Several weeks ago, Sustainable City News released a survey to all Assembly District 57 candidates. Not all candidates have participated. We will add profiles as responses arrive.
Primo Castro, who is running for election in Assembly District 57, shared these written responses to our survey questions:
Why are you running for Assembly District 57 in 2020?
As a proven community leader who is dedicated to advocating for working families and investing in the community. As a steadfast public servant for nearly 20 years, I have worked to enhance opportunities and resources to numerous communities throughout California. I have a track record of service – as seen in my professional and community work – that I am very proud of. As a Cancer Patient Advocate for a prominent and global cancer prevention and research advocacy organization, I am championing policies that protect the quality of life of cancer patients and their families. Because of my extensive work for the California State Assembly, Senate, and Secretary of State, I have gained a unique understanding of how laws are created and passed. I will fight for policies that improve the quality of life for residents in the 57th Assembly District and across the state. I can help Whittier and other communities navigate Sacramento for our fair share of resources.
What are your qualifications for serving Assembly District 57?
Primo serves as a Cancer Patient Advocate where he champions for policies protecting the quality of life of cancer patients and their families. Primo’s mother died from cancer when she was 44 years old. Primo worked for the California Legislature for over a decade. He has developed partnerships that expand opportunities in areas of education, public safety, the environment, housing, employment, transportation, and business development. Primo obtained a Bachelor’s from Michigan State University and as Master’s from Cal State Long Beach. Dr. Melba and Primo Castro live in La Habra Heights and are parents to four strong and talented school age girls.
In the State of California, revenue is up. What are your Assembly priorities for utilizing and managing the State budget?
Housing: Providing housing and affordable housing alternatives is a necessity for California to continue to thrive. With home prices hitting record highs many are financially unable to buy or even rent a home. Consequently, homelessness is on the rise. I am dedicated to working to advocate for low-income individuals and families.
Education: Every Californian deserves a world-class education afforded by our public-school system. I am committed to investing resources to give educators and parents in our communities the means to ensure that our students have a competitive edge. This includes investing in after school programs that give parents flexibility for their demanding work schedules and enhancing programs that provide access to higher education.
Public Safety: Keeping our neighborhoods, schools, and families safe is a central concern, in our new context of increased technology, hate crimes, and active shooter tragedies. Individuals from marginalized communities, such as immigrants and LGBTQ, should feel protected. Resources dedicated to protecting the public are vital to ensuring the safety of all residents.
As the Assembly District 57 representative, how will you make yourself accessible to district residents?
Having an open-door policy is the way to be accessible to residents. Having town halls and providing updated information is key to keeping everyone updated on the latest. Through the use of technology and traditional methods, we can continue to seek input especially from those who are unable to attend events.
What do you think the State of California’s role is in addressing the dual crisis in housing and homelessness? What did you do (or not do) to promote SB50, and why?
As a Cancer Patient Advocate promoting the overall health of all patients who are going through chronic illnesses which are impacted by their financial situation, environment, lack of housing and other social economic factors. While SB 50 had good intentions to help end homelessness in California and address the lack of housing, many local municipalities opposed this direct mandate from Sacramento. Working with local jurisdictions is key to find ways that will address the many needs of Californians. While I promoted many legislative proposals that would aim to assist many cancer patients living on the street, we also need to provide a more detailed plan for those Californians with mental health issues. California should be able to provide responsible incentives to those that want to contribute to address these 2 issues in our local communities.
As the Assembly District 57 representative, how will you incentivize the creation of strong local economies at the city level?
When Redevelopment funds were taken away from local juridisctions, it meant a lack of revenue for local investment, job creation, etc. I propose to look at and proposing Enterprise Zones once again that creates responsible economic job growth. With Green tech on the rise, we can provide sustainable economic incentives for job creation, park spaces, mental health services, and much more. Jurisdictions that have local high turnover of businesses are struggling to adjust in an ever-changing economy and we need to protect our environment, but also provide incentives.
As the Assembly District 57 representative, what actions will you take to promote workers’ rights, workers’ safety, and wages that allow workers to live where they work?
With the rising cost of living, inflation and our economic change—working parents often struggle to provide for their families. I am committed to fighting for the working class and immigrants. Issues of exploitation, wage theft, job security, abolishment of pensions continue to be a struggle—I am committed to advocating for a fair workplace and safer conditions for workers. Innovations in technology and products have led to the development of new industries—I believe it is vital to ensure that this creates new employment opportunities. We must continue to advance policy that protects workers, enhances economic opportunities, and supports working families with the costs of health and childcare. Having worked on several legislative proposals that protect wage theft in the past, is something that I am committed to continue as your Assemblymember.
How can the State of California make the most impact on reducing its carbon footprint?
Like most residents in Whittier and surrounding communities, we need to continue to protect our hills and environment from drilling and fracking for additional fossil fuels. Climate change must be met head-on with technologies that can provide alternative solutions without causing additional damage to the environment. Standing together to preserve and protect our environment is essential to leaving a clean and cared-for California for coming generations to appreciate and enjoy. The legislature should promote policies aimed at protecting the environment and educate the younger generations in our public and private K-12 education system. Adding this as a topic in the curriculum is not enough, we need courses to be provided and the curriculum should provide ample discussion for understanding of our carbon footprint.
As the Assembly District 57 representative, how will you help low-income, underserved, and at-risk residents gain access to the support and services they need to survive and thrive?
Like many residents in the 57th I also came from a low-income underserved community and I can relate to the needs all communities have. I have learned and implemented programs working with many local organizations which provide services and access to support in different capacities. These relationships are key to providing those much-needed resources to those who need them most. Partnerships are key in an era where many are struggling and where government often does not have the capacity to reach those in need.
What else do voters need to know about how your tenure on the State Assembly will benefit Whittier, District 57, and the State of California?
California has become an economic power and a policy leader in the nation and as such has been unable to meet many challenges. We need to help Californians thrive for a better future. Sacramento must change its ways of placing unfunded mandates at local communities. It is imperative that we assess the needs of all communities which is why it is important to have an accurate census count to ensure that we receive our share of federal funding for local projects. I will fight for every Californian to have access to affordable healthcare, which provides screenings and preventive care to support health and avoid lasting financial impacts to families. Out of pocket expenses are increasing and we need to protect patients. It would be an honor to represent the 57th Assembly District if elected.