Bittersweet ending to Assembly service
Originally published in the Ventura County Star
After serving six years in the state Assembly representing much of Ventura County, it is time to say goodbye. Term limits meant I could not seek re-election.
As the county begins a new era, I would like to take a moment to recall some of the accomplishments we achieved together over the past six years. First, however, I would like to make something clear: The greatest part of serving has been being able to work with local constituents. Much of the high-profile work takes place in Sacramento, but the most rewarding work comes when I get to meet and talk with local residents.
On the ground, in the communities, is where the ideas begin. Everything starts with you. I have tried not to be a top-down official but govern from the ground up, and let my constituents dictate the legislative agenda. I will miss most my time in the community talking and learning from each of you.
When I reflect on my time in office, here are some accomplishments that come to mind:
I authored AB 2729, which ensures that funding is available to cap idle oil wells and creates disincentives for operators to maintain large numbers of idle wells. California has more than 21,000 idle wells, 2,200 of which are in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
AB 1564 leads efforts to reroute emergency calls from wireless phones to the nearest public safety office instead of the default California Highway Patrol, which has caused dangerous delays.
In 2012, the governor signed AB 482, which allowed the Ventura Port District to utilize contractors selected through a competitive bidding process in Ventura County for dredging the inner harbor. AB 482 is critical to assuring the port's ability to contract for needed dredging services in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
AB 664 created the Gold Coast Transit District in the county of Ventura, which gave jurisdiction over the transit system to the cities of Oxnard, Ventura, Port Hueneme and Ojai. The change allowed the new district to receive funds directly from the Ventura County Transportation Commission.
AB 2139 calls on environmentalists and government officials to collaborate and find solutions to the emerging problem of ocean acidification and its potentially devastating impact on ocean health.
We also dedicated a stretch of Highway 33 in the Ojai Valley to Pete Aguirre Jr., a sheriff's deputy killed while working in 1996.
I have also worked hard to hold important events in the community. Hundreds of residents have attended our Green Jobs and Emergency Preparedness fairs, designed to inform and empower the community.
During my time in office, I am most proud of putting the state on the right fiscal track while investing in education, shepherding SB 350 in 2015 and the biogas work to get us off fossil fuels.
I am honored and humbled by your determination to make the county one of the best, most livable in the world. Thank you.
Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, is the outgoing assemblyman for the 35th District, which includes most of west Ventura County.