Henry Advocates Mutual Accommodation In 40th Assembly District Run

(April 14)     San  Bernardino Community College Board Member Katy Henry said she is seeking election in the 40th Assembly District to spur economic growth in her district and throughout the state by facilitating “the sustainable growth of small businesses” and to improve the quality of childhood education and ensure high school graduates have access to affordable quality instruction at public universities and college.
“We have been able to do a lot of things at the community college level,” she said. “There is so much more that needs to take place with education. We also have needs with infrastructure and water availability throughout the state. There are a number of areas beyond the scope of the board for the community college where I can serve.”
Henry, a Democrat, decried the tenor of partisan politics.
“There is a need for a more balanced approach because there is too much divisiveness,” she said. “In our political and governmental discussions it is either one way or the other. There is not much of an in-between stage. If we continue with these rigid position we are not going anywhere. We are not moving forward. I believe in a more collaborative approach. I have taught in an on-line environment where personality is taken out of the equation. It is all about give and take and understanding and helping others. In that environment individuals look at things in a different perspective. We need that approach in the political arena. In the middle of a political debate, people are looking at things in a certain way and the others don’t understand why they see it that way.  We have to open each other’s minds. We have to broaden people’s horizons. Everything cannot be a flashpoint. Everything in our current political dialogue is about inciting people’s anger. We have to bring people to a different way of thinking. Our effort has to be about being collaborative and building coalitions.”
Henry continued, “I think one of the issues that faces us on a statewide level but also exists in the 40th is education.  Education flows into different things – economic growth, diversity of business, creating jobs. Our work is not just about creating jobs. We need a diversity of business. We have to create a diversity of work opportunities for individuals who are getting educated.  We do not now necessarily educate our students into programs that offer them assurance of employment. There are only a certain number of jobs out there and only a certain number of types of jobs. We have jobs that are technology related. We have jobs that are not particularly technology-dependent. We have jobs in the hospitality field. There is land here that is under-utilized. We could interest corporations and employers to locate here if we had the infrastructure in place to support their business operations. Infrastructure could create opportunities for our educated students. We can’t afford to educate students here and then have them go elsewhere to go to work.  They are taking on student debt and investing money in their future and for them to complete their educations and then not be able to get a job in their field here is a tremendous mismanagement of our assets and resources and priorities. There are currently only a limited number of local jobs in the fields that many of our students are training in. We need to expand that job market locally. There is an education gap in who can afford an education and unfortunately that spread exists along racial and ethnic lines.”
Henry said there are already programs and institutions in place that should be expanded or changed to meet the demands of the community.
“We have some really good programs in the inland empire, transitional programs between high school and community colleges and even universities,” she said. “Too many students in high school do not know what it takes to go to college. That gap is increasing. We have to improve those pathways. Economic growth is often about infrastructure: roads, public safety, sewer treatment systems. San Bernardino has an aging sewer system. If we impose taxes, we are imposing taxes upon the already taxed, but if that tax creates something that allows companies to set up here or flourish and make a profit off that, people will realize the benefits and accept the tax, even if they don’t see too much of a return on it right away. It just takes time.”
With regard to the statewide issue of water usage, she said, “We can’t pit farmers against the fishing industry. If too much water is taken from the delta, the water gets warm  and the water goes down and the smelt can’t live in that environment. There are no pat answers. That issue is  too complex for pat answers. We need to have good water management practices. We have to create a way in which to turn gray water into potable water.   The north and south don’t need to refight the Civil War in California. We need to figure out a new way of things between northern and southern California. We need serious conservation. Whole neighborhoods should convert to drought-resistant landscaping. When I was in Northern California, I went through water rationing in the 70s. Water rationing is what you do when you have gone beyond the possibility of conservation. It comes when you get into the shower when the water is still cold.”
Henry said she was not interested in criticizing the others in the race.
“I run my own campaign,” she said. “I do not know the platforms of other candidates.”
She called for an evaluation of the interests of the district, issue by issue, rather than by party affiliation.
“In my district, the voter identification and party affiliation ratio is 37 to 42 in favor of the Democrats. Only one side will win. Either 37 percent are not going to have a voice or 42 percent won’t have a voice. I think no matter who wins, we need to go out into the community to meet people and survey and take the pulse of the community, using field reps to see how people feel about what is going on up in Sacramento. We need to be collaborative across party lines.”
A native Northern Californian, Henry graduated from Santa Rosa High School and obtained her AA degree from the Travis Air Force Base campus of Southern Illinois University in workforce education and development. She has a master’s degree in organization development and PhD in human and organizational techniques from the Fielding Institute. She has been working as an on-line instructor since 2001 and owns a consultancy that specializes in corporation interventional strategy. She is unmarried.

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