Dawn Ortiz-Legg’s election story

October 27, 2016
Dawn Ortiz-Legg

Dawn Ortiz-Legg

Special to CCN by Kaylee Bingham Zaccone

Dawn Ortiz-Legg, the Democratic candidate for the 35th District Assembly, says that the biggest issues San Luis Obispo County is facing right now are water, infrastructure and education.

There has been some rivalry between Ortiz-Legg and her Republican opponent Jordan Cunningham. They have very different stances on most social and political issues, ranging from women’s reproductive rights to immigration. The election has been full of attacks on either side. Cunningham’s campaign says that Ortiz-Legg’s involvement with Code Pink, an activist group that protests the war in the Middle East, makes her unfit to be in office as she doesn’t respect veterans.

Ortiz-Legg says that is simply untrue and her involvement in Code Pink has been blown out of proportion. She says that Code Pink is not anti-veteran, it is anti-war. Code Pink started

as a group of women who were concerned about their loved ones going into a violent war. Code Pink wanted peace and they believed the United States needed a softer, “more feminine” response

than going to the Middle East and seeking revenge. She denies that she or the local chapter of Code Pink have engaged in any disrespectful protests against veterans.

Ortiz-Legg has always been active in the political world. She moved to the area in 1992 and has been knocking on doors for other candidates to help spread awareness before elections. She then decided to take a hiatus from her job in the solar industry and go back to school to get her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins in international public policy.

“I started to shift to policy from politics because I wanted to do something on a professional level. So, I got my masters and have been working on utility scale solar, which is a power plant made up of solar panels,” Ortiz-Legg said.

However, that still wasn’t enough for her. She wanted to make bigger changes. Last year, a group called Close the Gap California came to the area. They were looking for viable women candidates to fill open seats in the assembly and the 35th District happens to be an open seat this year.

“The reason they look for female candidates is because there is a lack of women in legislature, so while we females make up 60 percent of the population, we have less than 25 percent of the representation,” Ortiz-Legg said.

Her name ended up coming back as a viable option and she decided that now that her children were grown, this was the time to take a shot and run. She says she knows she is the candidate that will get things done.

With Lopez Lake, the water storage lake for San Luis Obispo County being at 23.4 percent capacity and continuing to decline rapidly, water is the main concern for most SLO County residents. Lopez Lake supplies drinking water to thousands of residents in the county and if the area doesn’t receive significant rainfall soon, it could be completely depleted in the next couple of years.

Ortiz-Legg will fall back on her skills that she gained working in the solar industry to bring solutions to the table to solve the water issue.

“There are many facets to solving the water problem. But in that subject matter, one of my skill sets comes into place, and that is collaboration. It takes collaboration to work together and find solutions, as well as to bring home resources to build the kind of storage and other water saving/generating solutions we may have available to us,” Ortiz-Legg said.

She plans to also work on infrastructure, which is entwined with the drought issue. Investing in infrastructure is a big deal to her because it will help build more water storage that this county so desperately needs.

Education is the other hot topic in the 35th District. California school systems need more money to attract better teachers and professors and stop pricing out the middle class students from their education.

Proposition 55, an extension of Proposition 30, would extend the personal income tax on people with incomes over $250,000. The extra income would be put towards healthcare and education. About 89 percent of the revenue from the tax increase would be put into K-12 schools and the remaining 11 percent would be put into state community colleges. An additional $2 billion would be set aside for certain years to be given to Medi-Cal, as well as other health programs. It is on the ballot this November and according to Ortiz-Legg, it will offer a steady stream of money into schools.

“What I know about education is this, the educators know what to do, they don’t need to be told how to teach anymore. What they need is a consistent revenue source. In regards to

Cal Poly, I think the professors work very hard and their compensation needs to be addressed and in order for students to graduate on time, we need more professors,” Ortiz-Legg said.

She said that schools at every level need to support and value their teachers to keep teachers, especially in the technological fields. If they are not valued enough here, they will be snagged away to other schools that will value them more.

All of these issues in the district, the largest is jobs. With the drought and without proper infrastructure, farmers and other professions that rely on water are struggling. With the high cost of education and the professors not being valued enough, SLO County may be losing out on skilled professionals that could create more jobs in the area.

After the closure of Diablo Canyon in the next eight to nine years, the area will lose about 1,500 jobs. This is a university area that should have the ability to push out highly trained and skilled professionals, but they need a job to go to. This may cause a lot of skilled professionals to leave the area leading to a loss of local revenue.

Ortiz-Legg has a history in creating jobs in the solar power industry and is credited with helping to create over 400 jobs, add over $425 million in benefits to local businesses and provide enough energy to power 180,000 California homes annually with Topaz Solar Farms, she said.

Ortiz-Legg says if she were to be elected, creating jobs will be her main focus. She will push for what the voters want and she will stand by her slogan.

“Working together, creating jobs.”

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Anyone who has heard the two candidates speak should have no trouble deciding who is the best qualified and who will represent our District the best: it’s Jordan Cunningham. He’s intelligent, articulate, an attorney who has actually worked both sides, prosecution and defense, and who understands what it’s like to run a small law practice. It means making payroll, paying employees, paying employment taxes and insurance, rent, etc. and working hard to win a case or produce a product.

Dawn Legg was a PR person for Topaz solar farm. She did a good job at giving tours, explaining the plant, etc. But we need someone who can go beyond talking points, who understands the law, and who can truly represent us and not just go along with the party line. We have enough Democrats in Sacramento already. Some of us don’t buy into their liberal line of higher taxes, more government programs, etc. Don’t we deserve representation, too?

Lastly I find it laughable that a Democrat would fault a defense lawyer for defending clients charged in criminal cases, just because he has an R behind his name. If he were a Democrat I doubt she would howl about it! Guess being a Republican and caring for the poor is not politically correct!

Ladies & Gentlemen,

As they say, you are either part of the solution, or part of the problem.

Dawn Ortiz-Legg is clearly part of the problem.

Just saying,


“Women’s reproductive rights” – to my knowledge, no one has ever denied a woman her right to reproduce. In fact, many are doing it in spades!

I believe the candidates’ differences are with their beliefs of a mother’s legal ability to kill her own baby before it comes to term, let’s not mix words.

Oh Dawn. Where are the 400 jobs you helped create? Only 20 remain. And most of the temporary jobs were filled by people who didn’t live in the county and still don’t. And by the way, the solar plant created the jobs. You were a contract employee hired to lobby and advertise.

True, but if she lobbied to get this turd up and running to scam tax-payer dollars, then I believe it is a technicality that she did help create the jobs, however temporary and out-of-area the employees became.

I think neo-environmentalists have their hearts in the right places, its just they cannot see the forest for the trees many times, and are “guilted” into supporting a massive redistribution of wealth via a sweet back-room political deal that is disguised as something to “save the planet” (as if).

I prefer the true environmentalist: the conservative. Conserve waters, waste and consumption. “Live simply so others may simply live” and all that. Not, “let’s force this turkey on everyone by bribing just enough people in just enough places” kind of thing (like the solar parking covers at all of SLO’s schools); that is just stupidity that I expect from people with an “Ed.D” after their name.