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A Tense Week

By Evan Schmidt

Photo Credit: Andrew Nixon / CapRadio

This has been a tense week and there is much that we don’t know. We still don’t know the outcomes of many elections, including who the next U.S. President will be. We also face a higher degree of uncertainty than we normally might after an election season, regardless of the outcomes. There may be tumult as we look into the next few months, with pandemic numbers on the rise, new leaders and policies coming in on national, state, and local levels, and intense community hardships and ongoing divisions occurring in our communities.

There are some things that we do know. We know that the divisions that we see nationally are also reflected here in our region. We see a microcosm of the red and blue patchwork in our region as we do in the nation – with our urban core, including most of Sacramento, Yolo, and Placer counties, leaning Democratic while many of our suburban or rural communities, especially El Dorado, Yuba, and Sutter counties, leaning Republican. Across the region, we see 50/50 splits on liberal/conservative candidates and issues, just like in the nation as a whole. We learned in our recent COVID-19 Resilience Poll that people in the region are losing a sense of goodwill for government and institutions on the national, state, and local levels. So, knowing that uncertainty and division remain, where do we go from here?

We focus on what we know needs to be done and we keep working. We saw from our recent COVID-19 Resilience Poll that people and communities are suffering from the effects of the pandemic – including struggling to afford basic necessities, experiencing depression and anxiety as well as threats to physical well-being, feeling stress from balancing work and home demands, and losing goodwill towards government and institutions. We also know that the effects are being experienced much more intensely for people of color in the region and that younger adults are carrying a heavier burden in many cases.

Beyond knowing that hardships are happening, we also have a sense of where people need support. Affordable housing, access to jobs, extra support for people and businesses who have lost their livelihood, food access, health care access, and broadband connectivity to name a few. Further, we must find the bridges that enable us to work together on the things that matter most. Data-driven action to build common purpose. Listening to and empowering diverse community voices in leadership and decision-making. Holding ourselves and others accountable to address the very real struggles in our communities. Building on our strengths and assets across the region. We know what we need to do, even in the face of political division and possible tumult. Now more than ever, we need to keep working on the issues that matter to build resiliency, equity, health, and prosperity in our communities.

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Evan Schmidt is Valley Vision’s Chief Executive Officer.

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