Michelle Steel A Proven Record of Fighting for Orange County
Advocating for Taxpayers
- Throughout her career, Michelle has consistently opposed new taxes – including gas taxes, a proposed mileage tax, split roll taxes, and recording taxes for government housing, and has consistently defended Proposition 13.
- On the Board of Supervisors, Michelle introduced a County Charter amendment that makes it harder for the county to increase taxes on residents, which unanimously passed the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
- As Chairwoman, Michelle contracted a study with Chapman University on the current economic climate and trends in Orange County in order to work with local county leaders to create a better future. The study helps recognize roadblocks and clears the way to creating a more business friendly environment that will directly correspond to creating a lower cost of living for our residents.
- While Michelle served on the California State Board of Equalization, security deposit refunds were delayed and a top-down review was ordered, which resulted in over $42 million to more than 5,500 small business owners being returned. More than $400 million in security deposits have been returned to taxpayers on time.
Modernizing Our Infrastructure
- Michelle has supported the Senior Mobility Program (SMP), designed to fill the gap between local fixed-route buses and ADA paratransit, or ACCESS service, by providing local transportation services to seniors in participating cities in Orange County.
- Michelle opposed adding toll roads to the 405, which increase the cost to travel on the freeway and limit free lanes for all commuters.
- During her first year as a Supervisor, Michelle initiated the permit process to allow services like Lyft, Uber, and Wingz to begin operating at John Wayne Airport, ensuring a free and fair market for these providers and ensures a safe environment for passengers.
- Michelle supported widening the 405, 5, and 55 freeways and improvements on the 91, 605, and 22 freeways, to reduce congestion and ease traffic for Orange County residents.
- Michelle supported Senior Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (SNEMT) Program provides transportation to older adults who are in need of low-cost transportation to and from medical appointments, dentists, therapies, exercise programs, testing and other health related trips.
- As Vice-Chairwoman, Michelle passed the Fare Stabilization Program, which provides fare discounts for seniors and persons with disabilities to stabilize and help with the cost of riding transit.
- Michelle has supported infrastructure projects to improve flood channels and dams, and to increase flood protection, which have already led to reduced flood insurance rates for County residents, and will eventually lead to the elimination of federal flood insurance requirements once the county achieves 100-year flood protection.
Addressing the Homelessness Crisis
- To address the homelessness crisis, Michelle voted for new homeless shelters for Orange County and employment training services for the homeless, and to allow law enforcement to preserve order on the streets by removing encampments and directing the homeless to services.
- Michelle has consistently supported housing development in Orange County, and voiced her support for CEQA reform.
Protecting Our Communities
- Violent crimes and property crimes dropped in the Second District during Michelles’s first term on the Orange County Board of Supervisors (2015-2018).
- Michelle has hosted an annual wetlands clean-up at the Bolsa Chica Conservancy, and has supported beach clean-ups to help preserve the environment.
Improving Public Health
- Throughout her career, Michelle has been a major advocate for services for those suffering mental health crises. Michelle helped enact the first-of-its-kind Be Well OC mental services hub, a public-private partnership to provide mental health supportive services to all Orange County residents, and Crisis Stabilization Units to help those suffering mental health crises get appropriate care adjacent to emergency rooms.
- Through a resolution and legal action, Michelle uncovered that the Orange County Needle Exchange Program did not have sufficient staff and capacity to provide required services, nor did it adequately provide for the safe recovery and disposal of used syringes. Prior to this ruling the state had ignored the pleas of local leaders and had not only brought back the needle exchange to Orange County, but expanded it.
- While serving on the CalOptima Board of Directors, Michelle worked to secure $100 million for homeless health programs to secure coverage and service for at-risk residents. The program places mobile teams of doctors and medical assistants in the community to provide urgent care services.
- Michelle also helped expand CalOptima’s programs for seniors by enabling a partnership between the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly and select Community-Based Adult Services centers.
- Michelle led the board in expanding children’s dental services by splitting funding to provide the most access to services for children in need of the services.
- In 2019, Michelle helped CalOptima put together the 2020 launch of the Health Homes Program, which expands services to those with physical health or mental health conditions.
Supporting Our Veterans
- In her first term, Michelle opened a Satellite Veterans Service office at Joint Forces Training Base-Los Alamitos to help Veterans access services such as benefits, disability pension claims, and counseling.
- Michelle has also supported and will continue to support veteran housing vouchers and other transitional housing services to help those in need get a helping hand to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.
- Supervisor Steel’s Annual Hiring Fair has been the largest hiring fair in Orange County for the past two years, and each has brought more than 4,000 jobseekers to meet with over 130 companies and government agencies to look for employment and get help on resume and interview skills. These Hiring Fairs also include specialized Veteran registration to provide veterans with opportunities to find good jobs.
Delivering During COVID-19
- When Orange County reported its first case of COVID-19 on January 25, 2020, Michelle set up a reporting system to inform residents of updates and prioritize residents’ wellbeing.
- As COVID-19 just began to spread, Michelle ensured Orange County was prepared and fought for the safety of the community by minimizing the initial spread.
- Michelle coordinated responses to assist the elderly, homeless, and low-income families along with providing financial relief to unemployed individuals and struggling businesses. Michelle also requested PPE for law enforcement and public health employees along with assigning medical teams to homeless shelters.
- On February 25, Orange County became one of the first areas to declare a state of emergency over COVID-19. The declaration, made when there were no known cases in Orange County, allowed the county to consolidate resources before a wider spread so no hospitals would be overrun.
- On March 2, Michelle mobilized the County Healthcare Agency to train employees and prepare equipment before the virus spread to Orange County.
- Soon thereafter, Michelle held a preparation meeting with all Orange County stakeholders to prepare the community and institute a clear plan.
- Michelle led the effort to secure increased and rapid testing for Orange County.
- As COVID-19 persisted throughout the summer, Michelle ensured a nimble response that put residents’ lives above anything else.
- In August, Michelle worked with CalOptima’s PACE program to better serve Orange County’s elderly population.
- Understanding the economic strain of COVID-19, Michelle worked with the County Tax Collector to review late penalties and fees for property owners if COVID-19 prevented individuals from paying property taxes.
- As Orange County weathered the crisis, Michelle worked with local businesses to anticipate how our economy would safely reopen.
- Michelle ensured that any reopening plan focused on safety precautions.
- Michelle made sure any COVID-19 updates and precautions were based in science and took the lead from local healthcare professionals to put in place an effective plan.
- Michelle secured desperately-needed money for local businesses to help them weather the crises and reduce the effects of unemployment.
- In August, Michelle worked with local restaurants to ensure they could get back to business safely and follow critical precautions to slow the spread while getting our economy moving again.