In a year marked by widespread concern about drought, inflation, and California’s economic divide, state and local leaders continued to work toward an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The midterm elections ushered in a number of new state legislators and put California in the national spotlight, with several competitive congressional races helping determine control of the US House.
Political divisiveness and conflict continue to heighten the challenges facing our state. In this context, PPIC’s nonpartisan, objective, and rigorous research—and its commitment to constructive, respectful dialogue—is more essential than ever. Through our website and our outreach to leaders and stakeholders across the political spectrum, we are providing key facts and insights that have informed solution-oriented policies in a range of areas.
- California’s economy. As Californians try to make sense of uncertain economic conditions, PPIC has focused on explaining trends and identifying policy options. Through events, data storytelling, and blog posts, our experts have provided timely information to a broad audience, with the aim of helping decision makers chart a course through turbulent times.
- 2022 election. As the midterms took center stage, the PPIC Statewide Survey provided essential information on the views of California’s voters. Blog posts on the initiative process provided additional insight into Californians’ support for this controversial tool of direct democracy.
- Climate realities. As the impact of climate change deepens, PPIC is providing data and information aimed at protecting people and the environment from its most serious effects. Our research this year focused on managing the effects of drought on agriculture, storing water for the environment, and planning for land transitions in the San Joaquin Valley.
- Education and COVID-19. The pandemic has reshaped all levels of education in California. PPIC has provided critical information on COVID-19’s uneven impact, with a particular focus on the digital divide, declining enrollment, and efficient and equitable funding deployment. High-profile events spotlighted issues affecting students across the state—from mental health challenges to food and housing insufficiency to childcare and preschool access—and explored policy solutions.
We are reaching our audiences with a wide range of content—from in-depth reports to policy briefs, blog posts, and data-rich interactives. Our social media presence has grown over the past year, and our virtual events have attracted large audiences. Some of this programming focused on new research findings in a range of areas—including the importance of the social safety net, reforms to remedial education across the community college system, and key takeaways from PPIC Statewide Surveys. Other events featured a diverse group of leaders and experts at the national, state, and local levels discussing homelessness, racial disparities in law enforcement, and recent investments in infrastructure.
Through fact-based analysis and wide-ranging conversations with experts and leaders, PPIC has helped identify sustainable, equity-centered approaches to an array of challenges. Our work continues to inform policymaking in Sacramento. The legislature regularly invites PPIC researchers to provide testimony, and PPIC was cited in the bill text or analysis of 157 bills during the 2021–22 legislative session, 69 of which were signed into law. Our research has also supported the efforts of stakeholders across the state—from higher education leaders to water agencies.
Like the state legislature, PPIC will enter the new year with new leadership: we are excited to welcome Tani Cantil-Sakauye as our new President and Chief Executive Officer as of January 1, 2023. I will continue as Survey Director and the Arjay and Frances Miller Chair in Public Policy at PPIC. I look forward to our work together to help build a brighter future for the Golden State.