California Assembly Member David Hadley (R-Torrance) has been on the job for less than a year but that hasn’t stopped him from immersing himself in the issues, including higher education, which he took a closer look at during his first visit to the UCLA campus since being elected in November 2014.
The 50-year-old small business owner said he hadn’t run for office since the seventh grade, making his path to Sacramento an “unusual” one. He said he found himself worried about the next generation, including his own four children — especially in California where he believes the state has lost itself as a “place of opportunity”.
“I’m here to bring common sense and political balance to Sacramento,” he said while chatting on the afternoon of Aug. 5 to an intimate group at the UCLA Faculty Center.
Sandwiched between meetings with Vice Chancellors Steven A. Olsen (Finance, Budget and Capital Programs) and Dr. James S. Economou (Research), Hadley met with a room full of UCLA representatives — including members of the Bruin Republicans, UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council and faculty members representing education, intellectual property, transportation and research efforts.
Hadley founded his business in 1999, Hadley Partners, Incorporated (HPi), which is a financial advisory firm that specializes in representing entrepreneurial and family-owned businesses in the financing or sale of their companies.
Regarding that subject, Brian Shedd, technology transfer officer in the Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research, gave a packet presentation emphasizing to the Assembly Member the university’s ambitions of converting research into commercial possibilities. He noted that his office has helped launch 20 new startup companies a year, which puts UCLA near the top nationally.
“We don’t just do discovery for the sake of discovery,” Government & Community Relations Assistant Vice Chancellor Keith Parker added. “ We want application.”
Sue Fuhs, project manager of the Grand Challenge on depression (with a goal of cutting the burden of depression in half by 2050 and eliminating it by the end of the century), also explained her project and the benefit of UCLA’s ambitions with all the Grand Challenge initiatives.
Professor Marty Wachs, Department of Urban Planning, noted he hoped Hadley would be more open to building relationships with the research community.
Hadley said that with the new term limit rules (12 total years allowed in state office), that it was more likely an Assembly Member would stay put, allowing for greater relationship-building.
Hadley said that the biggest issue to him, so far, is the issue of water, and finding ways that the legislature can impact drought conditions — something only Governor Jerry Brown has influenced thus far. Hadley said the legislature should consider measures that could grow the state’s water supply.
“To my dissatisfaction, there has been no legislation on water,” he said.
The military is also near to Hadley’s heart, with a nephew who has served and a son currently serving.
He outlined Assembly Bill 306, which would allow military families (specific example: those serving in the South Bay) to have greater control of where their children attend K-12 schools, eliminating a district’s ability to veto a student transfer.
Emily Ives, veterans program director at the Veterans Resource Office, noted numerous programs through UCLA and emphasized the outreach UCLA coordinates to let veterans know what kind of benefits they might receive through the University.
Others emphasized the brain injury research breakthroughs and mental health interventions developed on UCLA’s campus that help veterans overcome challenges, as well as the entrepreneurship bootcamp offered to veterans, capitalizing on the leadership skills they have already attained while serving.
Hadley emphasized the importance to not only focus on the challenges veterans face, but the tremendous assets veterans bring to our communities.
We couldn’t agree more.