We need to fix our schools. I’m a 20-year veteran teacher and I know we can do better for our kids.

Dawn Addis, State Assembly District 30 candidate
Dawn Addis, California State Assembly District 30 candidate.
(Via Courtney Lindberg Photography)

California State Assembly District 30 runs along the coast and includes parts of Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. It’s a new district configuration, hammered out to take effect in 2022. Lookout asked the candidates running in this race — Dawn Addis, a Democrat from Morro Bay, and Vicki Nohrden, a Republican from Monterey — to submit answers to two questions. Dawn Addis’ answers are below.

Lookout: Please tell readers why they should vote for you. What specifically and concisely sets you apart from your opponent?

I’m a mom, special education teacher and public servant who will work to successfully address the problems we face. I will work in the legislature to build a brighter future for California and protect the things we love about the Central Coast.

The Lookout logo on top of an American flag

Community Voices Election 2022

Community Voices is bringing you the direct voices of the candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot, those who want to represent you. We will also bring you the voices of those supporting and opposing local ballot initiatives.

It’s one of the most fundamental parts of Lookout’s role in democracy, and one we all prize more deeply as we witness the widening assaults on democracy across the country and the world.

We believe this will help you stay informed and make important choices about who you want to represent you and what issues matter to our community. Our Election 2022 page brings together all of Lookout’s current coverage.

We have done our best to be rigorously fair and to contact everyone running and give them an opportunity to present their views. If candidates are not in our pages, it is because they chose not to respond to our requests.

Other pieces of our coverage include our candidate forums, our letters to the editor and, in coming weeks, our endorsements. You can sign up to receive election news via text and text us your question here, and email us questions at elections@lookoutlocal.com.

Stay tuned. We have lots of election action ahead.

We look forward to your participation.

I know one person cannot do this alone, which is why I will work with the strong coalitions I have built and continue to expand those coalitions. I am supported by teachers, nurses, firefighters, paramedics, grocery workers and local leaders including over 350 individuals and organizations. This broad base of support will inform my decision-making. Together we will make sure the Central Coast has a strong voice and is well represented in the state Assembly.

It has been my privilege to work as a public-school teacher, serving students and families, for the past 20 years. I also serve our community as a local city councilmember. As a city councilmember, I have worked to reduce homelessness, improve emergency response times, increase services and outreach, protect our environment and open space and support local workers and businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The problems we face are great, and I am realistic about that. At the same time, I believe in, and have seen first-hand, the strength and desire of the people of the Central Coast to create solutions. I am running for state Assembly to advance Central Coast values and causes across California, and to be a responsive and effective advocate for the residents of our district. I would be honored to earn your vote.

Lookout: Please focus on the single most important issue to you right now and how, if elected, you will address it. Be as specific as space allows.

Answer: Schools.

I have been a teacher for over 20 years. I taught special education and developed programs for students learning English. Our schools, children, families, teachers and school staff are our most precious resources and we have to treat them as such.

My top priorities for California public schools are full and stable funding, especially for special education, along with increased counseling, mental health and nurse services for all students.

Additionally, I will work to create solutions that draw people from diverse backgrounds into the profession. I will also work to address the substitute shortage and lack of training. I will advance efforts to stabilize funding rather than overrelying on one-time monies that cannot sustain programs long term. I will push for more equitable funding for transitional kindergarten programs so that the costs of those programs do not have to be absorbed once startup fees are spent.

I will also work to create more investment in public education, from early childhood education through the University of California, California State University and community college systems. This includes moving universal pre-K initiatives forward. Additionally, I will work to lower tuition for UC and CSU students and create free tuition for students whose families cannot afford to pay. The student loan system needs to change so students cannot be taken advantage of for seeking to better themselves through education.

For many children and families, struggles with child care and housing often inhibit school success. As a teacher, I have seen students who did not have access to extracurricular activities because their families needed them to care for younger siblings in their homes.

As a working parent, I have also personally experienced the anxiety and stress of very limited child care options. This is why I am currently the child care liaison for my council and I plan to make expanding child care one of my priorities. Access to quality, low-cost child care is one of the great differentiators in allowing families to get back to work after COVID. In the greatest state in our nation, we should be doing much more in the arena of child care and I plan to be a leader to make sure families have what they need.

Additionally, I believe all children and families should be housed with dignity. As a teacher, I have seen too many children struggle because they were experiencing housing insecurity. This is why I have worked, and been successful, on the city council to expand housing. I’ll continue to do so in the Assembly. I will expand low-income housing options, and create policies and funding that provide permanent housing for unhoused people.

Housing costs are rising far faster than wages — and we have to address that problem from both sides.

I’ll work to increase the stock of affordable housing units while also increasing wages and economic development. Additionally, while some people prefer to rent, home ownership is an incredibly important facet of lifting families out of poverty.

That’s why I’ll work to increase home ownership tools.

More from Community Voices