Having lived in Orange County my whole life and represented it for twenty years in Congress, I have seen the incredible opportunities our County offers its residents. Our amazing community provided a home for my immigrant parents and enabled them to realize the American dream for themselves and their seven children. Through their support, the power of education and with the community that nurtured us, my sister and I became the first and only sisters in American history to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

During my tenure in Congress, I brought billions of dollars of federal and state investment to Orange County, including federal funding for the world-class OC Ground Water Replenishment System, which keeps our water supply clean and secure. I also secured federal funding for numerous improvements to our transportation infrastructure, such as streamlining Bristol and Harbor Blvd. for efficient traffic movement and the widening of the 22, 5, and 91 highways. Undertaking projects like these and building relationships between local businesses and government organizations is my passion and the work which I have continued to pursue as a private resident of Orange County.

I am working with private industry, labor, and schools to create a program which trains second-chance adults to build modular housing units in an Anaheim factory as one element of a solution to the housing shortage in our county. This project envisions efficient and economical use of larger residential lots in our older cities to augment housing for large households or multi-generational homes or to convert unused property into an income-producing asset. This project would simultaneously increase quality, lower-cost housing for Orange County residents and make living more practical for multi-generational homes, without changing the nature of our neighborhoods or encroaching on our parks and recreational areas.

Since retiring from Congress, I have been fighting for the homeless women of Orange County to provide a community-based shelter to provide housing and services needed to return to a productive and self-sufficient lifestyle. Women are the most vulnerable homeless population. With their unique challenges in mind, I have worked with public and private partners to provide these women with vital services and shelter.

Unfortunately, my efforts in Washington and at home have been inhibited by a lack of effective and compassionate action by our County government. Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been allocated to help develop housing for our homeless population, which the current board of supervisors failed to use. We need smart resource management from the board of supervisors, and we need to change the culture of apathy and indecision in order to tackle our toughest problems on behalf of the people of Orange County.

As a supervisor, another one of my priorities will be fire safety. The wildfires of 2017 and 2018 were devastating, in part because our procedures and methods of communication at the County level are inefficient and outdated, putting people at risk when disaster strikes. When so much of our area relies directly on the Board of Supervisors, we can no longer afford indifference to fire safety and prevention. Orange County needs a reinvigorated Board of Supervisors which solves these problems before they arise and is willing to DO the work required to keep the people of Orange County safe.

As a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, I will bring over thirty years of government, business, and financial expertise to continue to find creative and innovative solutions to some of the toughest problems we face as a county. I am eager to continue my desire to make Orange County an even better place for all to live and thrive together.

Loretta Sanchez served in Congress for two decades and in her tenure brought billions of dollars back to Orange County. She has over 30 years of project financing, and government affairs expertise. Loretta and her family have lived in Orange County for more than 55 years.

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

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

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