Carmel Magazine

Summer l Fall 2013

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038-39 LK Bill Monning_Layout 7/26/13 7:51 AM Page 1 LOCALKNOWLEDGE Senator Bill Monning California Senator, Fulbright Scholar, Grandfather enator Bill Monning has called Carmel home since the mid 1990s, Coast has] incredible institutions in agriculture, hospitality/tourism and moved here from the Midwest. His parents met while his father was sta- my senate district. They have withstood the impacts of the recession, and, S but his local ties trace back to the 1920s when his grandparents tioned at Fort Ord, and Monning spent childhood summers on the Monterey Peninsula. After law school, he settled in Salinas and there met his wife, Dr. Dana Kent. Their daughters, Laura and Alexandra, were born at Natividad Medical Center and graduated from Stevenson School. Before being elected to California's 17th District Senate seat, and the higher education. Those, in that order, are the three largest employers in I think it's fair to say, in all three sectors there is recovery and better economic times. Q: Since taking office, you've been working to establish a veterans' cemetery at Fort Ord. Talk about that project. State Assembly before that, Monning taught at the Monterey Institute of A: We're working closely with Congressman Farr's office, and I can't say organization that promotes non-violent conflict resolution, and also trav- cemetery is designed to serve the entire Central Coast region...about International Studies. He co-founded Global Majority, an international eled to South America as a Fulbright Scholar. enough about the local efforts and fundraising by local veterans. The 100,000 veterans' families live in our region. In our view, it's not a question Q: Tell us about your family's local connections. of whether but really a question of when. I think we're in the closing stages parents. We'd spend holidays and summers on Carmel Beach. As a child, poignant stories. We've heard from veterans' widows who are holding the A: As far back as I can remember, we visited Carmel to visit my grandI attended Stevenson Summer Camp with my cousin who was living in Carmel. I've always felt a great affinity for the Carmel area in particular, and for the Central Coast. Q: What priorities and concerns do you see in your district? A: Well, there's incredible diversity throughout this district. We have 200 of perfecting the application for federal support. [There are] some very remains of a loved one in an urn because they will not bury them until there's a veterans cemetery at Fort Ord. Increasingly, as some of the older veterans pass on, family members are protecting their remains so that they can have a final resting place at the former Fort Ord. Q: You are active on sustainable seafood labeling, as well. miles of coastline, which raises all kinds of coastal issues—from keeping A: That program is moving forward. It was one of my early pieces of leg- coastal trail through the Big Sur area. Inland, my four counties all share Schwarzenegger, and it establishes a sustainable seafood label that can be Highway 1 open, to exploring the establishment of an extension of a agriculture as one of the main employers, and also higher education. But there's a diversity of communities and workforce... Monterey County has about 25 percent of its children living in poverty, and yet our coastal communities have among the highest percentage of people with advanced degrees in California. We have huge economic diversity, and it's matched, I would say, only by the beauty and diversity of our natural resources. islation. In 2009, it was signed into law by then-Governor Arnold used by fishing communities, restaurants and wholesalers. It's voluntary, but many in our fishing community already are practicing internationally recognized sustainable practices. A certificate would give them a marketing advantage, we believe, because consumers will opt for the sustainable seafood when given the choice. [Stakeholders] are working on the final rollout of that label. Q: You've governed during some tumultuous times, Q: What do you look forward to when you're home economically speaking. What strengths have helped in Carmel? California weather the challenges? A: My wife, as a physician, and I, as a legislator, both work very long hours U.S. economy. California suffered a huge reduction in revenues. We faced Beach and along Scenic [Road], which we do frequently on weekends. We A: When I was elected in 2008, it was simultaneous to the collapse of the big-deficit budgets that were balanced primarily by making massive cuts of over $30 billion to the state budget. This year, my fifth in the legislature, is the first time that we've had a little breathing room, a balanced budget and a recovering economy. That said, things are still fragile... [The Central 38 C ARMEL MAGAZINE•SUMMER/FALL 2013 and we cherish our time together. In particular, we enjoy walks on Carmel also like hiking down in Point Lobos and other areas south. Carmel is just a tremendous sanctuary for us. We also enjoy reading and movies, and spending time with our children—and now, two grandchildren. —Renee Brincks

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