SPOTLIGHT ON THE JUNE 7 ELECTIONS | State Assembly: First-time candidates challenge veterans in redesigned Districts 38 and 42 – VC Reporter

ON THE PICTURE : Steve Bennett speaks with voters on Ventura Pier. Photo submitted

by Alex Wilson

Ventura County’s state assembly districts saw significant boundary changes during the recently completed redistricting process.

The new maps are first used in the June 7 primary election and will be in effect until they are redrawn again after the 2030 census.

The 38th Assembly District is currently represented by Democrat Steve Bennett who faces a challenge from Republican Cole Brocato and Daniel Wilson, who declares no party preference. The 38th Assembly District no longer includes Santa Barbara as it did in the last election, but new areas of Ventura County, including Oxnard, have been added. The 38th District also includes Ventura, Port Hueneme, Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru, and the northwest portion of Camarillo.

In the 42nd Assembly District, incumbent Democrat Jacqui Irwin faces a challenge from two Republicans, Ted Nordblum and Lori Mills. The 42nd Assembly District moved east in the redistricting process, losing Oxnard and Port Hueneme but gaining territory in Los Angeles County to Pacific Palisades and Bel Air. The 42nd Assembly District also includes Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Westlake Village, and the southeast portion of Camarillo.

As with all June assembly races in California, local contests are known as “jungle primaries” where the top two candidates compete in the November general election, regardless of political party affiliation. .

38th District Assembly Race

In the race for the 38th Assembly District, Bennett hopes voters will give him another vote of confidence after spending decades in office, first as a member of the Ventura City Council and then on the Board of Supervisors. of Ventura County, ahead of his 2020 election to statehood. assembly, representing District 37.

Bennett’s challengers are each making their first candidacy for elected office.

Daniel Wilson describes himself as a working-class veteran and is a transgender person. Wilson grew up in Maryland and served in the US Navy between 2009 and 2013, ending his military career as an aviation technician at Naval Base Ventura County, he said. He came out as a lesbian while in the military after the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and since leaving the service, Wilson has transitioned to ID in as a man.

Daniel Wilson is campaigning with his wife. Photo submitted

Wilson and his wife live in Port Hueneme. He said he has held various jobs in recent years at restaurants, cannabis dispensaries and other businesses. Advocating for higher wages and universal health care are some of Wilson’s main goals.

Wilson said he would bring a fresh perspective to Sacramento if elected. “I have walked in many different worlds. I’ve been in a lot of these situations that let us down as people who don’t fit the norm.

Although he has acknowledged that he appreciates some of the things Bennett has done during his tenure, Wilson thinks many voters are hungry for change. “The status quo is not working for working people, and we need fighters in power who are not afraid to take a stand. And you can’t do that when you’re in a political party.

Republican Cole Brocato calls himself a “true conservative” on his campaign website.

Brocato lives in Oxnard where he and his wife are raising two children with a third on the way. The couple own a real estate and construction business together, buying homes to repair and selling, he said.

Brocato focuses on what he calls “kitchen table” issues in racing, such as inflation and taxes. He also wants to focus on education, as he thinks many young families are moving from California to states with better schools and lower housing costs.

Cole Brocato with his family at Ventura Pier. Photo submitted

Brocato said promises made by California’s elected leaders in recent years, including Bennett, have not been kept and longs for a day when Democrats do not dominate state government.

“What has he achieved? Schools have gotten worse, crime has gotten worse, housing has become less affordable and there is less. All of these things that we were promised would be fixed,” Brocato said.

Brocato also explained what he means by being a “true conservative”: “I just believe in fiscal conservatism. I think we need to be smarter about spending, I have a young family and the debt they inherit is suffocating. I am a Christian and I am not ashamed of my Christian values.

Bennett said the biggest issue facing voters is global warming, calling it an “existential threat,” which he added also affects the state’s water needs.

“We’re not in a drought,” Bennett said. “we are in a real period of aridization where . . . we will become a more arid area of ​​southern California. And we have to be proactive in trying to solve this problem. He went on to say that he recently introduced bills dealing with climate change and water scarcity.

Bennett said he was excited to serve in his relatively new role as state legislator and was proud of his long experience in local government. “The challenge is to come up with strategic steps that solve or address our problems. And I think voters should consider who has the experience to implement these things. I have demonstrated time and time again in my history of public service that I have been able to deliver great solutions. »

42nd District Assembly Race

Jacqui Irwin speaks with voters. Photo submitted

The two Republican candidates challenging Democrat Jacqui Irwin for her seat representing the 42nd Assembly District are both running for office for the first time and portraying Irwin as too liberal to represent the district. But Irwin said her record shows she forged a pragmatic course during her years of service in the state legislature and earlier on the Thousand Oaks City Council.

Ted Nordblum hopes to sit in the National Assembly. Photo submitted

“I think my record speaks for itself. I have passed many bills in many different areas. Higher education, cybersecurity, recycling. I’m a problem solver and I think my record shows that,” Irwin said.

Republican Ted Nordblum of Newbury Park said his opposition to abortion is one of the issues closest to his heart. Nordblum said he’s also concerned about some of the topics taught to children in public schools, such as issues around race, sexual orientation and what he calls “transgender indoctrination.”

“We need to get rid of ethnic studies and start teaching civics and American history, and only teach our kids the basics,” he said.

Lori Mills is a candidate for the assembly. Photo submitted

Nordblum said he has been a successful entrepreneur since starting a medical device company in 2005 and would focus on making California more business-friendly if elected.

“I meet different personalities. I fix things. I write every salary. . . There are so many facets that I have accomplished as a businessman that I have learned top to bottom how to manage, how to delegate and how to work with people,” Nordblum said.

Republican Lori Mills of Simi Valley said she had worked as a real estate agent specializing in high-end properties for 25 years and that economic problems were part of the reason she was running for the assembly.

“Honestly, I just think we need to lower taxes for our citizens,” Mills said. “I’ve seen tons of my clients leave the state because of the high cost of living. Personally, I would like to audit the state. I would like to know where the money is going and I want to find ways to reduce the cost of living for families.

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