By Elizabeth Marie Himchak

Jobs creation, a stronger economy and fiscal prudence are goals leaders at all levels of government said they want to pursue this year.

At the federal level, Rep. Scott Peters, who represents the 52nd Congressional District, said there needs to be “an atmosphere that is conducive to job creation. While the budget agreement passed (in December) will provide stability and predictability for the military and federal agencies for the next two years, it must be the beginning of a larger discussion on addressing our nation’s long-term deficit and debt.”

He said there are many issues with broad, bipartisan support. “These include fixing our broken immigration system, reforming the overly burdensome tax code, ending and replacing the foolish across-the-board sequester cuts with smarter cuts and protecting basic scientific research,” Peters said. “Each of these has the potential to create jobs, maintain American competitiveness and grow the economy not just in San Diego, but across the country.”

Peters added, “I am hopeful that the bipartisanship seen over the last month in D.C. will lend itself to a more productive and responsive Congress in 2014. Clearly, the San Diego region is primed to benefit significantly when Congress works to promote economic growth rather than fighting partisan battles of years past.”

At the state level, Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, who represents the 77th District, said he plans to continue progress made on proposals in 2013.

“Encouraging a strong economy, improving public education and ensuring public safety will continue to be among my top priorities,” he said. “I will also continue to tackle issues such as mental health, homelessness and child safety.”

Maienschein said he will advocate for a state budget “that lives within its means.” He said nonpartisan analysts are predicting California will have a budget surplus in 2014 and the economy will improve. The challenge will be paying down debt and building a rainy day fund instead of spending the surplus as some in Sacramento are wont to do, he said.

“If we succeed, we can show job creators that our state has its act together so they can invest in our communities with renewed confidence,” he said. “Our state should also continue to champion tax incentives that encourage growth in all areas.”

As for other areas of concern, Maienschein said, “Having an excellent public education system is also key to a strong economy. I will continue to support reforms that improve K-12 classroom instruction so all students have the opportunity to achieve their potential.

“In our colleges and universities, I support efforts to hold the line on tuition so students can focus more on their studies and graduate with less debt,” he said.

Early in 2014 Maienschein said he plans to introduce Assembly Bill 1335. If passed, it will give the criminal justice system the tools to prosecute those who sexually abuse people with physical or mental disabilities.

“Current law does not adequately recognize the fact that some of these victims cannot effectively communicate to authorities the abuse that was inflicted on them,” Maienschein said. “My bill would change that and increase penalties to further protect our most vulnerable.”

As for the county, District 3 Supervisor Dave Roberts said, “(I) am determined to build upon the strong legislative groundwork I laid in 2013.”

Roberts said this includes legislation to strengthen mental health services and adoption of foster children. On the job creation and economic development front, he plans to direct as much county business as possible to local vendors. He also wants to improve county government transparency and accessibility.

“From public safety to land-use, fire protection to veterans’ affairs — and all other policy areas in between — I look forward to providing outstanding service to residents of the county of San Diego,” Roberts said.

The City of San Diego, which will elect a new mayor on Feb. 11, will also be “a big year for rebuilding,” according to City Councilman Mark Kersey, who represents District 5.

“The progress we made in 2013 laid the groundwork for what will be significant accomplishments this year,” Kersey said. “We will finish the city’s first long-term infrastructure investment plan, complete the first-ever comprehensive sidewalk assessment while overhauling our sidewalk repair policies, and achieve City Council approval of a $120 million infrastructure investment surge that will begin to reverse decades of neglect in our streets and other city assets.”

Kersey said he plans to help the city’s small- and medium-sized businesses thrive by expanding work with the Brookings Institute’s Global Cities Exchange to increase trade opportunities for local companies and encourage local manufacturing that will bring good jobs to the area.

“We’ll also find ways to cut red tape and streamline the way we operate so the city helps, not hinders the small businesses that represent over 90 percent of our local companies,” he said.
As for other issues, Kersey said they include helping San Diegans get ready for emergencies through Prepare SD; repairing more local roadways; ending the recreation moratorium at Lake Hodges, which will once again allow windsurfing on the lake; and seeing new sport field lighting installed early next year at Rancho Bernardo Community Park.