By Assemblymember Laurie Davies
I have the honor of representing the 74th Assembly District, and it is one of the most naturally beautiful districts in California, if not the country. Along our coast and part of this district is Camp Pendleton—one of the most significant military training facilities in the nation.
We have one of the highest populations of veterans in the United States right here in AD74, and California beats second-place Texas by a margin of 6%. This district boasts one of the highest military service-connected constituencies in the nation.
As vice chair of the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, I take my responsibility seriously and work hard to connect with servicemembers, veterans, and veteran service organizations. I look for opportunities to listen and learn from these heroes, and I am committed to doing everything I can to fight for them in Sacramento.
A few weeks ago, I held my first Military and Veterans Affairs Advisory Board meeting at Camp Pendleton.
I was humbled to see such a wide array of people and organizations who answered the call of promoting and sustaining the well-being of our military service-connected population—including Dana Point Councilmember and Marine Corps veteran John Gabbard, representatives of local VFWs and American Legions, active duty and retired servicemembers, and the Orange County Veterans & Military Families Collaborative, to name a few.
Joining me in sharing information about available resources were CalVet representative Lance Iunker and San Diego County Military and Veterans Affairs Officer Mike Schmidt.
Lance shared information on CalVet’s Transition Assistance Program—a series of webinars that provide an overview of California-specific benefits for veterans and resources for Californians exiting the military.
Mike explained how the County of San Diego assists veterans with their VA claims and expressed that the county always has a sympathetic ear for our veterans, connecting them with the services they need and the benefits they have earned.
As echoed throughout our meeting, it is not just the funding, and it is not really the resources; it is the people and interconnection that will make the difference and solve the problems that our veterans and servicemembers face.
As your assemblywoman and staunch advocate for our troops, I am eager to act on veterans legislation and make the California Dream a reality for our servicemembers, veterans, and their families.
This legislative session, I was thrilled to co-sponsor Assembly Bill 988 and Senate Bill 726. AB 988, referencing the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline phone number, seeks to curtail veteran and servicemember suicide. SB 726 seeks to honor our military heroes with a 100% VA disability rating, many of whom live on a fixed income, by significantly reducing their property taxes.
Assembly Bill 46 has returned to the frontlines of Sacramento this year after facing a few defeats in previous legislative sessions.
AB 46 calls for the tax exemption of military retiree pay. California and the District of Columbia are the only entities within the U.S. that still draw an income tax on servicemembers’ hard-earned retirement pay, and it is time for California to catch up with the rest of the country on this one.
To those of you stationed nearby and those who have served, I sincerely thank you for your service and cordially invite you to join the conversation—not just for yourself, but for those servicemembers and veterans to come.
Please reach out to my office via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949.284.6371 and express your willingness to be part of my Military Advisory Council.
Laurie Davies is a small business owner and former mayor who was elected to the State Assembly in 2020 and reelected in 2022. She represents the 74th Assembly District, which includes Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano in South Orange County—down through Camp Pendleton, and Oceanside, Vista and part of Fallbrook in North San Diego County.