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Competing for seats in the Assembly, Congress


Last updated 9/11/2008 at Noon

Kevin Jeffries

Vying for State Assembly 66th District

Republican Kevin Jeffries, having just completed his first term as California State Assemblyman for the 66th District, will endeavor to gain reelection but has to overcome Democrat contender Grey Frandsen to do it.

California’s 66th State Assembly District is a member of the 80 districts in the California State Assembly. This particular district covers portions of San Diego and Riverside counties.

The California State Assembly represents the lower house of the California State Legislature. Members of the Assembly have restrictive term limits, in which they may only serve up to three 2-year terms.

Both candidates have been afforded an opportunity to answer the questions below, posed by the Village News.

Where do you reside and how long have you lived in this area?

Kevin Jeffries: “I’m a native Californian and I have lived in Lake Elsinore since 1971.”

Grey Frandsen: “I have called this region my home for over 17 years. I live in Temecula with my wife, Lindsey, and two children, Sally, 4, and Brooks, 1.”

What are your professional qualifications for the office you seek?

Jeffries: “My qualifications to continue representing the citizens of the 66th District are based on my life experiences. I have been married for 26 years, raised two children, 24 years as a successful small business owner, 29 years as a volunteer firefighter, 25 years serving on various local non-profit boards, 18 years as an elected water district board member, five years as a Local Agency Formation Commissioner, five years as grant writer and manager for the Riverside County Fire Dept., two years as an elected parks and recreation district board member, and two years (first term) as the 66th District State Assemblyman.”

Frandsen: “First and foremost, I’m a very proud father and a husband. I’m running because I care about my family, my community, and our State. I will do what it takes to protect them. I have a fatherly instinct to ensure that the future of my children and families throughout this District is filled with opportunity, health, and happiness and I can’t sit idly by when politics-as-usual threatens these very things. I will do what it takes to secure their future and the future of our communities, region, and state. That is probably the best qualification anyone could have. Second, I am not a politician. Third, I’m a proud business owner right here in the District. I know well the pressures and challenges we small business owners face. I will do what it takes to ensure we have a productive business climate and that working families have the respect, resources, and wages they need to not only survive – but thrive – in today’s economy.”

What changes would you like to see made to improve California’s financial position?

Jeffries: “We must have a strong budget reform measure implemented by either the Legislature or directly by the voters that will strictly limit future spending increases to a formula that is controlled by population growth and inflation. Any surplus revenues must then be placed into a rainy day fund and/or utilized to pay down the debt that we are passing down to our children and grandchildren.”

Frandsen: “We need to move immediately to pass a balanced budget that mixes new revenue and program reductions and cuts. Without a combination of cuts and increases in revenue we will remain stuck in this quagmire. These are among the points I have proposed: eliminate the state budget deficit immediately; move immediately to a ‘pay-as-you-go’ budget system, requiring offsets and/or established sources of revenue when new government programs be introduced; begin the effort to remove the two-thirds vote requirement for passing a budget; eliminate per diems and salary for legislative representatives the day after the legal budget deadline has been passed with no budget in place…”

What is your position on illegal immigration?

Jeffries: “Starting back in 1993 I called for the deployment of the National Guard on our borders. Without a doubt illegal immigration and the control of our national borders has been a complete and utter failure at the federal level, coupled with disastrous policies at the state level that give away taxpayer funded benefits and subsidies to those who enter and remain illegally. Illegal conduct by anyone from anywhere should not be rewarded with incentives to stay. For the safety, security and economic prosperity of our nation and our state, we must have full control of all our borders. Nothing less should be acceptable.”

Frandsen: “I believe that the American immigration system is broken. Assembly District 66 shoulders a portion of this burden of illegal immigration. Our system must be inclusive, fair and just, while in its current form it is imbalanced, slow and not capable of meeting the needs of our economy as a State and Nation. Immigration must be consistent with American values of freedom, opportunity, compassion and respect for human rights. We must create a plan to address the millions of undocumented workers that play a vital role to our economy – work to require all California employers to use the E-Verify Internet database to confirm that every new hire has a legal right to work in the US…”

Are there any subjects you aren’t normally asked about that you would like to comment on?

Jeffries: “On occasion I’m asked how I keep my sanity while serving in the State Legislature. With all the back and forth flying and the hundreds of people I work with each week, I just stay focused on my job to represent the people of the 66th district, but I also remember to not take myself too seriously. You have to know when to shrug off a personal attack and when to stand up for your beliefs.”

Frandsen: Said he usually isn’t asked what his opponent, Kevin Jeffries, is like. “My answer is, I don’t know. Despite my best efforts, I haven’t had a chance to meet with him. He is unwilling to debate, discuss or present his proposals and ideas relating to our State’s and region’s woes. I asked him to participate in four debates with me – two organized by his staff, two organized by mine. We sent it via e-mail, fax, certified mail and even tried to hand-deliver it. No response.”

49th Congressional District candidates

While Republican Congressman Darrell Issa endeavors to keep his 49th Congressional District seat in the election, two other individuals will compete against him: Robert Hamilton, a Democrat, and Lars Grossmith, Libertarian.

California’s 49th Congressional District is an area that frames much of San Diego North and Southwest Riverside County. Since 2001, Issa has represented the district.

Where do you reside and how long have you lived in this area?

