The newly re-drawn Third California Congressional district is big. It is bigger in square-milage than nine states and, if on the other side of the country, would – length-wise – stretch from Baltimore to Boston.
While the local concerns may vary widely from one end to the other, certain overall issues are important for everyone in the district, from Shoshone to Tahoe and beyond.
Hence this two-part series in which we asked the candidates to chat – un-edited – about their views on a number of subjects.
Two candidates – Kevin Kiley and Scott Jones – took us up on the offer. A third, Dave Peterson, may have vanished into the luminiferous ether, while a fourth, Kermit Jones, at first agreed to participate but then backed out.
Note to Kermit: Putting Peterson aside, this may be a close race come the June vote and, considering party affiliation and your bankroll and such, you may have stood a chance of getting into the runoff. However, if you are going to ignore opportunities to talk directly – un-edited – to your potential constituents, then you may not have thought this decision through.
All that being said, here we go with the questions and answers of the candidates who had the common sense, courtesy, and cared enough about their constituents to respond:
Illegal immigration – particularly since the Biden administration has rolled back certain previous restrictions – remains a significant topic of discussion. What is your stance on border protection issues- is it currently too little, enough, or too much?
JONES – The situation at our southern border is an unmitigated disaster, a humanitarian crisis, and a threat to public safety. In 2014, I had a deputy murdered by an undocumented criminal who had been removed from this country at least four times without suffering any consequences for continuing to enter our country illegally. This issue is very personal for me, and one I refuse to stop fighting to fix.
Securing the border is the first step and the single most important facet of any immigration reform plan. President Trump made serious progress to increase America’s border security by building miles of new border wall, empowering ICE and CPB, and enforcing a ‘remain in Mexico’ policy for people claiming asylum, but we must do more, now! We must finish the wall, employ technological measures to help maintain security, ensure that CPB has sufficient staffing and resources to carry out their mission, and return to the ‘remain in Mexico’ policy.
We all know the truth – securing the border will help us put an end to human trafficking, drug and arms smuggling, illegal immigration and help prevent terrorists and criminals from entering our country. It will help ensure criminals who have been deported do not return to commit more mayhem. A combination of beefed-up border patrols, increased fencing and technology, and certain consequences for illegal entry will help us keep America safe.
As I said, I take fixing our border seriously, and as a testament to my commitment, I am honored to have earned the endorsement of President Donald Trump’s Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan.
KILEY – The Biden Administration’s reckless border policies have caused great harm to our country and must be reversed. In the Legislature, I introduced a bill to repeal the Sanctuary State. In Congress, I will fight to retain Title 42, restore the strong border policies of the Trump Administration, and end sanctuary policies across the country.
The Department of Homeland Security recently announced the creation of a “disinformation” working group. Do you believe it is appropriate for the federal government to in any way, shape, or form to determine what is “true?”
KILEY – The Biden Administration’s proposed “Ministry of Truth” is chilling and un-American. One of our nation’s Founding principles is that the government is not the arbiter of truth – it is rather for us, as citizens, to discern the truth for ourselves through a free exchange of ideas.
JONES – I have grave concerns with the Department of Homeland Security’s “disinformation” working group. We don’t have to look in the all-too-distant past to see what happens when unelected bureaucrats start dictating what’s best for us, without allowing for any input, counterbalance, or debate. Further, I question whether this or future Presidential Administrations might weaponize this panel in an effort to silence their critics. America was founded on many ideals, including freedom of speech. It is critical for the future of our Country to not stray from our founding principles.
Around the nation and in California in particular, the crime rate has risen of late, with examples of organized “smash and grab” looting incidents throughout the state being broadcast worldwide. Why, do you believe, crime has recently increased, do you support such notions as “defunding the police” and/or “restorative justice,” and what role, if any, should the federal government play in the matter?
JONES – It’s obvious to everyone that crime is on the rise nationwide. Having spent 33 years in law enforcement and the last 12 years as Sheriff, I know a thing or two about keeping people safe, but also making sure people feel safe. It is possible, but you have to have the experience and courage to make it happen, and to stand up to those that are trying to dismantle our criminal justice systems.
The soft-on-crime policies promulgated by liberal politicians and bureaucrats have led to this drastic rise. We’ve gotten to a place where we treat criminals like victims, and victims like criminals. It’s upside down. We MUST restore law and order in our society, it is the bedrock of everything else that is important. In Congress – as I’ve done for my entire adult life – I’ll work to ensure those who prey on our society face justice, and that victims of crime ALWAYS have a voice.
It should come as no surprise that I have been an outspoken critic of the Defund the Police movement. Whether it’s been at the Federal, State, or County level, I have consistently spoken against any such efforts.
I am a firm believer that the closer to the people authority is, the better. The Federal government should play a limited role in police reform and regulations, since what is best for individual communities is better decided by local and state entities. With that being said, Congress can and should play a role in ensuring representation and funding opportunities are allocated in a fair manner.
KILEY – California has seen rising crime because of radical policies that have removed the consequences for criminal conduct. We need to make crime illegal again. I will use my experience as a former prosecutor to fight for strengthening our criminal laws and supporting our law enforcement.
How would you rate the governmental – locally, regionally, statewide, and federally – response to the recent COVID pandemic?
KILEY – California’s response to COVID-19 has caused incalculable harm. We had the strictest lockdowns of any state and kept schools closed the longest. I have fought Newsom’s mandates and lockdowns in the Legislature, even taking him to court and winning a trial where a judge found he abused his emergency powers. Joe Biden pursued much the same approach at the national level. Fortunately, we had some parts of our state, such as my home of Placer County, where local leaders placed trust in citizens. The result was considerably better outcomes across the board than the state as a whole.
JONES – From the very beginning of the pandemic, I made one thing abundantly clear: my Sheriff’s Office would not be an enforcement mechanism for the guidelines coming down. We would educate, we would provide service 24/7 to those in need, but my deputies would not be arresting individuals, shutting down businesses, or breaking up household gatherings. The one-size-fits-all approach that we saw at the Federal and State level did not always factor in localized trends and measures.
Thanks again to the candidates the readers and commenters.