2021: Our First Year in the Senate
This month, I celebrated the end of my first year serving you in the California State Senate.
I am humbled reflecting on where we were just a year ago when I was sworn into office alongside my fellow Senators. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no audience. My family (and many of you) watched me get sworn in by videoconference. As I took the oath of office, I thought about the enormity of the task ahead of me, as a new legislator representing 1.1 million constituents entering into office during one of the lowest points in recent history. We were fighting a once-in-a-century pandemic that had strained our health care systems and frontline workers, killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, and drove an economic downturn that left nearly two million Californians out of work and many millions more struggling to get by. Our schools and businesses were still shuttered, and we were facing an alarming rise in anti-Asian hate across the country, including here in Orange County.
These challenges were daunting, to be sure. So I did the only thing I know how to do in situations like this. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
As one of three members of the Budget Subcommittee on Education, I prioritized the return of in-person instruction in our K-12 schools, while also helping to ensure that our public schools had the resources they needed to safely return to the classroom. I worked closely with our local school boards and superintendents so that Orange County’s particular priorities were being served.
I also was a staunch voice for small businesses here in the state. In addition to holding dozens of small business events to help local businesses get access to federal and state COVID relief, I was proud to be a principal author of SB 87, which provided $2.1 billion in funding for small businesses that had suffered because of the pandemic. We were able to help steer $60 million of these COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grants to over 5,000 local businesses, and I’ve since talked to many local business owners who have told me how important this help was in staying afloat through the dark days of the pandemic. More generally, I was proud to bring back our fair share of taxpayer dollars to the region, reversing a decades-long trend during which Orange County has consistently ranked at the bottom in this area.
I was also fortunate to have a very successful freshman year as a legislator, pushing forward an aggressive and bold legislative bill package that pushed the needle on generational issues ranging from consumer protection, climate action, to reproductive justice. Eight of these bills were signed into law by the Governor, ranging from gun violence prevention to child safety to environmental protection.
As you may have read, I was recently appointed to chair a brand new Senate Select Committee on Cybersecurity that will explore solutions to the growing problems of cybersecurity, identity theft, and other emerging threats to data security. We held our first hearing in November, and will introduce legislation next year that will make California a global leader in this space.
And along the way, I remain committed to restoring faith in our democratic institutions, and trust in the government’s ability to serve the people. I am so proud of our district office, which helped to host over 1000 meetings and was able to get over 1500 constituents their unemployment benefits at a time when EDD has been flailing.
This holiday season I am optimistic for what the New Year will hold. With your help, my team is researching bill ideas for the new legislative session that starts in January. We are poised to introduce a ban on offshore drilling that would decommission Caifornia’s three remaining oil platforms off the coasts of Huntington and Seal Beach, as well as expand a statewide prohibition of firearm sales that ended gun shows at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Stay tuned for more town halls and opportunities to engage with us in-person and, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out or make yourself heard. My email is Senator.Min@senate.ca.gov.
So, whether you're celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or simply gathering with loved ones this year, I wish you happy holidays from my family to yours. Be safe, get your booster vaccine if you haven’t already, and see you all in 2022!
Yours in Service,
State Senator, District 37
COVID-19 & the Omicron Variant
On December 1, 2021, the first case of the Omicron variant was detected in California. As we continue to learn more about how the variant spreads, know that the safest thing we can all do is get vaccinated. Everyone five and older should get vaccinated. Last week, my wife Jane and I took our three kids to a local Walgreens to receive their second shots and we’re so excited about our entire household being fully vaccinated before Christmas.
Head to www.myturn.ca.gov to schedule a vaccination or booster for anyone over the age of 18.
Orange County Oil Spill: By the Numbers
December marked two months since a pipeline ruptured and leaked 26,000 gallons of oil off the coast of Huntington Beach. Although clean-up and repairs are still underway, Unified Command officially reopened local fisheries and onshore crews cleared 80% of beaches impacted by the spill. I am continuing to monitor the response, but remain hopeful that the worst of this disaster is finally behind us thanks to the hard work and swift response of our local, state, and federal first responders.
Last month, I attended a town hall hosted by Speak Up Newport to hear directly from residents affected by the oil spill and share some of our ideas for how the state can prevent future disasters like this one. In case you missed it, you can tune in to watch here.
2021 Year in Review
As a new office, Team Min hit the ground running this year– from record state investments in the 37th Senate District, relief for small businesses, to standing up best-in-class constituent services that managed a caseload of thousands of EDD claims. Here’s a quick roundup of all we accomplished this year.