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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 11

Photo of Diane Stewart

Diane Stewart

Democratic
Trustee, Byron Union School District
11,224 votes (13.9%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Full and Fair Funding For Public/Charter Schools
  • Tax Reform for Tax Payers and Small Businesses
  • Affordable Housing

Experience

Experience

Profession:Trustee, Byron Union School District/Entrepreneur
TNC Driver (Lyft/Uber), Stewart TNC (2014–current)
Trustee, Byron Union School District — Elected position (2014–2018)
Business Owner, Stewart Accounting & Bookkeeping (2004–2014)
Bookkeeper, Various (2002–2004)
Sr. Accountant, IP Unity (2000–2002)
Finance Manager, Oakland Ice Center (1998–2000)

Biography

I'm a native Californian who grew up in south San Jose when they still had orchard farms.  It was a thriving city then and became the start of the Silicon Valley.  In 1986 after graduating from high school I left San Jose to study Political Science at UCLA.  College was a great time and a great adventure.  While at UCLA I had the privilege to be a member of the Solid Gold Sound of the UCLA Marching Band, I played Baritone Horn and Trumpet, as well as received a top education.  Following college, I was able to engage in and explore my other interests of travel, history, architecture and world cultures. At the age of 27 I decided to take up figure skating and compete in adult ice skating competitions around the world.  I've traveled to England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, the Caribbean, Russia, Mexico and the Island of Cape Verde from where my great grandparents originated.  ​ However, life and its opportunities truly opened up for me when at the age of 40 I gave birth to my son Joaquin.  In 2009, Joaquin and I moved to Discovery Bay and once again lustrous agricultural farms surrounded me as in my childhood.  Upon receiving his first “Cars” movie, Joaquin developed the interest in NASCAR. So when he turned 5 I hung up my ice skates and became his Pit Crew Mommy and we have been off fulfilling his dream ever since. ​ Being a race car driver is Joaquin's passion and politics is my passion.  It's in my blood.  In 2012, I ran for the California US Senate against Dianne Feinstein.  Out of 24 candidates I placed 10th and out of the 5 Democrats running for the office I had the 2nd highest votes as an unknown.  In 2014, I ran for Trustee, Byron Union School District and won one of the three open seats.  As much as I enjoy being a School Board Member, I know I can do more to help schools and people by being in the State Assembly.  Our schools need full and fair funding and the people need to see more of their hard earned income in their pockets.  ​ Prior to my time on the School Board, I owned an accounting and bookkeeping company where I assisted small to medium size businesses maintain their accounting records.  For 10 years I saw how difficult it was for small businesses to be able to keep their profits.  Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they receive the least amount of profit retaining opportunities.  Through my travels I have seen the challenges various people experience due to government influence.  I have also seen government in action where everyone wins, businesses have profits, housing is affordable, and people have money to save for a car, college, a home, vacation or retirement.  The later is where I want to see California. ​

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (4)

What do you think the State should do to encourage affordable housing for all Californians?
Answer from Diane Stewart:

According to a recent report from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, California’s homeownership rate is the lowest it has been since the 1940s, and nearly one in three renter households spend at least half of their income on rent.  The State needs to reevaluate what they term as affordable.  Merely expanding development opportunities by making publicly owned land and tax delinquent properties available for developers to build homes priced to high for the average person to purchase is not offering a solution.  The excuse that large corporations paying less than 30% of their work force incomes upwards of $200,000 as justification for new developers to raise property values is unacceptable when the majority of the workforce is teetering on the brink of the poverty level.  Wake up California.  We need to bring the market back down to earth and reality where home owners and renters spend no more than 30% of their income to provide a roof over their heads.  We need to offer tax incentives to rental property owners who market at lower rates.  We need to reduce red tape by expediting the approval process and re-thinking overly restrictive fees and regulations in order to create more affordable homes.

Based on the September 2017 article by Public Policy Institute of California titled "Californians and Housing Affordability", seventy percent of adults and 57% of likely voters say they would vote yes on a state bond measure to pay for affordable housing projects.  Sixty-one percent of adults favor changing California’s environmental regulations and local permitting process to make housing more affordable.  For more detailed information on this article go to http://www.ppic.org/publication/californians-and-housing-affordability/

 

 

 

According to a "Civility In America” survey, 75% of Americans believe that the U.S. has a major civility problem. If you are elected what will do to address this?
Answer from Diane Stewart:

There are many reasons why people in todays society feel it's ok to be uncivil to their fellow American.  But the fact of the matter is we are all human beings and deserve respect.  Many of us are several generations born American and this is our country.  The majority of our ancestors were immigrants and the only natives to this country are the Native Indians.  First and foremost own up to everyone who is born here has a right to be here and is an American we are not going away nor will we allow you to send us away.

We know how to treat each other with civility, its taught in the schools and in our various religions.  In order to change the situation we must start with our leaders and change the message being manipulated to us through our media.  We must not allow propaganda and fear by those trying to incite race wars or segregation by nationality to bring our society down. 

Another key to a change in civility is restoring unity within our families.  Now a days too many parents are commuting upwards of four hours on crowded highways to get to and from work because they can't afford to live closer to their workplace.  This makes it more challenging for parents to provide proper guidance to their children.  One solution to this problem is to provide incentives to companies who make satelite facilities available to their commuting employees. 

