40th Senate District Woman of the Year: Rhonda Hunt Phillips
The California State Legislature hosted its annual Woman of the Year ceremony on March 4 at the State Capitol in Sacramento as part of Women's History Month. The ceremony honors women of all ages, backgrounds and interests who are passionate and committed to empowering and improving their communities. Our office recognized Rhonda Hunt Phillips as 2019 Woman of the Year for the 40th Senate District.
Rhonda is a true role model and leader in our community. She currently serves as Deputy Director of the Naval Air Technical Data and Engineering Service Center (NATEC) Naval Air Systems Command, managing 400+ military service members, civilians and contractors at 18 sites worldwide.
Apart from her endless professional accolades, Rhonda is a strong voice in our community for diversity and women in leadership roles. She has been/is San Diego and Western Region Federally Employed Women (FEW) Inc. Diversity Chair; Blacks in Government (BIG) champion; and a member of the American Business Women's Association (ABWA), National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), California Leadership Council, and Society of Logistics Engineers (SOLE). She is also a member of the National Association for Female Executives and is listed in their 25th Anniversary Edition.
Rhonda was twice nominated for the San Diego Business Journal's "Women Who Mean Business," has been recognized by the California State Senate with a "Women in Government" award, and was saluted as "San Diego Military Spouse of the Year" winner, among numerous other city, state, and federal awards. She continues to be a national speaker, mentor, life coach and published author of technical competence for both federal and community-based organizations and the humanities, which include areas of motivation, innovation, diversity, women and leadership issues.
We are beyond grateful for everything that Rhonda Hunt Phillips has done, and continues to do, to strengthen our community here in the 40th Senate District. Please join me in congratulating Rhonda on this much-deserved award!
First Friday Chula Vista Chamber Breakfast
This month I had the opportunity to engage with local businesses and stakeholders by attending the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce's monthly First Friday Breakfast. The members of the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce are key contributors to the local economy and have helped foster growth of new business and commerce throughout the region. Their significant contributions to Chula Vista assist in employing more than 30,000 individuals within the region, and promote our regional economy and the diverse community it serves.
Barrio Station 49th Anniversary Benefit Dinner
Barrio Station plays a critical role in improving the Barrio Logan area every day. The organization offers programs that assist disadvantaged youth in avoiding negative lifestyles, revitalize neighborhoods, and empower families and senior citizens. I enjoyed celebrating their accomplishments at the 49th Anniversary Benefit Dinner earlier this month. The annual event honors local leaders whose contributions to society empower people and communities to reach their fullest potential. Congratulations to all of the honorees, and thanks to Barrio Station for 49 years of service to our community!
Peace Officers Workers' Compensation Legislation
Earlier this month, I joined officials from the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) at San Diego City College to announce the introduction of legislation to expand worker's compensation coverage to all peace officers for specific categories of injuries that are presumed to be work-related.
Current law creates presumptions where specific injuries or illnesses are logically work-related, but generally affords these presumptions to peace officers based upon their employing agency rather than their status and duties as peace officers. Peace officers who are not currently afforded these presumptions are required to use their personal leave time and health benefits while undergoing treatment and recovery for the specified injuries and illnesses. This puts them in much greater risk of being separated from employment when their personal leave is exhausted, and of losing their healthcare - placing them and their families in severe financial hardship and placing their very lives in peril. Additionally, the agencies employing these peace officers struggle with recruitment and retention of quality personnel because they can simply decide to work for another agency with which the protections would apply.
My bill, SB 416, would rectify current inequities by including all individuals defined as California peace officers under the specified provisions of law. Our state's peace officers work tirelessly to protect us and keep us safe - we owe it to these officers to, in turn, do what we can to protect them.