The following statement by state Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was received by the Boulevard Sentinel on November 18 in response to a question asking why her attendance at a conference in Maui was appropriate at this time when health authorities are imploring people to restrict nonessential travel and gatherings:
“Yes, I am currently in Hawaii for a 4-day bipartisan conference focused on re-opening our economy amid COVID-19. This trip is not funded through tax-payers dollars. Additionally, using my own vehicle, I was in Bakersfield last week with other legislators and stakeholders to discuss the impact of the pandemic to the Central Valley, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, get an update on the high-speed rail and impact to workers, better understand water distribution across the state and just a few days prior, I participated in a portion of a state-wide Agricultural tour in Los Angeles on how the Los Ángeles Food Bank is providing assistance to Angelenos.
All these events have been done under the strictest of health and safety procedures, always wearing a mask and following protocols. This is part of my work and part of the process for developing a further understanding of some of California’s biggest issues.
With regards to this current trip, the Independent Voter Project (IVP) has been in existence for 15+ years and brings together bi-partisan legislators from various states, including California and Texas both of which together, represent close to 60 million people. The discussions have been thoughtful, innovative and forward-looking. For those that have asked about my safety, I thank you. For those that are confused or angry as to why I’m here, I can assure you that I took great precaution and thought regarding my attendance. I was informed that IVP is the first conference allowed and is being seen as a test as to what is possible. This helped inform my decision on what could be possible for California.
The state of Hawaii has installed some of the strictest guidelines for travel, securing partnerships for mandatory COVID-19 testing, creating a website that creates a QR code for travelers to be tracked with results and that must be screened at the airport and at hotels. Several of these standards can be and should be replicated in California and could help reopen revenue-making venues like hotels for conferences and amusement parks and stadiums, putting thousands of people back to work and boosting our economy.
My intent to be very clear and transparent is to find solutions on how we can safely live through COVID-19, how we safely re-open our economy, help small businesses and restaurants and better inform the public amid continued contradicting and constantly changing information from Governor Gavin Newsom. My intent, as well as the intent of my colleagues in the legislature, is to create thoughtful policy that ultimately ensures Californians can return to work, send their children back to school, and create standards that are safe, reliable, and followed unilaterally.
If any of this created any mixed messages or caused confusion, let me apologize. I hope that this statement helps give better context to the necessary work we need to do to ensure we can help the people of California move forward safely and help guide the nation amid these unprecedented times.” – Wendy Carrillo, Assemblymember, AD51, Los Angeles