News from Senator Blakespear - March 8, 2024


March is Women’s History Month, in which we recognize and celebrate the contributions of women in this country.

I am grateful that today women have more support and opportunity than ever before. Women have slowly made their way into positions of power long held only by men. In the California state legislature there are now a historic 50 women Senators and Assembly members, out of a total of 120. But we’re still a long way from achieving true gender equity, which is one of the reasons to elevate women and their accomplishments during Women’s History Month.

For my part, I will recognize an outstanding woman from San Diego County and one from Orange County as part of my Women Who Inspire award. Go here to nominate a person for the award. The deadline to apply is March 15. More details are below, at the bottom of this newsletter.

At the state Capitol, we’ll begin committee hearings in March to vet the bills that have been introduced. I will keep you posted … on my bills and other happenings of importance.

Thank you for your support!


A Message on International Women’s Day

Click on the image to watch the video.

Supporting Military Families

I visited the DeLuz Child Development Center at Camp Pendleton, where I was given a tour and discussed the importance of child care and the struggle to find it with Tina Williams (left), director of the center. Photos Courtesy of DOD.

I have introduced legislation (SB 1401) to help ease the shortage of child care options for military personnel in California. I toured a very impressive childcare facility at Camp Pendleton that is oversubscribed, as so many facilities are. In 2022, more than 4,000 children were on the wait list for Navy child care centers in San Diego alone.

In addition of these centers, families have the option to choose to have their child cared for inside of a home, where a certified instructor watches up to eight kids. These home-based child care options are frequently offered by the spouse of a service member.

Unfortunately in California we currently have a system of certification that results in months-long delays for a parent to open a home-based child care center on our military bases.

My bill, SB 1401, would create a state licensure exemption for family child care providers who are already certified by the military in the federal system. This reduces the administrative burden associated with completing time-consuming, expensive and sometimes redundant state child care licensure requirements. A waiver means these spouses can start earning income much faster after a move, preventing financial instability with their families AND it helps to reduce the shortage of child care options in their new location.

I am glad to work with the DOD, which is supportive of this legislation, to address this problem.

I enjoyed making Play-Doh into funny characters at the child care center during my tour.  


Homeless Shelter for North County

I joined with Vista City Councilmember Katie Melendez and Corinna Contreras (both to the right of me in photo above), the Vista Mayor and other City Council members, the Encinitas Mayor and a City Councilmember and many other local officials and housing advocates to celebrate the opening of the shelter. In the photo below, I helped cut the ribbon to open the facility, with Vista Mayor John Franklin to my immediate right.

I was excited to help open the new Buena Creek Navigation Center in Vista. Last year I successfully advocated for $5 million in the state budget to get this center up and keep it running for three years. I’m thrilled by the quick turnaround and successful multi-party negotiation that the City of Vista spearheaded. The center opened on Monday and is managed by the non-profit organization Retread. The unusual cross-jurisdictional nature of this project – serving people without a home in both the City of Encinitas and the City of Vista – deserves to be a model.

This interim supportive housing project offers 48 beds, with 36 allocated for Vista and 12 for Encinitas. The center has 24 non-congregate bedrooms that each have 2 beds in them, a secure locker to keep personal items safe, and a shared kitchen and common area adjacent to a shaded patio with mature trees and plenty of good Vista weather. At the press conference there were even roosters crowing nearby! This is a great place to transition from living on the streets to finding stable housing.



Joining with Students to Ban Plastic Bags

I spoke at a rally planned by CalPIRG for its day of advocacy at the State Capitol.

The outdoors and the environment – and appreciating and protecting them – has always been a top priority.

I love to join others who share that passion, and so I was delighted to participate with CalPIRG and scores of student activists at a press conference calling for the passage of legislation to prohibit grocery stores from providing plastic bags at grocery checkout. Instead, grocery stores will be able to offer only paper bags when customers have not brought their own reusable bags.

I have jointly authored this legislation with Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda, with Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, as the principal co-author.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, a new study indicates microplastics are harming our health. I thank CalPIRG and the students for all their energy and activism. Bills like SB 1053 are worth fighting for!


Honoring Woman Manufacturer of the Year

Left to right are: Ariane Hogan and Sandra Pizarro, of Genentech; awardee Nazeli Dertsakian; myself; and Amy Zajac and Joaquin Castellanos, of Genentech.

