I’ve spent my adult life serving my community. I’ve been a classroom teacher for 30 years, served as Mayor of Fullerton, and represented a portion of Orange County in the state legislature from 2012-2014.

In each of these roles I have placed a high value on communication, accountability, and openness. In teaching that has meant parents of my students have a greater connection to their child’s progress in the classroom and the ability to get answers when problems arise. As an elected official I’ve worked directly with people to help them get the most from the government that’s supposed to serve them.

Openness and transparency are more important than ever. As I’ve watched public discourse become more and more sour over my lifetime, people have increasingly lost faith in our political system. I consider it a personal responsibility to do my part to restore confidence that public service can bring about positive change, and openness and accountability from our elected leaders is a key to that.

That’s why as a member of the state assembly, I wrote the law (Assembly Bill 409) creating a system for elected officials to disclose their economic interests online, making it easier for regular citizens and media outlets to access these reports and hold elected officials accountable.

Now, as a candidate for state assembly, I am taking personal responsibility and transparency to the next level.

Taxpayers need to know that elected leaders are playing by the same rules they are and paying their fair share. We can only be taken seriously as keepers of taxpayer money if we show we’re invested as much as everyone else.

That’s why I’m opening up my personal finances for public scrutiny. I have released five years of tax returns spanning 2011 thru 2015. My husband and fellow teacher, Jesus, and I believe sacrificing a little bit of our privacy is worth giving you a greater sense that your interests come first with me.

It is my hope that my opponent, Young Kim, shares these views and will join me in this effort to raise people’s confidence in their elected officials and release her taxes as well. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, and John Kasich have all seen the wisdom of openness and released their taxes.

I have sent Ms. Kim a letter inviting her to do the same and will let you know when I hear back from her.

Sharon teaches 3rd grade students fulltime in the Fullerton School District. She is running in the 65th Assembly District, which includes Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, La Palma, Stanton and most of West Anaheim.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org

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