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|Political Philosophy for Jeff Gorell|
Why Am I Running?: Community, Accountability and Pride in Public Service
Ventura County and the entire Central Coast is California's Eden. I enjoyed visiting and vacationing here with my family when I was young and I'm now proud to call this community home. I live in Camarillo with my wife Laura, six-year-old daughter Ashley and newborn son Jack. I'm also proud to own and run a successful and growing small business here in Ventura County.
By running for State Assembly, I am asking voters to allow me to be a part of the important process to improve the quality of life for all my Ventura County neighbors. We need new leaders in California who look to the future with an optimistic vision and the foresight to preserve our special way of life. California's population is projected to grow by another 15 to 20 million people over the next few decades. How we plan today to manage this growth will determine whether our communities retain their luster or deteriorate.
Here on the Central Coast, our diversity of people, geography and economy, make us a microcosm of our state and nation. This community represents the very best California has to offer. Our beaches, mountains, farm lands, open spaces and friendly neighborhoods make us the envy of other communities in California and throughout the nation. With my experience in federal, state and local government service, as well as my private sector experience, I have the well-rounded background that enables me to be effective in fighting for our community.
General Philosophy: State government needs to support our local communities, not the other way around.
I am a Republican because, on many of the issues important to me + criminal justice, local control of schools and communities, prudence with the taxpayers' money, and job creation by small business + the Republican Party is aligned with my philosophy.
I want to work to make owning a small business a more rewarding endeavor, because these opportunities are what create good jobs.
As a veteran of foreign war, I will support every veteran like he or she were family.
I support sustaining the natural environment that make us, as Californians, the envy of the world. I oppose policies that build walls between communities. I will be an aggressive advocate for improving our local public schools and giving all kids a safe, supporting and resourceful classroom in which to learn.
I am forward looking. I believe that just as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so does a small investment today save a major expense or crisis in the future. I believe that with adequate planning and forethought today, many of the looming problems that we face on the horizon can be averted.
Infrastructure: We must invest in the future.
Leadership will be crucial in the next few years on the issues of energy, water, health care, natural gas, overcrowded roadways and affordable housing. The State's infrastructure must be the top priority for our next Assembly Member.
Our Assembly Member must work closely with federal representatives to fight for our communities' fair share of transportation funds. In the last round of transportation funding, our counties were shortchanged by tens of millions of dollars. Most of the money goes to Los Angeles. Exacerbating this problem was that fact that politicians in Sacramento decided which transportation projects should be funded without ever consulting local transportation officials. Voters know where the roads need repairs and where the traffic bottlenecks are, far better than do bureaucrats and politicians in Sacramento. Our community must get its fair share of transportation funding; and the decisions on how to spend those funds must be made locally.
Criminal Justice: It costs us too much not to invest in early intervention.
From 1999 to 2006, I was on the front lines of keeping our community free from crime as a Ventura County Deputy District Attorney. I prosecuted violent gang members, drug traffickers and dealers, child molesters, house burglars, identity thieves + you name it.
When I worked in Governor Pete Wilson's office in the 1990s, we passed such laws as "Three Strikes," "Megan's Law" and "10-20-Life" to turn career criminals into career inmates. These laws are working to lower crime, and we must continue to vigorously enforce them and resist efforts to weaken them.
Megan's Law, for example, which helps track and deter sexual predators, is not being properly enforced. As a result, more than 30,000 sexual predators and child molesters are unaccounted for throughout California. This cannot continue.
Unfortunately, while crime has dropped in recent years, violent juvenile crime has risen. Stopping this trend is my resolve. We must make it clear that we will tolerate no violence on school campuses. No child should feel threatened at school.
As a prosecutor, I worked every day to further school safety efforts. I support and have worked for early intervention for troubled youth. In 2001, the Governor signed into law a bill I drafted and helped usher through the legislature process on behalf of statewide prosecutors to improve the California Penal Code. This bill clarified the law and worked to keep dangerous switchblade knives out of the hands of impulsive young gang members.