I was glad to present the Manufacturer of the Year award at the California Manufacturers and Technology Association’s Women Making CA conference this past week.

The award went to Nazeli Dertsakian, the general manager and vice president of pharma technical manufacturing at Genentech’s Oceanside location.

Under her leadership, the Oceanside campus was chosen by the global pharmaceutical giant Roche to be the first next-generation manufacturing site in the global Roche network, which includes Genentech. The $450 million expansion will be completed in 2025 and bring an estimated 150 new full-time jobs to North San Diego County.

Derksakian’s leadership has not only positioned the site as a pioneering next generation manufacturing facility but has also set the bar for innovation and efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry. I’m so glad I could help recognize her and her achievements.


Touring Eli Lilly and Company

I joined Asm. Tasha Boerner, to my immediate left, and Eli Lilly staff for a tour of their San Diego facility.

San Diego County has a dynamic and vibrant economy, and a big part of that is biotech. I visited Eli Lilly and Company’s San Diego facility to get better understanding of what this incredible pharmaceutical company does.

I am impressed by the innovation happening right in our own backyard. San Diego’s life sciences industry supports nearly 175,000 jobs in the region and produces a whopping $57 billion in economic impact.

I am a strong supporter of this industry and will continue to do what I can to help it flourish. Not only does the life sciences industry provide decent, well-paying jobs, but it helps develop cutting edge science and breakthroughs in drugs and medicine that benefit everyone.

Advocating on Federal Issues

I get lots of email from constituents about federal issues, such as the border with Mexico, immigration and sewer pollution coming from Tijuana. Like you, these issues pre-occupy me and I share in your frustration.

I want you to know I am advocating to our federal representatives as effectively as I can from the State Legislature. I have joined with other state lawmakers to demand action from Congress on the sewage flowing from Mexico that is poisoning our water and shutting down beaches in San Diego. I continue to be engaged with various state agencies and local leaders to call for action from the federal government. 

I am also in touch with members of Congress within the Orange County and San Diego delegation like U.S. Congressman Mike Levin about border and security issues. I was dismayed to see that a bipartisan proposal was not successful and that funding for our Customs and Border Patrol officers continues to be met with obstacles. We need Congress to act so that we can address issues like drug and fentanyl trafficking, stronger border law enforcement, and strengthening our asylum laws.

Know that I am actively engaged in ongoing discussions with my elected counterparts in San Diego, and actively collaborating on efforts to raise awareness and advocate for federal attention on the pressing border situation. I am planning a visit to the border in the near future.

I appreciate hearing your concerns, and I am working to address them as best I can.


Women Who Inspire

In honor of Women’s History Month in March, I am inviting community members to nominate women who inspire us with their extraordinary achievements, service or contributions to the community. Nominees must live, work, attend school or volunteer in Senate District 38. Go here to see a map of the district.

I plan to recognize one Woman Who Inspires from both San Diego and Orange counties, and I look forward to holding a reception to celebrate the nominees.

You may nominate a Woman Who Inspires by completing the form on our website. Nominees may be in any of the following categories: Business & Entrepreneurship, Community Service & Volunteerism, Education, Health & Human Services, Military Community, Youth Leadership, and Sports. Elected officials are not eligible.

For questions, send an email to Maia Meunier at

To see the women who were nominated last year, visit this page.

The deadline to apply is March 15, 2024.


Fentanyl Town Hall on March 20

If you want to learn more about what’s happening with California’s fentanyl crisis, and what state and local officials are doing about it, join us for this informative town hall meeting.

Use the QR code in the flyer to sign up, or you can go here.


Next Book Club Meeting is April 6!

I’ve established a book club, the Our California! Book Club, to read books that impact and reflect on the California experience – past, present and future – and how it informs the work of the state Legislature.

Our next book is Mecca, by Susan Straight. We’ll meet via Zoom to discuss the book and its themes. It’s not too late to sign up for the book and club and participate in our next discussion!

  • What: Zoom Our California! Book Club meeting to discuss Mecca, by Susan Straight
  • When: 11 a.m., Saturday, April 6.
  • DetailsSign up here to get the Zoom link and additional book club details


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Email me at

Call my Encinitas district office at (760) 642-0809

Call my Laguna Hills district office at (949) 598-5850

Call my Capitol office in Sacramento at (916) 651-4038