Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica)

With a vaccine rollout on the horizon and an incoming Biden administration, Senator Ben Allen and Congressman Adam Schiff are hopeful about future federal relief, environmental policy, and economic recovery for Californians.

In a Nov. 17 Town Hall event, the two Californian legislators struck a positive tone, saying that despite the current rise in COVID-19 cases, they feel the state is in a good position to push forward its legislative priorities and embark upon a road to pandemic recovery.

“With the news of the vaccine we are incredibly hopeful that we will be able to get our economy back up and running next year and that it will bring in economic activity and generate tax revenue as well, which will help get the state budget back to a strong place,” said Allen.

In the immediate future, Schiff said he was “guardedly optimistic” that the federal government would pass another economic stimulus by the middle of December. Schiff helped contribute to the Democrats proposed relief bill, the New Heroes Act, by extending unemployment benefits for people with mixed incomes, which applies to many freelance and contract workers in California’s entertainment industry.

Both legislators are excited about the strong presence of Californians in the future federal government and the alignment of state and federal priorities.

“I’m immensely happy to finally be in a place now where the state of California can act in partnership with the federal government,” said Allen. “We’ll be in a place now where we will be working in partnership to clean our environment, to strengthen our economy, build out our infrastructure, and help grasp a future that all Californians want and deserve.”

On a state level, Schiff said California will be able to return to pushing the envelope on environmental protections instead of fighting to preserve existing regulations.

On a local level, Allen is looking forward to continuing the build out of the public transportation system in the 26th District. This includes extending the Green Line to South Bay, the subway extension to the Westside, increased use of the Expo Line, and construction of the 405 Sepulveda pass connector.

In the coming year, Allen’s other priorities include waste and plastic pollution management, continuing criminal and racial justice reforms, and working on initiatives to foster more productive political dialogue.

Allen seeks to take pandemic learnings, like the benefits of working from home to develop permanent positive outcomes, such as reduced traffic and air pollution.

“We are all very hopeful that the results of these vaccine trials will continue to hold and we will be able to create a mass distribution system that will get us back to a place where by the end of the year we’ve gotten back to some degree of normalcy,” said Allen. “I am hopeful that we don’t just go back to normal—I hope that we take some lessons from this experience.”

Clara@smdp.com