Author: Judith

The Last Democrat in California’s State Senate

The Last Democrat in California’s State Senate

California set a record for greenhouse gas reductions in 2020, but it means nothing to the planet if emissions actually stay low. California is a tiny fraction of the United States’ economy. The vast majority of Americans can’t even imagine an economic catastrophe where every American is forced to quit work. The real question is whether global warming will get so bad that American’s can’t even afford to keep their lights on.

California has always enjoyed a special relationship with the United States, and at an emotional political moment, it’s worth taking the time to reflect on how it comes to an end.

In the early 1980’s, I was the State Senator from Napa County, a position I held for 8 years—longer than I was in Congress. My district, and my career, had changed dramatically, as has the history of California.

Since 1950, California has spent over $1 trillion on public infrastructure. It has also spent over $160 billion on the military. This spending has left my district with a $16,000 deficit, a huge loss considering that the Napa-Sonoma area is a wine and tourist-based economy—not a blue-collar industry.

I served on the Appropriations Committee and fought for many years to have all-party support for our state debt limit. In the wake of the financial meltdown, this has allowed California to keep our spending levels from being reduced by the governor—at the expense of higher tax collections, which will leave the State in a bigger deficit. It is the very reason that I was forced to leave the Senate in 2011.

I was the last Democrat in the State Senate who was a registered Democrat who wasn’t a Marxist. I’ve been a Democrat since 1962 and always voted Democratic, but during the Watergate investigation, I learned through my membership in the Democratic Socialists of America that the party I once supported was in fact a socialist machine that had to be dismantled.

In the fall of 1973, I took to the national stage through my involvement in The American People’s Debate in Madison Square Garden, which was then broadcast on national media. It was the only time that I ever saw a media personality have anything positive to say about the United States of America. He began by saying that Americans were “The most independent people

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