Jackson, Hannah Beth


Hannah-Beth Jackson is the President of Speak Out California. She also served six years in the California State Assembly, representing the 35th District encompassing Ventura, Oxnard and much of Santa Barbara County. She served as Chair of the Committee on Natural Resources, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Coastal Protection and Co-Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Title IX. Other leadership positions included serving as chair of the Legislative Womens Caucus and chair of the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee.

How Important Are The Arts?

By Hannah-Beth Jackson
Speak Out California

I am fortunate to be traveling through portions of Europe that were not too long ago lifted from the veil of the Soviet Union's gray and dull veneer. The experience is not only illuminating for the normal reasons that travel is mind-expanding, but because I am in a place with a thousand year tradition and commitment to the arts---music is everywhere and consistently good. Last night I marveled at a musician who plays music on glasses that are filled to different levels of water and thus, when touched in such a way can play beautiful melodies and create amazing sounds.

Let's Give The 'People's Budget' a Chance

By Hannah-Beth Jackson

When I participated in my first budget battle as a new member of the California Assembly back in the late 1990s, I was admonished that the budget isn't just a collection of numbers. It is a moral statement of our values as a people and a community. The budgets proposed by the Republicans -- both in California and in Washington, D.C. -- clearly show that today's Republican Party values millionaires over working families and Big Oil over seniors.

In California, we have not been able to extract a single Republican vote to extend the current tax rates necessary to protect our schools and create infrastructure to generate jobs. In Congress, the Republicans have gone so far as to adopt a budget that would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher or coupon program.

Time To Try Another Approach

By Hannah-Beth Jackson
Speak Out California

You've got to give Governor Brown major kudos for his patience and tenacity in trying to make a deal with the Legislature's Republicans. With the state facing a game-changing $26B budget gap, after already reducing general fund spending over the past several years by an estimated $14B, give or take a few billion, the state is at a precipice. Are we going to face the future with great ambition and vision or are we going to fall off a cliff and perhaps never recover our role in the nation and world as the place that "invents the future"?

Isn't It Time We Got the Message?

By Hannah-Beth Jackson
Speak Out California

In following the horror of nature rearing its awesome and unlimited power upon our friend and ally, Japan, it becomes ever more clear how fragile our hold is and how potentially insignificant we are in nature's plan. So the question is: why do we continue to taunt her power? We build in flood plains, fire zones, ignore the true signs of global warming and talk about building more nuclear power plants. When will be get the message?

We Must Stop the Right-wing Rhetoric that Incites Violence

By Hannah-Beth Jackson
Speak Out California

As Americans and people of common decency, we are deeply saddened and offended by the most recent violence perpetrated upon Gabrielle Giffords, a warm and compassionate young Congresswoman from Tucson, Arizona and the other innocent people standing nearby who were wounded and killed. We have no choice but to be outraged. Democracy and freedom are under attack whenever people are threatened with violence or become the victims of actual violence because of their political opinions or beliefs.

Can We Really Call This Christmastime In America?

By Hannah Beth Jackson

Have We, the American People, Lost our Heart and Compassion and appear as grave hypocrites at this particular time of year? Or is it just our political "leaders" who have reduced the President to a virtual afterthought in their quest to bankrupt government and give the wealthiest Americans even more? Heavens, the wealthiest among us have a difficult choice to make, as one bold U.S. Senator stated earlier this week. Their dilemma is in which house should they celebrate Christmas.

For the unemployed, the question is whether they will have a home at all this Christmas. And yet, the debate goes on about continuing the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans while those same "leaders" are refusing to agree to continue unemployment payments to those who have virtually nothing

California Election Final

By Hannah Beth Jackson

Now that the election is pretty much over, with only one or two races still hanging in the balance, it is clear that this was not a great election cycle for Democrats. While the pundits analyze every which way, and with the Republicans delusional that this was a mandate for them, let's try to make some sense of just what this election means for California---and even being so bold as to consider its national implications. (Why not? Every other political junkie and so-called expert has put in his or her two cents worth).

So here's my take----with thanks from all the experts, exit-pollsters, and legitimate academics and observors who actually want to provide perspective and not propaganda or partisan spin...

Can Someone Please Explain This To Me?

Hannah Beth Jackson

We are about to have a election where we have the possibility of putting back into power the very people who created the problems that we are trying to fix. We let these same people dig us into this hole over a period of about 14 years (their so-called "Contract With America" which was really a contract ON America). What was their finished product? It was a recession that almost collapsed our nation's economy and almost drove the entire world into collapse as well.

Follow The Money -- It's All About The Self-Interest

By Hannah Beth Jackson

Much is finally being written about the money behind the candidates as well as the initiatives these days. Finally I say because money buys word-smithing and that buys people's hearts and minds. Not that the ideas propelling the candidates and ballot measures couldn't do that on their merits, but it's the money that motivates these self-serving people/corporations. Money pays for the glib sound-bites that become the message and the PR firms that then shape the opinions and alas, the votes of an often unsuspecting electorate.

In Honor And Memory Of 9/11

By Hannah Beth Jackson

The power of fear and hate-mongering is as prevalent today as it has been since the McCarthy Era of the 1950's. Sadly, it has impacted the ability of our first African-American to meet the promises and expectations of a nation that voted overwhelmingly to support him. But with the power of right-wing media, the so-called "Tea Party" and the hate-baiting Republican leadership of today, it has challenged us as a nation to look and think beyond the "reptilian mind" and remember what this country has and must continue to stand for. As we have just commemorated the 9th anniversary of the horror of September 11th, we must stay focused on what this nation means to us and what it must represent for our children and our children's children as we remember that 9 years ago it seemed that the world stood still---at least for the people of New York City and all Americans and good people of the world.