Legislation to authorize and fund the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery at the former Fort Ord Army Base was a highlight of state senator’s time in office.

 


By Bill Monning

Bill Monning

As term limits have brought my tenure in the State Senate to an end, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to serve you, the residents of the 17th Senate District.

These past eight years in the Senate, four of those serving as Majority Leader, and my four years in the State Assembly, have been among the best years of my life. With the support and confidence of voters, I have worked to serve and represent all the constituents who reside in this beautiful district of slightly less than one million residents.

Among the highlights of my time in the legislature have been the retention of a truly dedicated and hard-working staff who have helped me to win critical legislative and budget victories, and the opportunity to meet and work with so many extraordinary people in all sectors of the district.

During my tenure, constituent service has been a priority and my staff has helped thousands of residents navigate issues with state agencies and other entities. The 17th Senate District has suffered its share of natural disasters, including fires, floods, and even a tsunami, and with each of these, we succeeded in gaining federal, state, and local support to help mitigate the losses and assisted impacted communities.

On the legislative front, I am proud of our successes passing more than 100 pieces of legislation and securing significant budget allocations that have directly impacted the lives of those who live in the district.

Legislation to authorize and fund the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery at the Former Fort Ord Army Base was a highlight of my time in office. The cemetery now serves veterans in the entire Central Coast region of California. I am also extremely proud of my work to enact the End of Life Options Act, which provides for eligible terminally ill patients to work with their physicians to determine if aid in dying medication might be an appropriate option as they near the end of their lives, as well as my work to enact the Safe, Clean, and Affordable Drinking Water Act of 2019, which will allocate $1.3 billion over 10 years to bring the human right of safe drinking water to more than one million Californians who currently live with contaminated drinking water sources.

Additionally, I was able to secure funding to offset some of the economic impacts of the pending closure of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County; for the emergency replacement of the Pfeiffer Bridge on Highway One in Big Sur; and for the purchase of a search and rescue craft for the Santa Cruz Port District.

And, while I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished in Sacramento, I will carry very fond memories of my work with the many unsung heroes in our communities.  In this list, I include those active in veterans, volunteer, and service organizations; local elected officials and their staff; business owners, employees, and union members; firefighters, public safety, judicial, and special district workers; and those who work in healthcare, education, the arts, environmental protection, hospitality, agriculture, construction, and tourism.

As always, to my wife, Dr. Dana Kent, and our family, I say thank you for your support, encouragement, and forbearance with the long hours and many days and miles of separation.  You have inspired and sustained me every step of the way.  As I will miss the many rewards of public service, I look forward to more time together with family.

We clearly face very tough times with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and wildfire devastation, but I have confidence in our communities’ resilience and the character of Californians.

In the end, the art of politics in its most positive manifestation is about building human and institutional relationships to achieve and implement shared visions for the betterment of our communities. I want to thank each and every one of you for your confidence in giving me the privilege and honor to serve you. I look forward to maintaining many of the friendships made as I explore the next chapters of this journey.

Guest Column