Lawmaker Agendas: State Senator Darrell Steinberg


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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

 
After being termed out of the Assembly, Darrel Steinberg spent the past two years working as a lawyer.  But he didn’t stay out of the public eye.  Steinberg authored Prop 63, the state Mental Health Services Act.  Most recently, he was a lawyer for Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof as they negotiated an arena deal with Sacramento County.  But Steinberg says he’s missed political life.  
 
I’m rarin’ and ready to go.  And I plan to hit the ground running from day one.
 
During his six years as an Assembly member, Steinberg’s main issues were improving foster care and accessibility to mental health services.  Both are still important to him, but he plans to add other items to his agenda, like reducing the high school drop out rate in California:
 
 
I find it plain immoral that this state allows 15 to 35 percent, depending upon the survey you read, of its young people to fall of the face of the earth without any systemic accountability, without preparing these young people for a productive life as adults.
 
Steinberg suggests beefing up vocational training and introducing it to students as early as 8th grade.  The Senator says another top priority is combating autism:
 
 
This is a profound thing that is happening to too many families in California and we need to focus dollars not only on research, but on early identification of children with autism and to make sure that young adults can transition into adulthood with the right kind of supports.
 
Then there’s the issue of the bullet train.  Steinberg rode one during a recent trip to Japan:
 
In California, if we had a bullet train, you could travel door to door,  from Sacramento to Los Angeles, in two hours and 15 minutes.  That could change in a dramatic way our state.
 
He’ll be pushing the idea, which is on the November 2008 ballot.
And the Democrat Steinberg is looking forward to getting reacquainted with Republican Governor Schwarzenegger: 
  
I think he has, you know, the right approach in terms of wanting to solve problems….It’s one of the things I look forward to – is saying hello to him again and beginning to work with him.
 
Steinberg says he thinks being a Senator will be much like being an Assembly member.  But one thing will have changed when he takes his seat in the Senate chambers.
 
I know where the bathrooms are now, and I can get right to work.