Voters in the 32nd state Senate District haven’t been represented in Sacramento for almost six months now. That is because their current state senator, Ron Calderon, is fighting 24 federal corruption charges ranging from money laundering to bribery.
Fortunately, the voters have before them two candidates with clear records of public service and distinctive perspectives that allow the voters a choice in who they send to Sacramento.
The top vote-getter in the June primary was Downey city councilman and former mayor Mario Guerra. A small businessman and chaplain of the Downey Police Department, he believes restoring a sense of ethics to the office is essential. Mr. Guerra, a Republican, said he believes that Sacramento politicians value power more than anything else. “We’ve seen the corruption, clear cut and the people in my district are tired of it,” he said.
Mr. Guerra sees a limited role for government in our economic and personal lives, and believes that Sacramento has long exceeded its limits. He said that being able to start a business and earn a living are fundamental liberties that Americans are entitled to. However, he believes that state government “doesn’t value the dignity of the individual” and so regulates, controls and distorts markets to the point of making California an unfriendly place to do business.
Mr. Guerra believes that the finances in the state are unsustainable and that the culture of Sacramento needs to be shaken up. He argues that the repeated efforts of state legislators to circumvent Proposition 13 protections from tax increases are emblematic of a Legislature trying to “take away the discourse” from the public on what state government should be spending and doing.
On the topic of pension reform, Mr. Guerra argues that further reforms may be needed in the state to make them sustainable. Having been part of successful pension reforms in Downey, he believes the best way to move forward on reforms is to sit at the table with bargaining units and present the facts.
With regards to education, he argues that there is a need for career technical education in the public school system to equip future generations with the skills needed to be competitive in the 21st century job market.
On criminal justice matters, he identifies himself as a supporter of reform, with particular interests in sentencing reform and expanding treatment for the mentally ill.
Mr. Guerra’s opponent, Democrat Tony Mendoza, spent 10 years in the state Assembly. His track record is essentially status quo down the line. He supports the absurd high-speed rail project, affirmative action and tax increases on business and property owners.
While Mr. Mendoza argues that he knows how to make his way through Sacramento, we are not of the belief that familiarity with a broken system is necessarily a good thing. Given how ineffective and monotonous Sacramento has long been, sending back an experienced Sacramento politician probably isn’t the way to reform the status quo.
With his experience in local government, commitment to changing the culture in state government and a clear vision for how California can change direction, we believe Mario Guerra is the best candidate in the 32nd Senate District election.