sacramento families need someone to help them persevere too. But my campaign is not about me, or about my journey... rather it is all about the people in Senate District 6. This is why I kicked off my campaign at Blackbird Park in Sacramento. It is an average corner of my council district. It’s the norm. It’s what I have been working on for the past 10 years of my life. Most people see a nice, fairly new park. I see something different. Behind the beautiful park, there are hundreds of homes that would not be here, but for an act of Congress (literally) and massive levee improvements. This community is now one of the safest in the region from any flood risk. And those homes are high density, creating space for as many families as possible. On another side of the park is a senior community with homes and services catering to those in their later years of life. And on yet another corner is a large rent-restricted, low-income apartment complex that the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency helped build, full of services and support for families who need financial assistance. In the middle of the park, there is a playground with accessible features and play equipment for children of all ages. It is a few yards from the largest community garden in a city park. Behind the park is a school under construction. It’s one of dozens of schools benefiting from the bonds I brought forward to voters so that our schools would be modernized, safe, well-equipped sites for every student in the district. We prioritized youth by investing in technology, art, science, recreation, literacy and libraries. Ten years ago, this location was the farthest away from any emergency services in Sacramento. Fire and medical responses were more than three times the national recommendation. Today this is one of the safest spaces in the city. Fire Station 43 is just blocks away – ambulance and all. This community is intentionally walkable. Enhanced by multi-modal transportation, bike paths, neighborhood commuter solutions, and public transportation. Across the freeway is a corporate campus for the first Fortune 100 company to choose Sacramento in many years. That company, the managed-care insurance provider Centene, is bringing 5,000 high-wage jobs to our community. And if you come to the park and look overhead, at some point you are sure to see a Swainson’s hawk. That’s because the location is just a few yards away from the Natomas Basin Conservancy, which is a manifestation of our city’s aggressive habitat conservation plan. It is also a nod to our environmental and climate goals and to the role of farms and farmers for achieving our balanced the future of this State. This park is a microcosm of what we have accomplished together during my past 10 years as a Sacramento City Council Member. These carefully crafted choices have resulted in the betterment of our collective future. Many times, I have been referred to as “that Mom from Natomas.” That title is intended to strip me of more coveted accomplishments, like business owner and community organizer. But it has always made me smile with pride, because Mom is my favorite title. Now more than ever, California needs people with diverse backgrounds to lead – including more moms. This is a new day. The vast majority of the Sacramento region is represented by four seats in the California State Legislature, all of which have been held by men for nearly two decades. I will bring my commitment to gender parity, equal pay and opportunity, to addressing homelessness and social justice, and to investing in both entrepreneurs and workers across our city. California is such an incredible state. It is the place where people dream big, where they strike gold, and invent what was once thought impossible. It’s where we make history – one courageous fight at a time. I cannot wait to join the team of leaders guiding our State into a future for all people. I will fight for your families just as I have fought for mine. We will persevere together.
Angelique Ashby, a Democrat, represents District 1 on the Sacramento City Council and is a candidate for the District 6 State Senate seat. See www.angeliqueashby.com.