I have worked on the Central Coast with local law enforcement to prevent the type of senseless gang violence we have seen too many times on the front of newspapers this year. We need to do more. We need to hold parents more accountable for keeping their kids in schools and off streets where they commit the crimes that cost taxpayers so dearly. No matter how much we spend on education, kids will not learn their ABC's if they're at home getting their ZZZ's. We need to encourage kids to talk to administrators and teachers when and if they observe trouble signs by classmates. We need to restore funding for school nurses and school counselors so that a troubled youth has someplace to go, and before they turn to some random act of senseless violence.
There's simply no reason for kids to affiliate with gangs. Gangs should be targets No. 1 for law enforcement, schools and parents. Educational "boot camps" have proven to be an effective way to get a child who has drifted down the wrong path headed back in the right direction. Yet today on the Central Coast, we share one such camp among three counties. There's not enough space and too few programs for the number of kids who could benefit from additional educational boot camps. Simply put, we need two more such camps here on the Central Coast, where troubled youth can learn respect for authority, attend daily school classes and learn real life skills that will help them get a job later in life. Due to a lack of funding, not enough young boys can be sent to such a facility, and there is no such similar opportunity for young girls. This is wrong. By adding two more educational camps, we will allow more at-risk kids to have this rewarding, motivating and life-changing structure.
Education: Cut bureaucracy at the top and move resources down to the local level to create accountability in schools. Pay good teachers better and reduce class size in all grades.
Many of the education problems we face today are because of a lack of accountability in the system. At the state level, we have an elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, a Cabinet-level Secretary of Education, and an appointed State Board of Education. None are truly in charge of state education policy. And none are willing to take responsibility. At the top, it's too easy to point the finger and blame others for failing public schools.
At the local level, teachers, principals, administrators and school board members are hampered by a laundry list of state and federal regulations and programs that tie their hands from doing what is best for schools in our communities. These regulations are often designed for big city school districts such as the Los Angeles Unified School District, and have no relevance to our schools. I trust local teachers and want them to have more autonomy.
The state education bureaucracy should be cut and the money should be sent back to the local level to pay teachers better and reduce class sizes in all grades.
The state's role should be to set accountability standards for local public schools, and then get out of the way. We must give more control to the local level for communities to make decisions about the money spent on their children. Informed voters and involved parents can best influence schools at the local level, and they must be allowed to do so.Kids today need mentors, role models and guidance more than ever. They need to develop a sense of service and community. I believe that all public schools should follow the successful example of a growing number of California private and public high schools by requiring students to perform a limited number of community service hours as a requisite to graduation. This is real world learning that will build character and perhaps give kids some skills toward later employment.
We need to offer public school students more opportunities to explore the skills that will be required for tomorrow's middle class jobs. Career Technical Education (CTE) should be mandated in schools to ensure that all students at least understand basic skills of hand-on creativity. CTE could be very instrumental in reducing the State's current 30% high school dropout rate, which is utterly intolerable.
I believe California is the best state in the nation. We need to have the number one education system in the world. Our public schools have been the envy of the world before, and they can be again.
Veterans: Protect programs for our veterans
Plain and simple + as a veteran of foreign war, my goal in office will be to support as best I can every single California veteran as if he or she were family. I know their sacrifice and I am thankful for their service protecting my freedoms.
Small Business and Job Creation: I will support our state's job creators
I own and operate a successful small business here in Ventura County. I manage employees and balance a corporate budget. I have also served on the board of directors for other corporations. And as director of communications for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, I was the voice for the state's business community for three years in Sacramento.
I know business. Further, I know well that we must aggressively support the small businesses in our community because small business is the number one job creator in California. Small business generates the taxes that support our schools, pay for public safety and maintain our highways. By developing tools to allow people to start new entrepreneurial ventures and by cutting onerous government red tape, we can create good jobs here on the Central Coast and help move more people up the economic rungs to the comforts of middle class. The quality of life begins with a job. So, by vigorously supporting the risk taking, small business owner, we bolster our state's fiscal backbone and ensure long-term economic security for all Californians.
Working with policy makers and job creators in the Capitol, I saw what it takes to ensure that businesses continue to be good corporate citizens of our state. Most business owners live in the community where they do business. No business owner wants to harm the community. Regulations such as environmental laws should be geared toward helping businesses comply--because most want to--while severely punishing willful and gross violators.
Last, but not least, I fought new taxes and "fees" as an advocate for business in Sacramento. I will continue to protect job creators against new taxes.
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: April 22, 2010 14:49
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