by Jason Jackson
The week before last the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) recognized Kathleen Hedberg of the Helix Water Disrict Board with its highest honor, the Thomas Paine Liberty Torchbearer Award. The RLC is a conservative group that works within the Republican Party to promote the ideals of limited government, low taxes, and free markets. The group recognizes candidates and office holders that best govern according to those principles.
Hedberg, whose record has previously been celebrated on Rostra pages, embodies those principles and serves as a great example to other office holders on special district boards for resisting pressure to increase the size, scope, power, and cost of government at the local level. Among the achievements that make Hedberg’s record so noteworthy are votes against rate increases in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, opposition to the renegotiation of the El Capitan lease that has led to over $1.6M in taxpayer liability, and her work this past year to parlay unexpected budget savings into a nearly 2 percent rate reduction for Helix customers.
Hedberg, reelected in November to a third term with 63 percent of the vote, professes to not be particularly ideological. In remarks to the Caucus after receiving the Thomas Paine Award, Hedberg said, “I just believe in good government and transparency. People deserve to know what their water board is doing, and times are hard enough as it is that we shouldn’t be raising people’s rates unless we have a really good reason, and never without a public debate.” Hedberg’s insistence on transparency has at times earned her the enmity of her fellow board members, but her courage and steadfast adherence to principle in the face of that opposition has earned her many more admirers including the RLC.
Hedberg joins other esteemed local office holders in receiving the award, including Senator Joel Anderson, San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman, and Vista City Councilwoman Amanda Young Rigby.
Jason Jackson is a political activist and serves as Vice Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of San Diego. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a veteran of the War on Terrorism, earning the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, and numerous campaign and unit citations for his service in the conflict. He has a master’s degree in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, CA.