League of California Cities President Cheryl Viegas Walker, mayor, El Centro, attended Gov. Gavin Newsom’s virtual State of the State Address tonight as an invited guest. Following the speech, President Viegas Walker released the following statement:
“Governor Newsom’s message of hope reminds us that we are the Golden State. Our best days are ahead as we rebound as a California that is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion that celebrates all those who call this place home.
“We applaud the Governor for his commitment to making sure every Californian who needs a vaccine can receive one. As trusted messengers, neighbors, and members in our diverse communities, city officials are ready to be a strong partner in leveraging the state’s efforts and improving the vaccine distribution system to ensure an equitable and transparent process.
“The Golden State Stimulus, a vital relief package for working families, students, and businesses who have been hit hardest by this pandemic is another reason for hope. Community resiliency and economic recovery requires an all-in approach to ensure no one gets left behind. Cal Cities believes that providing aid to working families, businesses, and all others in need is critical to helping jumpstart economic recovery in cities across the state.
“We appreciate the Governor’s significant investment with funding and resources to help local governments support residents experiencing homelessness. My city of El Centro, along with cities throughout the state, have been able to use these tools to collaborate and implement innovative projects to support unhoused residents, one of the most vulnerable populations during the pandemic.
“As the Governor said in tonight’s address, not every COVID hero wears scrubs. Our dedicated city officials have been on the front lines for a year, spending billions to protect public health, deliver essential services, provide assistance to vulnerable populations, and help small businesses survive, while experiencing a devastating blow to city budgets and billions in lost revenue. While we are optimistic about the promise of federal aid, the pandemic and its impacts on our local budgets is far from over, and it will take years for a sustained recovery to take hold.
“We agree with the Governor that this is our moment to create a California we all want to live in, but in order for our state to continue to lead the world into the future, cities need funding from the state’s budget windfall to ensure cities can respond to the pandemic, meet the needs of residents, and begin to rebuild our local economies.”