Why You Should Care About Assembly District 71

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Guest Commentary
by Mike Harrison

I want to thank Brian Brady for his piece on my race for California State Assembly in District 71, making up East San Diego and Southern Riverside Counties.  I appreciate his question, and the answer is important to our party, our San Diego community and our state as a whole.  I agree with Brian, the next Assembly person from District 71 has more than an opportunity, but the specific responsibility to serve as both a leader and an ambassador of the GOP.  One of the most important ways to make a difference in Sacramento is by making a difference here at home and we can do this by helping bring in more Republicans to work against the hostile environment that exists not only in our state’s capital, but at all levels of government.

Before I provide my response to Brian’s specific question, let me preface with this point.  My absolute full focus and effort at this time is on winning this election.  It is tempting to disregard AD 71 because it has traditionally been a Republican seat.  Taking into consideration, however, the changes in the term-limit rules making this potentially a 12-year seat, the voters deserve to know that their next representative in the Assembly is ready to hit the ground running on Day One.  This includes proactively working on policy issues, being consistent in words and action in both Sacramento and the district, and being a strong GOP leader on which our party and its leadership can depend.  I meet those qualifications.

Having said that, Brian asked should I win in District 71, what would I specifically do to help a Republican win in the neighboring Assembly District 79; my approach is three-fold.  The first and probably most important step is to carry the GOP message to every part of our community, including those that are not traditionally Republican.  The reality of the districts Brian highlighted is that they are heavily Democrat in registration.  It is imperative that an investment be made in voter registration to change those numerical barriers.  Our Assembly members are well positioned to make that a priority and we need to actively work to broaden our appeal, not by compromising our principles but by committing to a sincere effort of dialogue with others on what we believe in as Republicans and why it is important.  I am encouraged when I see our Republican Women groups registering people to vote and promoting the GOP message at street fairs, community events and swearing-in ceremonies of new American citizens.  Far too often, however, these ladies are doing this important work alone.  Our elected officials have the responsibility to commit to this same effort.

It is for this reason that in the course of my campaign, I have taken advantage of opportunities to reach out to Latinos, Polish-Americans, Chaldean-Americans, Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Tea Party groups, small business groups, young students, the elderly, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, urban areas and rural backcountry communities.  If you look at the demographics of the areas in which I am running, you will notice that some of these groups do not make up a large part of the district population.  I understand this.  But our challenges in San Diego are region-wide and not confined to the East County in AD71. I am fully confident in the pro-freedom, less-government, common sense message we as Republicans have to offer and am committed to carrying it forward wherever I have the opportunity.

The second step is to actively recruit and mentor qualified candidates to run for available seats, not just for the Assembly, but at every level.  These individuals need to be fully prepared for the vigor of a competitive campaign.  These seats Brian specifically mentioned are not going to be easy to win from the Democrats and those who run for those seats need to understand this from the start and commit themselves to providing full effort.  Despite having over 20 years of public policy experience working for an elected official with both Congressman Duncan Hunters, one of the best investments I made was participating in the GOP Candidate Training course facilitated by our party leadership here in San Diego.  While not a participant, I have also been supportive of the Candidate Boot Camp Woody and Donna Woodrum have organized.  As an elected official, I will commit myself to support and remain actively engaged in our party’s efforts in the recruitment and training of qualified candidates that have the highest chance of success for the seats in which they are running.

Finally, Brian gave the analogy of being tired of “playing checkers with two red checker sets.”  He is exactly right; we need to do a better job of thinking strategically.  It’s been said before, politics is chess, not checkers, and my third step is to utilize a big-picture approach to achieving the goal Brian outlined.  Going to all these different type of groups I’ve learned that we as Republicans need to do a better job of running on things, and not just against things.  We are very good at pointing out the problems in DC and Sacramento, but deep down, people want to feel like they are part of the answer and they want to support someone who has proactive ideas and possible solutions to the challenges we are facing.  I have several ideas and proposals in areas like water management, veteran homelessness, and small business growth that I have developed in partnership with stakeholders dealing with these specific issues.  As a proactive, solution-oriented office holder, I intend to serve as an example to other candidates what it means to not only be a Republican, but a public servant.

Brian, thank you again for the opportunity to discuss this important issue and I appreciate your service and that of all our Central Committee members to our party.  Please let me know if you have any further questions, I’m always available.

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Comments 18

  1. Republicans would win every election if every Republican voted. In the 1970s Party Chairman, Gaylord Parkinson (Parky) laid out a plan to take control of the state assembly. It might be wise to dust off that plan. Additionally, the book Victory Lab lays out how Barack Obama won the Presidency in this era of social networking by going after 3% more votes from each identified constituency. The book is a tough slog with about 10% of the pages having critical new information, but it is like digging for gold, hard sweaty work to find the extremely valuable nuggets. With low turnouts in Primaries the winning candidates are receiving only about 20% of the registered voters. The trick is to identify where those voters live.

