As Fran Pavley prepares to get sworn in Monday, she knows there is a host of challenges facing California and its legislators.
But going back to her campaign, which ended Nov. 6 with a win over Todd Zink for the state Senate 23rd District seat, Pavley said she’s been trying to meet as many people as she can in her new district.
“It was a challenge because of redistricting,” Pavley said, “65 percent of the district was new to me — there’s a lot of new people to meet, which, with a district of 930,000 people — it’s a challenge to meet a lot of people.”
New district maps, which were first implemented in June this year, changed the landscape of several districts. But for the longtime educator, who moved to the state Senate after three terms in the Assembly, her priorities have not changed much looking forward to her new term.
“I think what surprised me, because it’s a whole new district, is that the issues are the same,” she said. “Most people here still send their children to public school. And (residents) are also very concerned about preserving their quality of life.”
She also mentioned the area’s growth, and the challenges that come with it, such as the growing gridlock on California freeways. Her experience in the Legislature makes her well-suited to address these concerns, despite the fact that her constituency has changed significantly, she said.
“(Local residents) treasure open space, and they’re also very concerned about transportation issues, and I served 10 years on the Transportation Committee,” Pavley said.
And, of course, education was a primary concern for the teacher. Primarily, the cuts that the state’s education system has sustained, and how the funding priority needs to change in that respect.
“It’s not the investment in schools that we had when I was growing up, where California spent a lot more on education” said the lifelong state resident.
Ultimately, she was happy that Proposition 30 passed, but the drastic consequences of its failure were not something she was comfortable with, she said.
“It was a gamble that paid off,” Pavley said. “But I don’t like to gamble on our children‘s future, and that was a huge concern of mine.”