Los Gatos Weekly Times
Councilmember Lawler vying for Assembly seat
Liz Lawler announced she is running for the District 28 state Assembly seat in the 2022 election.
Lawler, who currently serves on the Monte Sereno City Council, said she wants to bolster public safety, bring local control to housing development and increase mental health and educational resources for students.
“I'm running wanting to restore common sense, accountability and cooperation in Sacramento. Those are my three main points,” Lawler said.
Incumbent Mark Stone announced earlier this year he would not be seeking reelection after redistricting grouped Santa Cruz with the West Valley and Morgan Hill. Other candidates like Los Gatos Mayor Rob Rennie decided to run for the seat after hearing the news.
Lawler started her political journey back in 2012, when she moved to Monte Sereno from Southern California.
“I like to say I got into politics because of potholes,” Lawler said. “Our street had a lot of potholes when we first moved in, and our neighbors… collectively lobbied the city to do something about it.”
In response, the city council created the Better Streets Commission and appointed Lawler and others to create a program to repave all the streets Monte Sereno. From there, she worked her way to city
council, served as mayor in 2020.
Improving public safety is one of Lawler's main concerns. She said in light of recent police reform bills, like Propositions 47 and 57 and AB 109, safety in her community has suffered.
“These recent reforms have led to a rise in crime and created a sense of lawlessness, and so doing, they've put the lives and livelihood of residents at risk,” Lawler said. “It's really important that our officers, our law enforcement, have the tools and resources they need to effectively and thoughtfully enforce the law.”
Prop 47 reclassified some felony drug and theft charges to misdemeanors, and allowed both those currently serving or who previously served felony sentences to petition for their charges to be changed to misdemeanors. Prop 57 allowed parole consideration for those convicted of nonviolent felonies, and AB 109 which shifted nonviolent offenders to local county jails to relieve overcrowding in state prisons.
Lawler is also pushing to bring back local control of land use.
“We need to build more affordable housing; we need more housing,” Lawler said. “Unfortunately, how it's being done right now is that what we're building ends up being market rate, so it's not helping the very people that need it the most.”
Jurisdictions across the state are currently drafting their Housing Elements to address future housing development and affordable housing quotas. Housing Elements, which are updated every eight years, require each city to plan for a certain number of new housing units.
Monte Sereno, which has a population of 3,400, is tasked with building 193 homes over the next eight years.
“California for years has had housing policies that have consistently failed to yield desired results,” Lawler said. “So instead of fixing those policies and addressing why those aren't working, Sacramento has decided to punish cities by stripping them of local control and thereby stripping residents of a voice in how their communities are developed.”
Lawler said she also supports the School Choice initiative, which allows public education funds to follow students to schools that best fit their needs rather than automatically going to the schools in their local district. She also supports increasing youth mental health reforms.