California Prop 14: Why you must vote ‘Yes’


Yuvraj Walia is a high schooler at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California, who wants to become a healthcare professional when he goes to college. The views expressed are his own.

Throughout my childhood, I have been inspired by countless doctors in the family, stories of doctors undergoing strenuous operations every day to save someone’s life, and the intrigue of science as a subject. Perhaps that is why I have developed a passion for medicine and the healthcare industry.

Recently, I have become an advocate for CA Proposition 14, a life-changing initiative that is a beacon of hope for many families affected with chronic illnesses.

Proposition 14 is an initiative dedicated to finding cures for deadly diseases. Backed by Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom, and other prominent organizations and individuals, it has plenty of support. But what exactly is Proposition 14?

In 2004, Californians overwhelmingly supported Proposition 71, which authorized $3-billion in bonds to fund a new, innovative initiative: stem cell research.

This proposition established the unbelievably important California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which encouraged cures for diseases that affect millions of people, such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Since then, we have certainly come a long way. There have been 90 clinical trials, thousands of medical discoveries, and even two new Food and Drug Administration-approved cancer drugs.

But the original funding has been exhausted, and CIRM’s work can no longer continue without more funds. That is where Proposition 14 comes in.

After gathering almost one million signatures, Proposition 14 is appearing on the ballot this November.

It will authorize another $5.5-billion, some of which will go towards finding a cure for Covid-19, to continue the amazing work of its predecessor. To revolutionize healthcare in the coming years, it is crucial that we vote YES.

Many respected individuals have already endorsed Proposition 14 — California Governor Gavin Newsom is among them. Others include Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Lieutenant Governor, Nobel laureates, and the Secretary of State. Over 80 organizations such as the California Democratic Party and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research also support it.

Although it is popular, one of the primary concerns regarding Proposition 14 are its economic effects. How will it impact the economy, especially at a time when we have just begun to recover from the pandemic?

Fear not: the bill is designed to ensure no financial harm; in fact, all signs point toward a positive impact on the economy!

Payments will begin in five years, far after the pandemic has gone. The bonds used to pay will be sold over another 10 years, making the entire process so drawn out that the average person will be paying just $5 a year.

Compared to the thousands of dollars that families are forced to pay for costly care with little success, it is safe to say that the life-changing stem cell research and cures that would come out of Proposition 14 are well worth it.

But there’s more: the hiring of new workers and purchasing of goods after Proposition 71 was passed resulted in $640 million in increased state revenue and 56,000 jobs in California alone. This stimulus is exactly what could help us recover from COVID, not hinder our efforts.

But, of course, the most obvious reason to vote YES on Proposition 14 (external link) is the cures it can create, the cures that can save the lives of thousands, perhaps even of someone you love. Nearly one in three Californians suffer from chronic diseases that Prop. 14 can create treatments for.

For someone that is affected by these diseases, a single treatment could change their entire life. In fact, it already has.

Just ask Jake Javier, who was recently paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident. Because of stem cell therapy (external link), he has already regained function in his arms and hands.

Or Rosie Barrero, a mother diagnosed with a genetic eye disorder (external link) that led to complete blindness. Now, thanks to CIRM and stem cells, she is able to see her children, make out her own handwriting, and look into her own mother’s eyes.

Proposition 14 is life-changing; there is no doubt about that. Its predecessor has proven itself with thousands of new discoveries and promising treatments. This is one of the largest reasons that I am so dedicated to the cause: it can help so many people in so many ways.

All we need to do is vote yes on Prop. 14 this November to ensure more funding for this initiative, at virtually no cost to an individual. There’s every reason to vote yes, so just do it.

Do it to save lives. Do it for someone you love.