Why Am I Running?
April 2, 2012
Why me? I ask myself this every few days when I wake up in the morning. I am almost sixty-six years old and have never held a public office, although I have been a homeowners’ association president and a college club president. I am always reminded, however, when I read the morning paper what a mess this state is in. Something has to be done, and by somebody.
Of course, it is not like I am new to politics. I have a degree in political science and have been an activist ever since my University San Diego State days. I have been part of a lot of campaigns, been paid staff in two of them, and been on the executive committee of the Sierra Club. Still, in the places where I have lived — Chicago and Santa Barbara – there were always plenty of people to do the running.
Unlike those places, however, my new home – Paso Robles and its Assembly district – is predominantly Republican. This year nobody else wanted to try to repeat what, in the recent past, have been failed efforts to win here. After making a case with the Democrats that we should run somebody to challenge K.H. Achadjian this year, I soon found myself being the somebody.
I jumped in for the following reasons. The state is in terrible fiscal shape, as is the nation. Polls are showing that the public is blaming the Republicans more than the Democrats for this. As a result, Democratic registration is increasing in the state. That still wouldn’t have been enough for me except that our Assembly person is such an extremist. That is becoming the norm with his party.
The Republican leadership has become blatant about its party being about money and power and concentrating it in as few hands as possible (the 1 percent). Mr. Achadjian’s voting record on the environment, consumer rights and labor, like that of his comrades in Congress, is awful.
The following can sum this up:
Mr. Achadjian received only a 35 percent rating from the California League of Conservation voters for his votes in the Assembly on environmental issues.
He received a composite score of only 31.6 percent from the Sierra Club for his votes on the environment while on the Coastal Commission.
He received only a 23 percent rating from the Consumer Federation of California for his voting on consumer affairs in the Assembly. This includes his no vote to ban BPA from baby bottles or cups (AB1319) and his vote against authorizing state insurance regulators to approve, deny or modify any proposed rate of change by a health insurance provider (AB52).
He received a zero percent rating from the California Federation of Labor on his votes in the Assembly on legislation benefiting working people. Just two examples include denying family care workers the right to organize (AB101) and denying overtime pay and good working conditions to domestic workers (AB 889).
He also has signed the Grover Norquist no-tax pledge, a fiscal solution that can only benefit the rich. At budget time, this will mean more cuts for schools, police, firefighters, and many hard working citizens.
We workers, students, middle-class Americans, small business owners, the poor and disabled have taken a real hit in the last few years. Mr. Achadjian’s solution seems to be that the same groups should suffer even more.
If voters are tired of this, they need to have an alternative. As a member of the Assembly, I would represent the majority of us, the now famous 99 percent of us.
I will support a combination of cuts and tax hikes that are as fair as possible to balance our budgets, foster an economy of “green jobs” that don’t destroy our health and climate, leave a safety net for those who – through no fault of their own – need one, and restore our schools. When our children grow up, I would like them to be able to thank us for leaving behind a state that is prosperous, healthy and practicing democratic values, not one that is in a shambles and run by a wealthy few.
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (805) 238-3669.