Voters in Santa Clara County will soon go to the polls to cast a vote for our next state representatives. Many of us this year are driven by personal economic situations as a prevailing political issue. We are not alone.
“The latest Harris Poll on the economy finds that public gloom is still pervasive and that President Obama’s rating on the economy has fallen to its lowest level yet. The new data contains nothing but bad news for the Democrats as we approach the November 2nd elections, ” according to a news release by PR Newswire.
While many in the Bay Area still suffer the ill effects of the lingering economic malady, we must keep in mind that this problem isn’t just about Democrats or Republicans. There are historical factors to remember as we cast our votes in November.
The main factor may no longer be “the party”. As we see from historical data, both parties have had a hand in the current economical situation-both good and bad.
Facts about politics and Santa Clara County economy:
–December 2000, the NASDAQ dropped by more than 50% –below 2,500 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
— Santa Clara County’s unemployment rate was 3% percent in January 2001(BLS)
–End of 2001 unemployment rate in Santa Clara County was 7% (BLS)
–August 2010 reports Santa Clara County unemployment rate at near 13%
— By 2004 high-tech employment rebounds in the Silicon Valley
–By 2008, industries such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, and scientific research added enough jobs to exceed “pre-recession employment levels,” according to the BLS.
–In the first quarter report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Santa Clara County saw an 8.7% increase in average weekly wages (BLS).
— Average weekly wages for the nation increased by only 0.8% in the first quarter of 2010 (BLS)
— Manufacturing saw the greatest “over-the-year decline in average weekly wages at a minus 58.2%,” according to the BLS.
–In 1998-2003 Gray Davis, Democrat, was governor.
–In 2003 to present-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican replaced Davis after recall.
–Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat from 1997 to present
–Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat from 1992 to present
–1993-2001 President Bill Clinton, Democrat
–2001-2009 President George Bush Jr., Republican
–2009-present President Barak Obama, Democrat
As we go to the polls, what is the main issue? The issues. As we can see from history, who is in office, and what they personally stand for may be more important than the party they serve.
To blindly vote a straight party line may no longer be the best approach to politics in 2010. Perhaps the things that keep our area strong, things such as innovation and future thinking towards new horizons like clean energy, stronger education, new manufacturing jobs in green industry, and biotech, might be the next wave of economic recovery for the Silicon Valley.
In the words of President Bill Clinton, “Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world but the engine of our own renewal. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” This is a year to focus on what is right and get the engine moving.