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As the last of Orange County’s ballots arrive in the mail this week, it is crucial to watch for our ballots and vote no on the recall. We must vote no to prevent costly — and deadly — consequences for our local communities.

If we lose this recall, Orange County is in a world of hurt. All of the leading GOP candidates support Donald Trump and his dangerous rhetoric. We saw these values first-hand here in Orange County, at a recent recall debate hosted from the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. Personally, I was angry to see GOP recall candidates deny COVID science, attack our critical environmental protections, and scapegoat undocumented immigrants.

In Orange County, COVID safety is a life or death issue. Throughout this crisis, our cities and schools have depended on state leadership to do the work that Republicans on the Board of Supervisors all too often declined to do.

Throughout these past 18 months, the Board of Supervisors made national headlines for attacking Governor Newsom instead of attacking the virus. They kept the public in the dark by withholding information from press conferences and publicly-accessible websites, and they enabled extremists to threaten the lives and safety of our health officers, causing needless understaffing at a time when we could least risk it. At the height of the crisis, while time was of the essence, the Board of Supervisors withheld crucial CARES Act funding that cities needed to launch health programs and keep services running.

For those of us who saw the damage of the Board of Supervisors through this pandemic, just imagine what a similarly-minded Governor could have done to make this crisis worse — and could still do — to leave our communities out to dry.

Orange County is on the forefront of our global climate crisis. Our coasts and canyons are vulnerable to the ever-increasing harms of wildfires, erosion, drought, and rising sea levels. For a taste of the climate risks we face under the recall’s leading GOP candidates, we can once again turn to like-minded Republican leaders at the OC Board of Supervisors. Republicans on the Board have never introduced a climate action plan (an effort that newcomer Supervisor Katrina Foley is committed to fix).

Many of the recall’s leading GOP candidates openly deny climate science, and want to toss out CEQA standards instead of finding solutions that protect our environment. Climate denial and delay are unacceptable — whether in Orange County or Sacramento.

This recall election places Orange County immigrants and families in dire risk. Larry Elder, one of the top front-runners, holds views on immigration just as extreme as Donald Trump’s. He mentored Stephen Miller, the chief architect behind Donald Trump’s inhumane refugee bans and family separation policies. Contrary to the recall’s leading GOP candidates, a 2020 Chapman University public opinion research poll found an overwhelming majority (79%) of survey respondents believe Orange County’s diversity is a source of strength.

As a lifelong advocate for workers’ rights, it is particularly concerning to me that worker’s rights are at stake in this recall. At UNITE HERE Local 11, our members are organizing tirelessly for jobs with dignity, health care, and fair pay. Nationally, the Democratic Party is pushing for a $15 minimum wage. The recall’s leading GOP candidates, however, want to wipe out the minimum wage entirely, and gut bargaining rights for working families.

Women’s rights and equity, as well as our public schools, are on the table in this election. Governor Newsom stands with working women and families — achieving universal Pre-K, $500 in extra stimulus checks for qualified families with kids, $5.2 billion in rent relief and $2 billion in utility and water bill relief. Meanwhile, all of the leading candidates oppose social safety net programs, not to mention Roe v. Wade and paid family leave.

With so much at risk, this recall is an election we can’t afford to sit out. Not voting in this election is not an option. The only way to stop the recall is to participate in this election, and vote no.

To defend Orange County’s health, climate resiliency, diversity, workers, women and more, it is crucial that we vote no on the recall before September 14th.

The last day to vote is Tuesday, September 14. You can mail your ballot back (no postage required), or drop it off at any Vote Center or Drop Box. Or if you prefer, you can vote in-person at a voting booth at any Vote Center in Orange County. Details are at ocvote.com.

Ada Briceño is a Democratic National Committee woman, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Orange County and Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

Opinions expressed in community opinion pieces belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

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