Written By: Assemblyman James Gallagher, Originally Posted in the FlashReport

California faces significant challenges due to flawed policies instituted by liberal lawmakers in Sacramento. Whether it’s the state’s deteriorating business climate, education California faces significant challenges due to flawed policies instituted by liberal lawmakers in Sacramento. Whether it’s the state’s deteriorating business climate, education or natural resources, California is struggling. Republican leaders are working diligently to improve the forecast and make California the golden land of opportunity it once was.

From an overly burdensome and a regulation-heavy business climate that has forced business to leave California, to an education system that refuses to evaluate teacher performance and serves the powerful union instead of ensuring the most quality education for our state’s children, California is being held back from being a true “Golden State.”

These times require serious policy solutions to help rebuild California and restore the California Dream for the next generation. This isn’t time for “on the job training” because Californians demand, and deserve, results now.

As Republican lawmakers, we represent diverse communities and regions of the state, but one common thread many of us share is our participation in the California Trailblazers program, which is making a difference by recruiting and training the next generation of Republican leaders. I can confidently state that thanks to this training, my fellow colleagues and I were able to hit the ground running on day one with the skills necessary to tackle the critical and complex issues facing our state.

Trailblazers alumni from the most recent election cycle include Assemblyman Chad Mayes, Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, Assemblywoman Young Kim, Assemblyman Mark Steinorth and Assemblyman David Hadley, which are a few of the more than a dozen Assembly and Senate Republican colleagues that entered the legislature as alumni of the program.

Through Trailblazers our preparation for service began before we entered the Capitol and it’s that experience that has made us better positioned to serve and lead on day one. The program brought us together and allowed us to get a head start by discussing issues, sharing our experiences and developing policy solutions. Together, this collaboration has made us into a stronger and more cohesive group that further strengthens our respective Republican caucuses.

In addition, the trainings helped us focus on the issues impacting working families. Because let’s not forget, Californians are having a more difficult time finding work and paying their bills. Global warming policy enacted by the Democrats means jobs are less abundant and the cost of basic living expenses like gas and electricity are greater than any other state. With an eye on solutions, we explored options to untangle the bureaucracy and support the state’s job creators, while also considering how to make government more efficient and accountable to taxpayers. I’ve incorporated these ideas into my own legislative priorities that encourage job growth and streamline environmental processes to get projects off the ground now. Whether providing us with the tools necessary to identify the challenges to the economy in our specific districts, or tackling issues that have become larger problems like unfunded pensions and rising college tuition— California Trailblazers has helped prepare candidates through their policy trainings.

The skills we developed as a result, helped to prepare us to lead in Sacramento. We were better candidates (defeating Democrats in four contested Assembly seats) but, more importantly, we are also better legislators because of this preparation. And the program is already looking to prepare the next class of lawmakers.

And we’re already looking to the future. Last Saturday, Trailblazers hosted a daylong nuts and bolts training in Sacramento for prospective candidates, providing valuable lessons about fundraising, ground game operations, communications and more.

We all share a passion for public service and are committed to embracing the opportunity of this legislation session to bring change to Sacramento. And thanks to California Trailblazers, we have the tools needed to advance policies that will result in a better California for this generation and the next.

Assemblyman James Gallagher represents the 3rd Assembly District, which encompasses all of Glenn, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba counties as well as portions of Butte and Colusa counties. Gallagher earned California Trailblazers’ highest distinction during his 2014 election for state Assembly.