Issa: “Kathy and I reside in the city of Vista. We moved our business and family from Cleveland, OH, to Vista in 1985.”

Hamilton: “I have lived in Fallbrook since January of 2004. I also lived in Poway, where my wife and I raised our children from 1984 to 1998. I lived in Los Angeles from 1962 to 1975 and again from 1998 to 2004.”

Grossmith: “I reside in Vista. I have lived in North County since 1987. I attended San Diego State University from 1977 to 1981.”

What are your professional qualifications for the office you seek?

Issa: “I have a lifetime of experience as an entrepreneur, job-creator and Army officer and seven years as a member of Congress. I founded Vista-based Directed Electronics, Inc. (DEIX) and grew the company into an industry leader. I have served as director of the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, president of the San Diego Lincoln Club, advisory board member of USO San Diego and chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association.”

Hamilton: “I graduated from UCLA with a BA in political science and have remained a student of government ever since. I served as Nuclear Weapons Officer aboard a destroyer in the Pacific and in the Vietnam War zone. I learned the importance of a strong military and the need to show restraint in its use. I went to work for Bank of America, where I made student, consumer, commercial and real estate loans and handled investment activities for some of the bank’s largest accounts. I then joined American Express Company, where I spent the next 19 years working in international marketing and sales.”

Grossmith: “I have a BA degree in economics and an MBA. I have been the past president of the San Diego Mortgage Bankers Association. I am a non-professional politician. Today the districts are gerrymandered so that each district is loaded with Republicans or Democrats, thereby keeping the incumbent in office. We now have ‘lifetime’ employment for Congressmen.”

What types of legislation would you support in reference to the war in Iraq?

Issa: “We need to make sure our Marines and service members receive the support and services they need and deserve when they return. We recently passed legislation to update the GI Bill. Also, making sure the Veterans’ Administration has proper funding and is providing the care and services our veterans are entitled to receive. With respect to Iraq, the efforts of our Camp Pendleton Marines and other forces have greatly improved the situation in Iraq and likelihood that we will have a successful outcome. We should continue to press the Iraqi government to enact needed reforms and reduce our footprint as the Iraqis take more responsibility for their own security and governance.”

Hamilton: “Our legislative agenda for the next phase of our presence in Iraq must focus on the viability of the domestic governance, national security and future diplomatic strategies of the Iraqi government, all without losing sight of our strategic interests. The Iraq war was a strategic blunder that is bleeding our country of its human resources, its capital, its prestige and good name and its allies. We have created a vacuum of power in Iraq and invited interference by religious fundamentalists on all sides, including the Iranian government. The solution lies in the stability of the Iraqi government. We should not lose sight of the fact that Iraq is not our country. It is theirs and it is time to begin giving it back.”

Grossmith: “I would support any legislation that would remove our troops as soon as possible. Congress has abdicated its responsibility. The President cannot declare war, only Congress can. This Congress has allowed the President unchecked power.”

What actions would you approve in regard to illegal immigration?

Issa: “We need both strong enforcement to stop illegal immigration and an effective temporary legal guest worker program to supply seasonal labor. I support construction of the border fence, fought to make the prosecution of border crimes a priority for the US Attorney in San Diego and support expanded use of the E-Verify program so employers can know their employees are in the United States legally and eligible to work. I continue to oppose the freeway checkpoints because they use a lot of resources and there are relatively few apprehensions. The agents who man the checkpoints would be more effective in an active enforcement role elsewhere.”

Hamilton: “First and foremost, I believe we are a nation of laws, and nobody is above the law – not the undocumented immigrant, nor the business person who hires him or her illegally, nor a congressman or president who violates the law in any way. So we must enforce the laws on the books. Having said that, we need a complete overhaul of our immigration laws and policy. We must meet the needs of American businesses for unskilled labor as well as for the professional and technical expertise unavailable here at home.”

Grossmith: “I would support an increase in the quota system allowing an increase in legal immigration. By allowing more legal immigration, our American companies will not have to close down and move to other countries to hire cheaper labor. We can keep them and their tax base here, strengthening Social Security and other programs. Free people should be allowed to move freely.”

What are you usually not asked that you feel is important for voters to know about you?

Issa: “I have a ‘green’ streak, which people don’t always expect from a Republican. I own and drive hybrid cars and have since 2000, back when gas was cheaper and you only had two models to choose from: the Toyota Prius and that odd-looking Honda that never really caught on. I believe in the power of innovation and technology to improve our lives and help us meet the challenges we face, including ending our dependence on foreign oil and allowing us to become energy independent. We can solve these problems and do it in a way that preserves and enhances our quality of life.”

Grey Frandsen

Hamilton: “When I tell people I am running for Congress, the first thing they want to know is ‘Are you a Republican or a Democrat?’ If I say I’m a Democrat, they frequently stop listening or turn away, assuming that I am not the kind of person they could support. I would like these voters to know that I share many of their values. I support a strong military as a deterrent but would be judicious in its use. I also want veterans to have the excellent medical care and benefits they have earned and were promised. I understand the need to encourage businesses to reach their full potential…”

Grossmith: “If I win, I will follow the oath of office and uphold the Constitution. Most all other politicians are not constrained by the constitution. When you couple ‘lifetime’ employment and are not constrained by the Constitution, can you really be surprised by increasing corruption and ineffectiveness?”

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