This past week we have seen what will happen if we allow the professional political class to continue to run Washington: Nothing.

On Friday Congress failed to pass a key component of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a bi-partisan trade bill that is important to the hard working families of California.

Almost one out of every 10 dollars of the California economy ($174 billion) comes from trade. In fact, over 40% of California’s exports go to Asia-Pacific, the area covered by the TPP.  California’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency has said “International trade and investment is a major economic engine for the state of California that broadly benefits businesses, communities, consumers and state government.”

Ms. Harris and Ms. Sanchez, two announced candidates for the 2016 US Senate race, oppose TPP. They say they oppose TPP is because it does not protect workers. President Obama and Senator Feinstein disagrees. On ABC This Week, May 17, 2015, Senator Feinstein said TPP had many provisions to protect workers and that it would help create “upwardly mobile jobs” here in the US.

Senator Feinstein is correct. Trade related jobs pay 16% more than the average job, with the average dock worker in California making well over $100,000 per year.  We should be fighting for these jobs, not against them.

Silicon Valley and Hollywood are known throughout the world for their innovation and creativity. However, under current rules, their creations are not adequately protected overseas, costing them and us billions of dollars. TPP adds significant protections to these critical California industries.

TPP also has important national security implications. If we have learned anything from recent events in the Middle East, it is the importance of stability. Today we have important military obligations in Japan, Korea and the Philippines. If we are looking for alternatives to military intervention, we could do far worse than creating a web of interdependent nations based on common economic interests.

In terms of the environment and protecting the rights of workers, especially children and women, America has been a leader. But to lead, you have to be at the table. If we are not at the table, other countries such as China will be setting our international environmental and workers’ rights rules without our input. Is that really what we want?

California deserves leaders who look beyond partisanship and personal ambition to the national security requirements of our country and the needs of our hard working women and men.   We need to come together to ease the squeeze on working families, to provide our children with a 21st Century education and ensure every family has access to clean and reliable drinking water.

It starts with electing leaders who are committed to ending the gridlock in Washington; not pouring cement on it.  It starts with us.  It starts with TPP.