All posts by Fiona Ma

OC to DC

California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-SF) made the trip to DC to attend the inauguration. Below are her thoughts on what she's experienced over the past few days:

Excitement for this trip had been slowly building since Election Day last November, and now it was finally here.  My trip started last Friday night when Governor Schweitzer of Montana enlightened the packed house at the Orange County Democratic Dinner. He recounted the journey of his own family and his grandmother, who immigrated by herself, starving and penniless from Ireland, and went to Montana because she was offered free train tickets to homestead the frontier.  He also shared real-life stories about how progressive Montana has been under his leadership, especially in education where they're working towards the goal of mandatory daylong kindergarten and free preschool. 

The next day, I left sunny California bound for the complete opposite side of the US, where temperatures hit a chilling 19 degrees.  (I definitely felt safe as Leon Panetta, our CIA Director nominee, and his wife boarded the plane before me.) From the moment I landed, there was definitely a thrill of excitement in the air.  The streets were filled with vendors selling all sorts of Obama paraphernalia, and a buzz was about as nearly everyone was proudly wearing their Obama pins, hats, and scarves.

The same excitement charged the air Inauguration morning.  The sun was out, and the air was crisp and cold. The Metro train and Union Station were packed. Reverend Jesse Jackson and his entourage passed us on the streets as millions of people maneuvered to get to their gates, stand in line, and become part of history.  People cheered “O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma” and waved American flags on the Capitol Mall.  It was great to hear the familiar voice of our own Senator Dianne Feinstein officiate the proceedings and the music of my “cousin” Yo-Yo Ma's performance. (A part of me wondered if his fingers were cold).

As we waited for the Man of the Hour, I felt grateful for all the freedoms that we have, including the right to choose our leaders. I definitely feel a strong sense of pride in being American because Barack Hussein Obama represents the realization of an American Dream where one can work hard, dare to dream big, and succeed.  For my own father, Obama's election represents a major step closer to a colorblind society.  As a daughter of immigrants, I remind others that democracy is not only a right, but a privilege that needs to be cherished, honored, and protected. 

In the words of our 44th President, “All are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.” God bless our new Commander-in-Chief! 

And don't forget, January 21st is National Hugging Day so go out and hug a few people today!

Click here to watch a short video at that Fiona recorded while in DC this week.

Thanks to everyone who helped us ban toxic toys!

(No, Thank you Assemblymember Ma! Minor spacing edits and the added picture of the ducky. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

IMG_2745On Sunday, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 1108, the bill I introduced to remove toxic toys from our shelves. 

It was only a few weeks ago that we started an online campaign urging Governor Schwarzenegger to sign this crucial piece of legislation.  We had hundreds of grassroots supporters email the Governor demanding that he pass the ban — now, parents will be no longer have to worry about the safety of the products that they buy for their toddlers.  Thank you to everyone who supported this bill and pushed for its passage!

As many of you may know (especially if you’ve been reading Calitics!), AB 1108 prohibits manufacturers from selling plastic products intended for young children that contain the toxic chemical phthalates.  Phthalates are used by manufacturers to make plastics softer — and can be found in children’s products like rubber duckies and soft bathtub books.  According to the Environment California Research and Policy Center, these chemicals can be particularly harmful for children under the age of three, with exposure leading to hormonal disruptions, early onset of puberty, reproductive impairment, ADHD, and even cancer.

That’s why I’m so thrilled with our success in passing the ban against these toys here in California.  It was a real struggle to convince the Governor to sign the bill particularly because, unsurprisingly, the chemical industry lobbied hard against this common-sense legislation.  But thanks to your dedication, we overcame the challenge and persuaded the Governor to pass AB 1108. 

California is now leading our nation in the fight against these unnecessary additives in baby products — as we should. With phthalates now banned from children’s toys here in our state, I look forward to working with Americans across the country to ensure that these dangerous products are banned throughout the nation as well! 

If you’d join me and thousands of other Californians as we work to improve our state on issues ranging from the economy to education to health care,  you can click here to sign up for the Ma Squad today!