December 1st, 2014 marked the day of transition for the LA County Board of Supervisors, the largest governing body of any county in the Nation, and as such a leader in policy. While the previous members Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina will leave their legacy, the new elects, Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, bring great hope for the new opportunities and challenges facing the county.
The new members were sworn in with a series of ceremonies Monday at the County Hall of Administration, with many speakers such as Mayor Garcetti, Labor Leader Dolores Huerta, fellow supervisors, among others.
Hilda Solis, who won with 70% of the vote, is representing the first district, covering the eastern part of the county from downtown to Claremont. She served in congress and as Secretary of Labor for the Obama Administration, the first Latina to ever serve the Cabinet. She is a proponent for the rights of women and children and shared a touching story during the ceremony of saving the lives of sweat shop workers from the Phillipines trapped in a factory in the Valley.
Sheila Kuehl, with an even closer run against Bobby Shriver, won with 53% of the vote. She will represent the second district, or western part of the county. Kuehl has an excellent track record as a state senator and assemblywoman, authoring the highest number of passing bills out of any other member. She has been a champion for environmental protections, women’s issues, and labor issues. For us nurses, she was instrumental in signing into law nurse-to-patient ratios, which continues to save lives today, and is pushing for enactment for affordable, universal health care.
They will tackle a whole range of issues presented by a county with more than 10 million residents and a 2014-15 budget of $27.1 billion. Among their priorities are scaling back incarceration, reviewing a recent decision by the previous board to spend $2 billion building jail, overhauling the child welfare system, boosting minimum pay for workers, and tackling union contracts.
“I feel a strong sense of optimism and promise,” Solis, President Obama’s former Labor secretary, told an overflowing crowd of her supporters. The “challenges are great, but this is a team ready to take them on and to win.”
“This new class of county supervisors starts with a new sense of hope,” Garcetti said. “These are highly experienced officials who bring networks, intelligence and resumes that few arriving at this job have ever had.”