By Cheryl Brown, Co-Publisher –
Looking back in the Inland Empire over 2011 has been a year of highs and lows, and unfortunately more lows than highs with the unemployment rate hovering around 13% and higher in some areas. We witnessed local redevelopment agencies lose the tax increment money to Sacramento to help with state budget woes. We still have some of our neighbors losing their homes to foreclosure and many still living in homes where the value is now less than they owe. We saw the poverty rate rise while those who have, get more, and the middle class lose financial ground, yet I am optimistic about our ability to turn all of that around this year with a lot of faith and hard work on our part.
I am sure you are asking how I can see a more prosperous year ahead.
After much prayer and discussion with family and friends I decided to step out on faith to seek public office by running for the newly created 47th Assembly District representing the communities of Fontana, Rialto, Bloomington, Colton, Grand Terrace, Muscoy and a portion of San Bernardino.
To my pleasant surprise the support and response from local citizens has been fantastic -- from political endorsements to financial support.
The endorsements have come from Democrats as well as Republicans, Independents and those who Decline to State any political affiliation. Support has come from assembly members, county supervisors, mayors, city council members, city clerks, school board members, business leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers, union leaders, pastors, from Linda Hart to Linda Jackson, and good friends like song stylist Nancy Wilson and actors Hal Williams and Bill Cobb. Ms. Wilson and Mr. Williams graciously hosted my first fundraiser, an art auction at Fontana’s Sierra Lakes curated by another good friend artist Charles Bibbs.
I have had calls and met with leaders throughout the state who have expressed their hope in helping to elect people who are committed to having an open mind when it comes to making public policies. They, like local citizens, have expressed concerns of state governmental political leaders working together and solving the problems people and businesses are having in California.
Even with all of that support and encouragement the two things that help build my hope and optimism has come from the fact that over 100 local citizens have contributed to this campaign.
While I appreciate and thank all of my donors, there was one supporter whose donation I saw as a sign that this year will be brighter than the last. It came when I opened a donation envelope with five dollars in it. The contribution was from Ms. Mabel Kearney, one of the Inland Empire’s oldest community leaders and founder of the Dora Nelson Museum. The donation included a note that read, “This is all I have to send. I am praying for you and may God continue to bless you.” I immediately thought of the story Jesus told of the “widow’s mite” in Luke and Mark and tears came to my eyes. Others had given much more, but Mrs. Kearney gave all she had and I know she believes in the kind of leadership I will bring to the office.
I am running to help heal the divisiveness that has paralyzed our state government. A divisiveness, I believe, that is caused primarily by a political division that has pitted the haves against the have nots, one race over another race, and Sacramento lawmakers against local governments. We are all citizens of California and contribute to each level of government through our taxes. We deserve better representation.
I know it will not be easy, but like Mrs. Kearney giving all she had, with your vote I will commit all of my time and energy to making life better in the Inland Empire and especially in the newly created 47th Assembly District.
Happy New Year.
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