We asked each candidate to answer a few questions so that you can know a little more about their priorities. See the response from the other candidate: Dawn Addis.
This year, voters in the majority of SLO County cities will have the chance to enact sales taxes that would support long term community and economic health; do you support any of these sales taxes? Why or why not?
I have a four-year record of fighting against tax increases in the Legislature. Our tax burden is high enough. I generally do not take positions on local initiatives, because I trust the residents of that locality to make the decision.
Which Assembly committee has the biggest impact on our region and why?
The Utilities and Energy Committee’s jurisdiction over Diablo Canyon is important to our regional economy. SB 1090 secured millions in workforce development and retention funds to mitigate the closing Diablo Canyon. I’ve also fought to save career technical education funding to provide head-of-household job opportunities.
Do you think the state government is doing enough to support infrastructure in our region? If not, what would you do to change it?
The state has failed in addressing the housing and affordability crisis. The Central Coast needs an increase in housing supply, which means incentivizing new development without adding extraneous fees. We also need to invest in large scale energy storage.
Rank the issues in order of importance for our city:
All of the issues below are a tie for most important.
If elected, what will you do to address the issue you identified above as most significant?
I fight every day for every resident on the Central Coast. The reality is that we need to tackle all of these issues simultaneously. My main areas of focus have been, and will continue to be: bringing more high paying jobs to our region, investing in infrastructure, rational public safety policy, increasing our housing supply, cutting unnecessary government regulation and ensuring government accountability, expanding health care access, and building the energy infrastructure we need to address climate change. I
would add fighting for our small businesses to this list, because they need help particularly now.
Is there something the state is not currently doing to address impacts of COVID-19 that you would take up if elected?
COVID-19 has shown how unprepared our state is to handle the requests of Californians in need. The dysfunctional EDD has created a backlog of unemployment claims, resulting in thousands facing uncertainty in their ability to pay rent or put food on the table. My office has helped process nearly 4,000 claims from Central Coast residents who are out of work and desperate for help. Now residents cannot apply for claims for two weeks. California should lead technologically but the state is failing residents when they need our government the most. We also need to continue to help our small businesses survive this pandemic.
What is the most significant difference between you and your opponent?
I’ve prided myself in representing the diverse needs, industries and communities of the Central Coast with an independent voice, looking past party lines to solve our most critical issues. With my background as a small-businessman, I have a unique blend of both private and public sector experience that has allowed me to modernize our public services and hold bureaucracies accountable.
My opponent also supports Prop 15 – a $12 billion annual property tax increase that will mostly be passed onto small business owners. If passed, this enormous tax increase will decimate our already shaky small business community, as well as make it even harder to get businesses to relocate to (or stay in) California.
Do you support any housing legislation currently under consideration at the state level? If so, which bills are you most in favor of?
If we are to grow the Central Coast economy, we need the housing to accommodate growth. With the average cost of a home above $600k, housing costs are pushing out local families and making it difficult to attract business investment.
I was proud to support a number of bills to help increase our housing supply. I voted for SB 1120, which would allow for the building of more duplexes and ADU’s, and have supported a number of past bills to increase the supply of granny units. I also believe that housing projects should have an expedited path through the state’s onerous regulatory process.
Which theme in the Chamber’s economic vision, Imagine SLO, do you think deserves the most focus in the next four years and why?
Doers and Dreamers. There is no doubt the 35th District is the best district in the country. In order to keep it the best we need to continue fostering economic opportunities, tap into emerging industries and bring more job creators to the Central Coast. I’ve secured funding to fix the 41/46 Wye interchange to decrease the number of deaths in our community. I’ll keep working to create jobs that can provide for a family. I’ve already led the charge to continue state investment in career technical education programs across California and see the potential to augment local community colleges to train workers for specialized careers.
What are you most proud of having contributed to our community in the past 10 years?
As a father of four and former Deputy District Attorney for San Luis Obispo County, I hold public safety and a strong community to the utmost importance. Throughout my service in the Assembly, I have passed bills combatting human trafficking, increasing protections for victims, while making it easier to find and prosecute traffickers. At the same time, I’ve carried legislation that strengthens and builds integrity within law
enforcement by increasing transparency and holding bad actors accountable. I’ve also successfully passed legislation to lessen the impact of Diablo Canyon’s closure on our community, as mentioned, and fully fund career technical education.