In January 2022, Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege launched her campaign to represent Assembly District 47

PALM SPRINGS — Christy Holstege was first elected to the City Council in 2017 and became the city’s first female and openly bisexual mayor by rotating into the position last year. She first announced her intention to run for the state Assembly in July 2021 and it’s been full steam ahead ever since.

After California’s redistricting process, the newly drawn district for Palm Springs — Assembly District 47 — extends north to Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree and west to Yucaipa and Banning but adds Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs within the Coachella Valley. The new district also includes Indian Wells, La Quinta, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage within the Coachella Valley.

Holstege, a Democrat, is being challenged by Greg Wallis, who is running as a Republican in the newly drawn Assembly District 47. He has served as a longtime district advisor for Assemblymember Chad Mayes.

She has amassed a wealth of powerful endorsements from organizations to people. A snapshot includes Inland Empire Labor Council, California Democratic Party, Equality California, U.S. Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton, Palm Springs City Councilmember Geoff Kors.

Uken Report (UR) reached out to both candidates with a series of identical questions and identical deadlines. We even gave them a gentle reminder. Holstege responded, Wallis did not.

UR: There will undoubtedly be a learning curve in your new role. To whom will you turn for advice, mentorship? Why?

Christy Holstege: Throughout my tenure on the Palm Springs City Council, I have relied on a wide-ranging support network that includes neighbors, friends, local activists, my colleagues, local elected officials from across the state, and more.  In the Assembly, I’ll continue to turn to those folks for advice, as well as my fellow women and LGBTQ+ Assemblymembers.

UR: Do you plan to introduce legislation in your first term? If so, what and why?

Christy Holstege: Yes, definitely. In my first term in the Assembly, I plan to introduce legislation to address our affordable housing crisis, lower healthcare costs, ensure we speed up our transition to renewable energies and lower energy costs for working families, take weapons of war off our streets, and protect reproductive rights and ensure full, lived equality for all.

UR: If elected, what issues will receive your attention, another way of asking where your priorities lie?

Christy Holstege:

  1. Access to affordable housing and combating homelessness: As the Mayor of Palm Springs, we have made considerable progress on this issue: approving hundreds of units of affordable housing, investing millions of dollars to build new housing, and securing $10 million of state funds for innovative housing and homelessness services. I will advocate for the state to allocate more resources to help local communities address this growing problem. This region used to be affordable compared to the coastal parts of the state, but as more people have moved inland, longtime residents are seeing their rents skyrocket. The state must step because this issue is too large for any individual community or region to tackle on their own.
  2. Regional economic development: In the Assembly, I will help build an economy that works for all of us. This includes creating stable jobs and careers that pay a living wage, investing in a regional economy that lifts all of us up, protecting workers and local businesses, investing in our local economy, and increasing access to healthcare and social services.  We cannot create opportunities for future generations in the Coachella Valley and Riverside County without investing in higher education so that young people can gain the skills that are necessary to succeed in our rapidly changing world. I will work to expand access to two and four-year degree programs, as well as other upskilling and experiential training that lead to good quality jobs.
  3. Defending reproductive rights:  It’s critical that our state not only codifies access to a safe and secure abortion into law, but that we are also a beacon of hope to women and pregnant people across the nation seeking abortions, which means providing greater funding to Planned Parenthood and other providers. Phoenix is only about three hours away from the Coachella Valley, and we are the closest metro area with enough proper medical facilities to actually serve patients crossing state lines to access reproductive care. I will work to ensure that we do our part as California steps up as a leader for those seeking refuge from Republican states with draconian, out of date laws that criminalize people’s healthcare decisions.
  4. Protecting our environment: It’s time to accelerate our transition to green, renewable energies to protect our environment and reverse the effects of climate change. In the State Assembly, I will push for policies and support legislation to invest in more green and renewable energy projects, and moves us to a greener, more sustainable future, while also making sure that we keep in mind environmental justice for all and investing in communities most impacted and communities of color. The worsening drought is affecting this region particularly hard, and we must be effective stewards over areas like the Salton Sea that could pose additional health risks to our communities.

UR: Do you support an individual’s right to access abortion, regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status? Why or why not?

Christy Holstege: Yes, absolutely, I firmly believe that California must lead on supporting reproductive healthcare and abortion access.  In fact, I called for this very thing in a Desert Sun op-ed months ago after the Dobbs decision was initially leaked. In this dark post-Roe reality, California needs to step up and be a sanctuary for women and pregnant people across the country who are seeking access to safe abortion care.

I’ve spent my career fighting for reproductive rights, including founding a free legal clinic for domestic violence survivors and their children. There, I witnessed how access to reproductive healthcare is often a life-or-death matter, helping survivors flee from reproductive coercion and abuse. And this is a critical issue for our region: we have already seen an increase in patients traveling here for abortion care from neighboring anti-choice states. In the Assembly, I will always fight to ensure every person can access an abortion regardless of income or immigration status, including ensuring that California is a sanctuary for people across the country seeking reproductive care.

UR: Do you believe that young people under 18 should require parental consent to access abortion care? Why or why not?

Christy Holstege: No, definitely not. Abortions access should not depend on parental consent.

UR: Do you support comprehensive sexual education, including LGBTQ-specific health information in public schools, K-12? Why or why not?

Christy Holstege: Yes, certainly–I’ve experienced personally what it’s like to not be provided a comprehensive sexual education and know how dangerous it is. After receiving no sex education in my public schools growing up, I decided to attend law school to study reproductive rights and work as a reproductive rights attorney. In the Assembly, I’ll always support comprehensive sexual education, including LGBTQ-specific health information in public schools.

UR: Do you believe that health insurance companies should be able to refuse to provide coverage for transgender-related health care? Why or why not?

Christy Holstege: No, definitely not.  Health insurance companies should not be able to discriminate against anyone for receiving the care they need–including gender-affirming care.

UR: What are your budget priorities and how would they impact women and families in communities across California?

Christy Holstege: In the Assembly, my budget priorities will be to fight to allocate more resources for housing development to help local families address our affordability crisis, accelerate our transition to renewable energies, make healthcare more affordable, and ensure universal childcare for every Californian.

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