Housing, homelessness, climate change are among his top issues
By Lance Armstrong Citizen Staff Writer – Elk Grove Citizen
Former California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, a Democrat, is among four candidates who will run for the state Senate District 6 seat in 2022.
District 6 includes Elk Grove, Sacramento, West Sacramento, and other parts of Sacramento County.
Each of the candidates are vying for a seat that has been held by Democrat Richard Pan since 2014. Pan’s final term will end in December 2022.
Also running for that seat are Sacramento City Council members Angelique Ashby and Eric Guerra, and Tecoy Porter Sr., a community activist and pastor.
Jones, who lives in the Curtis Park neighborhood of Sacramento, spoke about his decision to run for Senate.
“I’m running, because I believe our region deserves to have someone with experience and a track record of accomplishments who can deliver for our region and address the problems in our region,” he said.
As of last week, Jones’ campaign had raised $540,000 cash-in-hand and $600,000 overall.
His endorsers include State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Assembly Member Kevin McCarty, former Sen. Deborah Ortiz, Elk Grove City Council Member Stephanie Nguyen, Cosumnes Community Service District directors Orlando Fuentes and Rod Brewer, and Los Rios Community College District Trustee Pamela Haynes.
One of the issues that Jones feels most strongly about is the rise in the cost of homes and rental costs.
“The typical home in Elk Grove is simply out of reach now for middle-income families,” he said. “That’s a huge problem, and at the same time, rents are going through the roof. So, we have a problem with regard to the availability and price of homes, as well as rent. And that has also contributed to this massive homelessness problem we have throughout the region.”
Jones added that if elected, he would work toward the creation of policies that increase the supply of housing in all levels, including market rate homes, affordable housing, rental housing and shelters for the homeless.
Also important to Jones is the issue of “building back better from the pandemic.”
“That (issue) includes making investments in schools and our community colleges, in our small businesses, increasing child care availability, and increasing the availability of preschool and early childhood education, continuing health care reform, and doing everything we can to rebuild our economy.”
Another issue Jones recognized as very important to him is climate change.
“(It is important to continue) to make progress in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to climate change, but also making investments in resilience, so that our region will continue to thrive as a great place in which to live and work and retire, even in the face of the increase in catastrophic weather-related events driven by climate change, like wildfires, drought and flooding,” he said.
Jones told the Citizen that the success he experienced in various roles has led to his belief that he is the best candidate to serve Senate District 6.
“There are a number of challenges we face in this region, including in Elk Grove, specifically, and my experience in working on these issues in the past will help me effectively work on them in the state Senate,” he said.
In addition to his background as a state insurance commissioner, Jones served as a legal aid lawyer who represented low-income families and individuals.
While living in Washington, D.C. from 1995 to 1998, Jones was the special assistant and counsel to then-U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
Jones noted that his background also includes serving on the Sacramento City Council from 1999 to 2004.
“I did a lot of work (on the council) around affordable housing and getting parks and recreation centers built in neighborhoods that had been forgotten; also working to do everything we could to invest in those neighborhoods,” he said.
Jones became a member of the Assembly in 2004, and remained in that role for six years. During that time, he authored 70 bills that were signed into law.
Those bills included the creation of the nation’s largest preschool and early childhood education program, located in California. Another bill that he authored banned health insurers from discriminating against women in various ways.
Jones told the Citizen that during his time serving as the state’s insurance commissioner, from 2011 to 2019, he “stood up to the powerful insurance industry, and big consumers and businesses (to secure) over $3 billion in rates, (and he) obtained over $8.7 billion in life insurance payouts, nationally, that life insurance companies were sitting on.”
As the senior director of environmental risk of The Nature Conservancy from February 2019 to June 2021, Jones worked to preserve nature, wildlife habitats and open spaces.
Jones told the Citizen that he left that global environmental nonprofit to focus on his run for Senate.