Our economy is at its best and brightest when our small businesses thrive. Unfortunately, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw 60% of our small businesses close (almost half never to return), and friends, families, and colleagues lose their jobs and livelihoods. Today, we see empty storefronts, decayed neighborhoods, and the end of the American Dream for many Kern County residents. Additionally, almost 1/3 of all workers in Kern County are underemployed, meaning that traditional employment statistics mask the real pain our communities have been through over the last year and a half.

Kern County's current plan of recruiting companies to move into the county via subsidies is failing; we are not converting intellectual property to jobs in our county; we are just feeding large corporations our hard-earned money. Instead, we should be focusing on growing hometown businesses. I will focus on expanding small business grants for first-time entrepreneurs and those that lost their businesses due to the pandemic response and removing regulations and restrictions that have throttled our economy over COVID-19. Allowing ourselves to invest in Kern County will grow our economy, help clean up our streets, and put our citizens back to work.