(By Assemblyman Scott Wilk) Last week I attended a GOP debate for the candidates in the 36th Assembly District hosted by the SCV Congress of Republicans.
The 36th AD is an Antelope Valley-based seat that has some fingers that come into the Santa Clarita Valley. It’s represented by Democrat Assemblyman Steve Fox. Based on party registration the seat should be held by a Republican. Fox’s 2012 opponent, Lancaster City Councilman Ron Smith, after a divisive primary, never bothered to knock on a single door or place any phone calls asking for anyone’s vote. Smith napped for four months and the Obama wave carried Fox to an unexpected victory.
Currently the Democrats hold a supermajority in the California State Assembly and the GOP needs to pick up two seats to break their grip. The 36th AD is a must win for the GOP to have a shot at creating better balance in the Legislature.
One of the candidates stated people should vote for her because she has “new and good ideas.” To me that comment disqualified her from serious consideration. It conveyed one of two things: a naiveté on how Sacramento works; or she was thinking she could con a very sophisticated audience that knows better.
If you are a Republican in Sacramento and you have a “good idea,” one of two things happen - the majority party kills it or they steal it.
Here are two examples:
Last week the Assembly Health Committee killed a bill that I co-authored that would have banned Covered California from hiring any enrollment agent who had been convicted of a felony for fraud or forgery. Enrollment agents have access to clients Social Security numbers, tax returns and personal health information. It has been documented that at least 43 people who work for Covered California have been convicted of a felony. The bill was killed on a straight party-line vote.
Over the last 3-4 months I’ve been working with the Brown administration on reforming the Workers Compensation system by fixing some of the unintended consequences of the 2012 reforms that have ended up delaying legitimately injured workers access to care and has driven up the costs to employers.
Our office had built a coalition of business and labor groups that supported these needed changes to the Independent Medical Review Board. During the process, I was told that I would need to take on a Democrat as a joint author. I agreed to that and I asked when they would like me to do it. I was told we can wait until we get the bill to the Senate.
When the Division of Workers Comp showed the bill to the Assembly Insurance Committee staff they were impressed with the product. Their response? They snatched the bill and it’s now an Insurance Committee bill!
Frankly, it’s more important to me that we improve the business climate than to get personal credit for something. So I’m pleased the majority party is willing to address this important issue.
But the truth is until there is better balance in the state Legislature our state will continue to limp along with a wobbly economy, unstable tax base and under-performing schools.
We don’t need “new and good” ideas, but more people elected who understand business and are willing to create a business climate that will encourage entrepreneurs to invest or re-invest in our state.
California Assemblyman Scott Wilk represents the 38th State Assembly District which covers the Santa Clarita Valley. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.