Posted by Cynthia Denbo on Apr 02, 2018
Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka Past-President Melinda Ciarabellini and California State Senator Mike McGuire
California State Senator Mike McGuire joined members of the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka during their Friday meeting to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing rural California communities and residents of the North Coast.  Senator McGuire, noting that he is the only Democrat representing a rural district in California, Senate District 2 - North Coast/North Bay, which is also largest Senate district in the state, affirmed his commitment to supporting good jobs and strong schools on the North Coast.
Challenges that must be addressed, said McGuire, include: PERS and STERS funding, Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) improvements, protecting the coast and its fisheries and tourism businesses, support for community colleges and students who will not go on to receive a four-year degree, improving public education, supporting affordable housing, homelessness, the development of an emergency communication alert system, and opioid addiction.
These challenges are especially felt in Humboldt County and other rural communities, said McGuire, reporting that efforts to manage and mitigate these problems are ongoing.  Though ACA problems continue to be addressed, only 7% remain uninsured in California while medical-related bankruptcies have been cut in half.  Efforts are being made to return a nursing program to Humboldt State University, a project that will require a start-up investment of $6-8 million. ”We’re going to get this going again,” he said.  A rural school bus replacement program is now based in Arcata.  Democrats and Republicans are working together to protect the state’s $92 billion outdoor economy from off-shore oil-drilling and to eliminate the state fire tax fee which, McGuire said, has been a burden on rural residents.  Efforts to procure funding to support affordable workforce housing in rural counties is moving forward and funding has been allocated to double the local opioid treatment capacity and manage problems associated with chronic homelessness.
As a fellow Rotarian, McGuire thanked the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka for its generosity in contributing to the victims and survivors of October's North Bay Firestorm.  “Rotary came through like never before,” he said, offering his appreciation for having “the best job in the world to work for you in the State Senate.”