With the election tomorrow, this post is dedicated to short overviews of several candidates in the 36th State Senate race. The information is from a candidate forum held last week at the Elks Lodge in El Cajon, sponsored by the San Diego East County Chambers of Commerce. Attending the forum were Senate candidates Paul Clay (D), Greg Stephens (R), and Jeff Stone (R). Senate candidate Joel Anderson (R) did send a representative, explaining that he was unable to attend due to his duties as Assembly Member, but the representative was not allowed to participate in the question-and-answer session because of objections by one of his opponents. Assembly candidates Mark Hanson (D), Brian Jones (R), Christine Rubin (R), and Bill Wells (R) were also present, however I do not have time to include information on them.
During the forum there were a number of questions posed by those attending. The first question was on how each candidate would deal with the current state budget crisis. The second question dealt with the Sunrise Power Link and specifically the plan to run it through Alpine. The third question was on AB32, the state’s Global Warming statute. The fourth question covered candidate views on same-sex marriage. Question five was about the Arizona immigration law and how they would deal with illegal immigration. The sixth question was on improving public education in California. Question seven was a combination of two audience questions and dealt with bringing new money and jobs to the state. The eighth question was about the influence of public employee unions on the state. The final question was on the idea of a part-time legislation. Each of the candidate overviews will highlight some of the answers that were provided.
36th State Senate
Paul Clay (Democrat) is a teacher from Murietta and the only Democrat on the ballot. Clay believes there is a need to reach common ground in politics and is concerned with school financing and school safety. He opposes the idea of a part-time legislation and the idea of cutting legislature pay if a balanced budget is not passed, although he would consider cutting per-diem pay. On Sunrise, he doesn’t think there is a need for a power line and that generators could be installed locally with little loss of efficiency. Clay supports AB32 and considers it a job-creator, in contrast to the Republican candidates, and considers it similar to the call for catalytic converters on autos several decades ago. On education he believes there is a great deal of waste in schools, and that the focus needs to be on smaller classrooms, Head Start, and making schools a safe, wholesome place for kids.
Greg Stephens (Republican) is a pastor from Poway in his first run for elected office. He is a veteran of Desert Storm and was a first responder at the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Stephens believes in the idea of a part-time legislature for both accountability and budget purposes, feeling that members currently spend too much time and money on their next election. He also believes that the state has too many layers of regulations, which increases the size of the bureaucracy and stifles business growth, and feels that unions have helped to make the state less business-friendly. Stephens opposes the Sunrise Power Link, feeling all of the testing needed has not been done, and also opposes AB32 because it will increase power rates. As a pastor, and personally, he believes in the idea of marriage as “one man and one woman,” and would add “for a lifetime” if it were his choice.
Jeff Stone (Republican) is a county supervisor from Riverside County and a long-time pharmacist who got tired of watching the way government was run. Stone is a strong supporter of the idea of penalizing the legislature for not passing a balanced budget on time, and supports a part-time legislature. He also supports a strong move against illegal immigration, similar to Arizona’s law. Stone would also like to see less government regulation and taxes, and less influence by the unions, in order to help return the state to a business-friendly status. On education, he would like to take the state Education Code and “burn it,” as well as get rid of unfunded mandates that the state places on local districts. He is proud of the fact that he has experience writing and passing legislation.