Climate changes, and the shifting between very wet weather and drought, worry Californians. What strategies would allow that your district to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific.
Answer from Diane Stewart:

As a long time resident of the Delta community, I am not a fan of Govenor Brown's California Water Fix and Eco Restore, formerly known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.  An earlier version of the tunnel project called the Peripheral Canal was presented to the voters as a ballot referendum and was shot down back in 1982.  With the dawn of a new administration in the Governor's office I look forward to collaborating on new and innovative ideas to reach the supposed concept of water redistribution to Southern California.  A project that filters the appropriate amount of fresh water resources needed for the farmers, boosts the population of imperiled fish and revitalized our Delta region.

What programs or strategies would you suggest to meet the educational needs of the youngest and most poverty stricken Californians?
Answer from Diane Stewart:

Currently there are programs such as Title I that are designed to meet some educational needs of the youngest and most poverty stricken Californian students.  What's truly needed for these children is support at home.  They have resources to help them when they are in school but when they return home who is there making sure they are completing their homework and studying the lessons to prepare for exams?  We can offer after school tutorial programs but many of these children aren't able to stay after school because of their transportation arrangements.  One solution would be to adjust the rigorous school curriculum and free up time for a study period with instructional assistance during the school day.  We could develop a statewide online tutorial program that provides internet and computer access to all students regardless of their economic status.  This program would be funded from the additional revenue being generated by legalizing marajuana.  We need to fund public schools by the number of teachable classrooms at maximum capacity and not by ADA student attendance.  

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

More information about contributions

Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I'm running for Member of the State Assembly District 11 because I believe the purpose of government is to improve the lives of its citizens.  I was born in San Francisco, raised in San Jose and attended California public schools from K-UCLA.  As a Byron Union School Board Member I had the honor and privilege to accomplish many things. One of my personal favorites was bringing one-to-one computers to every student in our district.  I voted to make repairs and improvements to our campuses and equip the neighborhood of Byron with a play structure for their children.  Working together with both members of the community and my school board colleagues was most rewarding. Together we approved a county land usage agreement which allows the county to widen the road in front of Excellcior Middle School, one of the more popular schools in the area, making the street safer and more accessible to the school from Byron Hwy onto Byer Rd. This decision also made it safer for pedestrians. ​ One of the most important things as a public servant is to be visible and accessible to all stakeholders.  Listening to the needs of students, teachers, administrators, parents and the community remained a consistent priority for me in my role as a school board member.  Listening to the community enabled opportunity to ensure that their voices were heard in open board meetings.  ​ Elect me as Member of the State Assembly District 11 as I commit to making your voices heard in Sacramento as we all benefit from the progress in District 11.  Public education is a growing concern for everyone in California and throughout the nation. My goal is to strategize accessing full and fair funding to our public schools and to work together with the development of incoming charter schools.  I believe there is collaboration yet to be done on the Delta Tunnel Proposal. As a community I know we can do better.  Supporting and developing bills that cut taxes for average tax payers, tax incentives for small businesses, farmers and rental property owners has to be accomplished providing economic growth and sustainability of renters and the community as a whole. Supporting additional funding to increase our law enforcement, fire departments and services that provide assistance to veterans, mental health, homelessness and health care is priority to me. Safe streets and access to necessary care is pivotal to growing communities.   ​ Your support in voting for me on June 5th is greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Position Papers

Full and Fair Funding of California Public Schools

Summary

As a School Board Member, I support the California School Board Association's (CSBA) Resolution calling for Full and Fair Funding of California Public Schools

Over the past four years of my term as a Trustee, Byron Union School District I have witnessed the increasing difficulties school district's face by not being fully funded.  At this time, 80% of a district's budget is allocated to paying for staff which leaves only 20% to provide services for students and it just isn't enough to give students the high quality education they deserve.  The state has taxed districts with having to pay for STRS and PRS (medical and retirement benefits) with these costs increasing annually.  School Districts cannot survive at this rate.  California's education system is a disgrace to the rest of the nation.  It's time we stop short changing our students and cheating our future.  As the 6th largest economy in the world, we owe it to ourselves to rank in the top 10 of education systems in the United States.

We at Byron Union School District have adopted a Full and Fair Funding Resolution as suggested by CSBA.

 

To read more about CSBA's Resolution click on the links below:

https://www.csba.org/Advocacy/FullandFairFunding.aspx

https://www.csba.org/~/media/44E48B32A8A94F65BA7259F6CA01B65A.ashx

https://csba.org/Newsroom/PressReleases/2018/2018_0108_FullandFairFunding.aspx

 

Gun Control

Summary

I support our 2nd Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  I support a person who wishes to purchase a firearm(s) and have them in their homes or to hunt to be able to do so.  I support a person who chooses not to purchase a firearm(s) and does not want them in their home or on the street to do so.  You just don't have the right to kill another human being.

After many open minded discussions with law abiding gun owners, I support their views that California has enough tough gun laws for the law abusers.  I agree with their ideas that what's needed is more education on the responsibilities of gun ownership and fire range testing on the person's ability to handle the weapon.  I look forward to more open minded discussions as we strive to reach compromise and common ground on the issue of gun control

Videos (1)

Watch this 2018 Election Preview and meet the candidates Diane Stewart Trustee, Byron Union School District and Jim Frazier State Assemblyman District 11 who are running for State Assembly District 11.  Find out their views on the issues and how they will represent you in Sacramento.

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