Having grown up in poverty, I understand that lack of opportunity can have a negative effect on a number of outcomes, including mental and physical health. Many families are just one or two missed paychecks from financial despair, and families experiencing poverty often lack the proverbial bootstraps to pull themselves up.
That is why in my first term, in partnership with the Economic Security Project, we launched and implemented the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED). SEED is an audacious basic income pilot program, which provides a number of Stockton families $500 a month to help with basic needs. We want to demonstrate that, as many studies have shown, it is lack of resources rather than lack of will that prevents many families from climbing up the economic ladder.
If we want to foster economic growth in Stockton, we must create an environment that allows small businesses to flourish. In my first term, we hosted a number of roundtables with leaders in our business community to better understand how we can build opportunity together.
The Stockton-Lodi area is the largest metropolitan region in California and the second largest metropolitan area in the nation without a public college or university. As a result, only about 17.5 percent of Stocktonians have a college degree, compared to about 31 percent nationwide. To improve our educational attainment levels and to attract more employers, it is critical that we continue our push to build California’s next state university campus here in Stockton. A new college campus will not only increase college access, but it will also drive up our job market. A recent analysis shows that a new campus could potentially provide over 2,300 new jobs to our region and have an economic impact of over $350 million annually.
Continue focus on developing Downtown Stockton
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