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: John Laird.

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?

If a majority of constituents in each city are willing to take on these extra burdens, then I do not oppose them, however, I do believe they should have sunset dates.

Which Senate committee has the biggest impact on our region and why?

The Committees on Energy, Utilities and Communication and the Elections. The former affected the future of Diablo Canyon with economic impacts on the region and energy repercussions for the state. The latter oversaw redistricting which skewed representation up the Coast.

Do you think the state government is doing enough to support infrastructure in our region? If not, what would you do to change it?

No, I think in the name of “not increasing highway capacity” the state has withheld important SB 1 funds for several major infrastructure projects, including the Highway 41 – 46 corridor and Highway 227. In addition to protecting public safety, the state should recognize that these projects would significantly relieve congestion which in turn would decrease greenhouse gas emissions from our roads. 

Rank the issues in order of importance for our city:

If elected, what will you do to address the issue you identified above as most significant?

Overall, I would streamline regulations to focus on long-term economic development. I would repeal AB 5 and prioritize legislation that supports small business creation and brings head-of-household jobs to our region. My children depend on head of household jobs and affordable housing to live in this region and I want to make sure everyone has that opportunity. 

I would ask tough questions about how effective taxpayer-funded services are and cut programs that are ineffective. Lastly, I would support homelessness hubs with resources for mental health and social services to help people live healthy and productive lives.

Is there something the state is not currently doing to address impacts of COVID-19 that you would take up if elected?

Yes, I would focus first on accurate data collection and analysis to build trust and transparency with the public on COVID-19 guidelines. Seeing the state lose data and change the standards for public health, ruptured public trust and jeopardized adherence to state guidelines. I would work to establish that trust and transparency, first.

What is the most significant difference between you and your opponent?

My opponent is a career politician with more than 80% of his lifetime funding coming from Sacramento zip codes. I am not a career politician, I have held different private sector jobs, and my funding comes primarily from our district. I am focused on generating revenue and long-term economic sustainability for our region, not political platforms. 

Do you support any housing legislation currently under consideration at the state level? If so, which bills are you most in favor of?

I followed SB 50 but had concerns about how it would override local planning. SB899 was a creative and innovative possible solution as well. I believe we need some streamlined planning to combat deep-seated NIMBYism and to increase our workforce housing stock, without forcing a one-size fits all plan on all 58 counties. 

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 + Dreamers

I believe the “Doers and Dreamers” portion will play an outsized role in determining the sustainability and affordability of SLO in the next few years. The emphasis on leveraging local resources, human and otherwise, to meet challenges in the future, is the key to long-term economic growth and sustainability. I also believe “Love of Place” will help ensure that SLO is an attractive location as many industries shift into virtual work. From housing stock to streamlined architectural review, this will be critical, too.

What are you most proud of having contributed to our community in the past 10 years?

As a member of the Civil Grand Jury for two terms, I helped investigate claims of government corruption and mismanagement and spoke against government systems on behalf of businesses, families, and taxpayers. I am proud of the work we did, working with other citizen members across political lines, to ask tough questions and work towards solutions in our region.