Assemblymember Butler talks about the importance of being “green”
At the Los Angeles branch of Pacifica Institute on April 5th, Betsy Butler, California State Assemblymember recounted the accomplishments of her political career and discussed future goals that she hopes will pave the way for a better California.
Among her priorities as representative of the 53rd assembly district are improving services for elder citizens and veterans, improving and protecting the education system and most importantly protecting the environment.
“I believe there need to be people in Sacramento who are talking for all of you who don’t have very expensive lobbyists lobbying for you,” Butler said.
In October 2011 a bill sponsored by Butler that would ban the use of bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical, in baby bottles and sippy cups sold in California was signed into legislation by Gov. Jerry Brown, despite fierce opposition from the chemical industry.
The power of California as a leader in environmental issues can be seen, Butler said, in the fact that the FDA had neglected to take the issue seriously until California’s ban on BPA, even though 10 other states that had already instituted such bans.
“We have to be good consumers and good advocates for ourselves,” Butler said, because big corporations will always try to hide the truth.
Butler warned of additional environmental threats California is facing such as fracking, a process used to release petroleum for extraction, which can cause toxic gases and chemicals to be released into the environment that usually go undetected.
“We … really need to take a hold of that before it takes over like it did in Pennsylvania and some parts of New York,” Butler said.
Another issue that demands immediate attention, Butler said is the proper care for elder citizens.
“Everyday 10,000 people in the US are turning 65,” Butler said, “we have a lot of people who are aging and as a state we have to prepare for that [because] it’s going to be a very, very, very big economic concern.”
Butler is also an advocate for promoting music and the arts in schools and redirecting the focus of teachers from high test scores to getting through to students and making sure they are actually learning.
“We have to have a very well-rounded education for our kids or they are not going to be prepared for the 21st century. So, it is incumbent upon us to figure out how to get our kids interested in what they want to do,” Butler said, because: “We’re blessed in California to have so much creativity and ingenuity. We’re really the state that does everything. We’re the leaders that people follow.”