Three Democrat candidates who will challenge District 4 Congressman Tom McClintock in the June primary election - Roza Calderon, Jessica Morse and Regina Bateson - spoke before a crowd of about 170 on Dec. 6 at the Oakhurst Community Center Pavilion.
All three candidates claimed that McClintock, in five terms, has done little for public education, rural internet access, jobs and wages, the environment, healthcare and social security.
The candidates were asked how they would differ from McClintock.
Question: McClintock backs Paul Ryan’s plan to cut back Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits. What would you do?
Regina Bateson: “With tax cuts adding $1.4 trillion to the debt, Congress plans to use that as a pre-text to cut these programs ... we will see $25 billion in cuts to Medicare. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has reduced the uninsured by half. Prescription drug costs have come down. Insurance premiums will rise on average $200/year per person in 2019. I will stop that from happening.”
Roza Calderon: “Save Social Security by raising the salary cap limit. Fixing ACA is not enough ... we need Medicare for all.”
Jessica Morse: “Congressman McClintock voted to repeal the ACA (aka Obamacare). I support Single Payer. We need healthcare transparency to make smart strategic investments to reduce cost ... we need universal primary care to reduce the high cost of ER services.”
Question: Where do you stand on public education?
Calderon: “I moved to a trailer park in Placer County to take advantage of a charter school which did not live up to its claim. Studies show they (charter schools) do no better and in many cases worse. I support public K-12, tuition free college and vocational programs.”
Morse: “I support higher teacher salaries. All students should have access to good schools and not have to travel great distances .... I believe in early childhood education.
Bateson: California is 41st in pupil funding. We should fund Special Education. The ACA is not just healthcare ... it funds Occupational and Speech Therapy training. Pell grants should be expanded.”
Question: What are your views on the GOP tax cuts?
Morse: “It was pushed through for a political win not for the good of the country. State and local taxes won’t be deductible. Fire and earthquake allowances are taken out of tax bill which hurts Californians while flood allowances are included benefiting Republican states. Also removed are allowances for HUD financing.
Bateson: Tax cuts would raise taxes on the middle class and working poor. McClintock supports massive corporate tax cuts. He believes tax cuts will be passed down as increases in wages and benefit consumers ... it has never happened. Corporations are already drowning in excess capital.” When CEOs were asked to raise their hands if they would create more jobs with these tax cuts the majority did not.
Calderon: 51% of Americans make less than $30,000. Their taxes will go up. The tax bill allowed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve thereby securing Lisa Murkowski’s vote. The consequence is not just environment ... having studied fracking in the Bakken shale, I’ve seen families destroyed, crime rates rise and towns ravaged.
The three candidates have agreed if one receives 60% or more of the votes in an election that will be held prior to Jan. 28 by District 4 Democrats, the other two will drop out of the race. The cut-off date for entering the race is Dec. 31.
The candidates forum was sponsored by the Coarsegold and Oakhurst Democratic clubs.
Note: The forum can be seen at https://youtu.be/k-xzmUVTIW4. Alan Cheah is a member of the Oakhurst Democratic Club.