Biography

Thank you for visiting my official Assembly website.

I was elected in 2014 and am proud to serve the people in California’s 2nd Assembly District, which comprises all of Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties, plus northern and coastal Sonoma County, including the northern half of Santa Rosa.

Northern California has been my home since 1987, when I opened my family dental practice in Cloverdale. I began my public service when I was elected to the Healdsburg City Council in 2006, serving two terms as mayor. My goals, in that position, were to make local government more effective and efficient through reorganizing city departments, balancing the budget, working on environmental and health issues, and streamlining the building permit process. During my time as mayor, we were able to pass a local ordinance prohibiting the sale of tobacco to anyone younger than 21.

I decided to run for the Assembly in 2013 to expand my public service beyond my hometown to affect public policy at the state level. Once elected to the Assembly, my priorities were environmental protection, economic development and health care. I have been chair of the Assembly Health Committee since early 2016.

In my first four years in the Assembly, I have been successful in passing legislation to protect and expand access to medical, dental and mental health care in rural areas, make progress in reducing the costs of prescription drugs by curbing the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies and increasing public transparency in how they set prices; protect residents of nursing homes from closures and ensure that owners of nursing homes disclose their related businesses; prevent patients from receiving surprise medical bills, increase the age to 21 for the purchase of tobacco products and begin the process of identifying how California can provide health care to all.Last year, I passed legislation to address the opioid epidemic and obtained funding to establish a council to map a path to a unified financing system for health care fore all. Following the devastating wildfires of 2017, I worked in a bipartisan way to obtain $1 billion for much needed vegetation management to help prevent wildlands from fires. I also passed legislation to protect consumers from price gouging following declared disasters and obtained funding to stabilize school's ADA funding when students are displaced due to a disaster. 

I also passed legislation to protect the environment including funding for managing our working lands and forests, protecting our watershed from abuse, and obtained funding to clean up environmental damage from illegal cannabis grows. Cannabis continues to be a significant part of Northern California's economy and I was, and continue to be, involved in the development of medical cannabis regulations to protect small farmers and ensure that rules and licensing processes are accessible to small businesses. 

A top priority for 2019 is helping to facilitate the rebuilding of homes and businesses following the fires that have devastated California communities in the past two years, creating opportunities for homeowners to harden their homes and improving vegetation management by providing incentives to homeowners and better managing open spaces. I am continuing efforts to improve health care, address the need for cost containment, reduce the cost of prescription drugs and take more steps toward providing health coverage for all Californians. I am committed to protecting the environment, improving our emergency response notification systems, expanding broadband infrastructure in rural areas, addressing the housing shortage and confronting one of our country's most serious health issues -- opioids.

In addition to my work in the state Legislature, I am proud to serve as a forensic dentistry expert consultant for five Northern California counties. I established a mass disaster identification team in California and helped pass state legislation to standardize county identification procedures, a model now adopted by other states. I am called regularly to support efforts in several Northern California counties and had the honor to assist in many disasters including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Valley Fire in Lake County and the tragic wildfires in northern California in hopes that my service provides some closure to family and loved ones.

There is much to be done. Please follow my work during the 2019-2020 legislative session on this website.