    Fred Schnaubelt, Councilman 1977-81

  2. Fred,

    “Republicans would win every election if every Republican voted.”

    Probably true, but if every ELIGIBLE VOTER voted, the Republicans wouldn’t win any elections. Hence the push to make it more difficult to vote.

  3. “Probably true, but if every ELIGIBLE VOTER voted, the Republicans wouldn’t win any elections”

    Conjecture at best and dishonest statement at worst.

    Asking a voter to show an ID isn’t making it hard for eligible voters but it will stop the ineligible voters. Now, this is where liberals will say that “voter ID laws are racist because people of color are too unsophisticated to get an ID or driver’s license.”

    The liberals’ low expectations of minorities are the real racism.

  4. Brian,

    I didn’t mention voter ID but since you did, maybe you can explain how accepting a hunting license for ID but not accepting a college ID is anything other than an attempt to make it easier for Republicans and harder for Democrats to vote.

    What I did actually say was “making it more difficult to vote” and I was referring mostly to the reduction in early voting especially in states where “coincidentally” many minority voters cast votes during that early period.

  5. Your first question is good but I guess NRA membership cards would be rejected and EBT cards wouldn’t..,and you know why that is, as well as you know the answer to the question you posed– one is issued by a government agency.

    More minority voters are poll voters so you might try another red herring,

    I applaud you on your efforts though– keep repeating the lies enough enough and someone will start believing those lies, you are the ultimate ‘ends justify the means” kind of guy

  6. Brian,

    Now who’s being dishonest? We are not talking about early mail-in voting. We are talking about early polling sites, church groups bussing their congregation to those polling sites sites after Sunday service. That’s what is being changed in Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and other states where Republicans have the majority in the Legislature. I know you are smart enough to know why that is happening.

  7. Hypocrisy questioned if you want to say it’s because they’re Blacks and Republicans are racist and hate Blacks, then just say so, but stop dancing around it. It’s b.s. and you know it, but just own up and say it outright. Just look around and see John Kasich’s response to Hillary Clintons race baiting on this same subject concerning Ohio versus her home state of New York for the true answer.

    Of course, none of this matters for San Diego county or California, because it’s taking place in other states, and the original post was about districts in San Diego. Maybe discussing election day registration, the increase in time from election day that absentee ballots can be considered valid, and the other shenanigans that Democrats in the capitol and in larger cities are using to guarantee more Democrats and liberal victories. Of course when Democrats do it, it’s o.k and justified .

  8. themarshallplan,

    I actually don’t think the push to make it more difficult to vote has anything to do with race or being racist. I think it has everything to do with trying to win elections by making it less easy for the opponent’s supporters to vote. And when Democrats do it (military absentee voting for example), it is just as wrong.

  9. Just to be clear HQ, if it were my decision, I’d require all voters to pass the same citizenship test we require new Americans to pass. (60% score needed on a 10 question test). I’d let any eligible citizen register to vote (and take that test) at every post office, DMV center, WIC office, city hall, fire station, college, and high school in the State, up until midnight of the day before the election.

    ….and they’d prove their eligibility to take the test and get a photo ID when they passed it, too.

  10. Brian,

    I am very familiar with the citzenship test and I would be willing to bet big bucks that the majority of currently registered voters would fail the test. I would also be willing to bet (less) that at least 25% of Rostra readers would also fail.

    I understand the frustration with the so-called ” low-information voters,” but I believe we are stronger as a country when every citizen votes and I am quite certain that requiring a test to be allowed to vote is unconstitutional anyway (think poll tax).

    I do agree with you that we should allow registration up to election day and that as many sites as possible be available for citizens to register. I would go a step further and say that each of those locations should be available for voting starting 30 days before the election. I also have no problem with requiring voter ID, but if the goal is simply to prevent fraud, I wonder what your plan is to prevent fraud by mail-in voters.

    My philosophy is simple – our country is strongest when everyone participates and we should do everything we can to encourage all citizens to get involved, at a minimum by voting. We should not be putting up any roadblocks because working to improve our country should be more important than doing whatever it takes to make sure “my party” wins a particular election.

  11. A test would be constitutional; even the poll tax was held to be constitutional until the 24th Amendment. Our Founders were prescient enough to understand that an invested electorate avoided the temptation to loot the Treasury. The voting restrictions they imposed are reprehensible by today’s standards but the principle is sound.

    Most of the questions on the citizenship test are taught to middle school kids. If a 9th grade, native born American can’t get 6 out of 10 questions right on that test, the teachers and parents should hang their heads in shame. (I’d suggest that the teachers should be fired but union hacks would say “but we try so hard”)

    Asking voters to make decisions about things they do not understand is a recipe for chaos. Pollsters tell us that Congress has a 13-15% approval rating and you tell me that a majority of Americans don’t understand what a Congressman does. That my friend, is insane.

    This is how we get polarized, divided government. You and I both agreed that the American electorate is uneducated; I want to change that. Why don’t you?

  12. Brian,

    I notice you didn’t say whether or not you think the Country would be stronger if more citizens voted. You also did not address whether or not it was good for the Country that there are attempts by each Party, though clearly not equal attempts, to make it more difficult for certain members of the other Party to vote. Finally, you didn’t answer my query about how voter ID laws would prevent possible fraud by mail-in voters. Maybe you can address all of those in your next post.

    As to the question you asked me, I do wish we had a more educated electorate. I wish we had a more educated public in general. However, I will still state very strongly that our country is strongest when people from all walks of life and all educational backgrounds from the sixth-grade dropout to the MBA from Harvard participate in the political process. The person who does not know who John Roberts is still knows plenty about day to day life so I do not believe that knowing that there are 435 members of Congress makes a voter more qualified to vote for his/her Congressman. And as for the 13% approval rate you cited, that number goes way up when you ask the voter if they are satisfied with THEIR Congressman.

  13. I think our society is weakened when people who don’t understand how it is governed decide on whom should govern. I believe the opposite of what you believe; let intellectually lazy people make these decisions and pretend that it’s being “inclusive”.

    You’re right about the low approval unless it’s their Congressman. I think that’s an example of confirmation bias. People loathe “Congress” because they don’t know what “Congress” does but, because they voted for their Congressman, he must be okay. It proves my point.

    Here is further proof: in 2008, the Democrats nominated a cult icon who, just 6 years earlier, was a backbencher in the Illinois State Senate. In 2015, Republicans are currently choosing a cult figure who has a history of similar policy positions as that Illinois backbencher. When media asked these “new voters” (whom both cult figures attract) why they chose their candidate, they said it was less about policy and more about personality.

    Be careful with your wishes, HQ; they might just come true

  14. Brian,

    Even if I agreed with your premise that “intellectually lazy” people should not be allowed to vote (obviously, I dont ), who gets to decide what qualifies as intellectually lazy? By my way of thinking, anyone who doesn’t have at least some post-college education is intellectually lazy. As someone who wants to see more Republicans elected, I am sure that you don’t want that to be the criteria.

    It seems that we will simply have to agree to disagree, so I will leave you with two questions:

    1. How do you reconcile your libertarian philosophy that we should let the people decide and be responsible for their own fates with your seemingly elitist attitude that the “intellectually lazy” should not be allowed to vote for people whose decisions could have a profound effect on their lives?

    2. This is a repeat: How do voter ID laws prevent mail-in voters from voting fraudulently?

  15. “who gets to decide what qualifies as intellectually lazy?”

    Isn’t that the point of the test?

    6 out of 10 questions to pass- even Arnold Schwarzenegger did it.

  16. Brian,

    Since you are obviously unwilling to answer the questions that I posed, I will end this discussion with one more:

    Why do you think that knowing the names of cabinet level positions or the name of the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (questions from the Citizenship Exam) makes someone more qualified to decide who would represent them better as a Congressman, Senator or as President?

  17. Because those are only two of the possible 100 questions, from which ten are chosen. The other include our system of government, including the whys and hows of its formations and operation, our rights and responsibilities as a citizen, American history, and integrated civics,

    You knew that, though. 6 out of 10 questions; even Pamela Anderson passed the test.

  18. Brian,

    Here are two more straight from the test:

    “What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?”

    “What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?”

    In fact, here are all 100 questions: http://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/teachers/educational-products/100-civics-questions-and-answers-mp3-audio-english-version

    The point isn’t whether the test is easy, although I don’t know how an easy test would separate out the ignorant anyway. The point is that the test is not relevant and in no way tests knowledge necessary to be an informed voter. Put another way, I have no idea how a car works, but I know which brands are the best and know the ones I like.

    You still haven’t responded to my two original questions so I will try repeating them:

    1. How do voter ID laws prevent mail-in voters from voting fraudulently?

    2. How do you reconcile your libertarian philosophy that we should let the people decide and be responsible for their own fates with your seemingly elitist attitude that the “intellectually lazy” should not be allowed to vote for people whose decisions could have a profound effect on their lives?

    I could rephrase the second one: Why, as a libertarian, do you not have faith in people to make the right choice for their situation?

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