This one Republican, Mark Meuser (Moy-zer), won the 2012 primary to challenge DeSaulnier on his lock-step support for every Democratic cause in Sacramento, which have impoverished education and business opportunities for East Bay Californians. Born in Huntington Beach, but raised in states all over the country, Meuser has diverse business, legal, and political experience. From serving as chief of staff for a Republican lawmaker in Missouri, to representing small businesses as a lawyer today, Meuser shared with me his goals for his district, and his plans to help his prospective constituents.
You ran against DeSaulnier in 2012. What did you learn from that race to help with your special election?
I know the district and what people are thinking in the district.
What are the issues most important to these East Bay voters?
Education. When it comes to education, there is a big portion of the district which is for charter schools, because they are tired of failing schools. There is a portion of the district which is really well off, and want the best schools for their kids. There are also regional issues within the district. Far east Contra Costa is a dead end district in transportation, and it's huge for them. They have to commute an hour and a half to get to work, two hours a day, one way. And that's just one way.
What about the BART transit strikes?
I am against BART strikes, I am against any government employee being allowed to strike. It's just not right. There are some city workers ready to strike in Concord. I said "this is not right,"" Any public employee who is a civil servant should not be allowed to strike.
When will the election take place?
DeSaulnier has not resigned yet, but we anticipate it will happen sometime in December. The election will take place next year, sometime in March.
Who are the candidates running for the race?
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord). She supported the bullet train. Whatever you want to call it, train to nowhere.
The other candidate?
Are you the only Republican?
I am the only Republican in the race. The Alameda and Contra Costa Central Committees are supporting me. They have not yet endorsed, but individuals have donated to my campaign.
Those two assembly candidates are your biggest challengers?
Those are the two names, and the reason is that both have opened up state senate candidate. Both were intending to run in 2016, when Desaulnier was termed out. Nobody else has opened up a 2016 account, besides myself, There are only three people serious about the race at this point.
Susan and I are actively fundraising.
What other issues are you concerned about?
What are your views on the Second Amendment? What did you think of the recent Ninth Circuit Court decision expanding concealed carry permits to California residents?
I think the 9th Circuit hit the nail on the head. They are following the case law established in DC, by the Heller decision. The Second Amendment protects the rights of the people, which the Bill of the Rights is designed to protect.
What is your stance on abortion?
Issue of abortion is a very toxic issues which everyone has an opinion about, but has not been an issue that the legislature has taken up in years. It is an issue which the media uses to divide the people. What my position is on the abortion issue will not change the problem with our underperforming schools, the disrepair of our roads, or fix the broken pension system that could soon bankrupt our state.
What are your thoughts about a law recently passed which would permit non-physicians to conduct abortions?
I found it humorous that the same people who say we need safe access to abortions now promote a concept that we need to allow nurses to be allowed to do abortions, Nurses who have not gone through all the years of medial training and residency requirements that a doctor has had to go through.You would not go to a nurse and expect the nurse to do brain surgery on you. Nurses should not be doing surgery procedures on patients. It just does not make any sense at all.
My issue on same-sex marriage is that this problem has been created by the government. For centuries upon centuries, the intuition of marriage was a religious one. When our country began, it was fully religious institution. With the advent of the IRS and income taxes, and the government, using taxes to promote families, it created a problem that we are facing today, in that government has co-opted something that really was in the religious scheme of things. It has created a problem that never had to be created.
What did you learn from your experience as a chief of staff for a legislator in Missouri?
My legislator had been carrying workers' comp reform for years. My job was to draft and usher through that workers' comp bill to passage. Rather than going right to the business community, I talked to all the concerned partners, I figure that rather than just write a bill that was one sided, I wanted to understand everybody's concern. I demonstrated my ability to listen to all sides, and think outside the box, that all sides could, to take care of as many problems as were there.
This issue will raise its ugly head again in California. We have the highest workers comp rates in the nation. I just saw an article in the Sacramento Bee about this.
What specific red tape are you interested in cutting?
Schools don't have enough money to educate our kids. We need to really take a serious look how much we spend on middle management government bureaucratic administration. The more we reduce Sacramento’s bureaucratic influence over our school districts the more money goes to the teacher and offers the student the same world-class education that we gave back in the 1960s and 1970s.
Do unions play a role in the poor education our kids are receiving?
I complete support the Vergara decision. Teachers unions are completely against it. I understand why they're against it. I think the laws that were challenged were unreasonable.I agree with the judge that these laws were unconstitutional, especially as they were applied, and how they have affected lower income neighborhoods.
Under the old system before the Vergara decision, a school district couldn't fire the bad teacher, without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Recently, there was a bad teacher in Los Angeles who the school decided not to terminate because of the cost. Now they are forced to pay 139 million in a settlement. Where is the money coming out of? Our student's education. That is money we cannot spend on our kids.
In the first week, we raised $20,000 from a hundred donors. Right now, it' the support of We the People. That's who we need representing us in Sacramento. We the People have very few representatives who are interested in the best of the people.
What would be the first law, bill that you would propose? What would be a priority?
A Bill in regards to education reform would be my focus -- eliminate bureaucracy coming out of Sacramento. We already are spending a lot of money getting into mid-level management.
What about Prop 13?
I support Prop 13 in its entirety. Government needs to learn to start cutting its program that it can no longer afford. Prop 13 forces government to leave within its means, the way that you and I do. We have only so much money coming our way. Government has been getting greedy. Pension problems.
Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?
The only thing we did not talk about is pensions. My only point in pensions is that we keep going down the path we are going, we are going to reach a point where we can't fulfill the promises we made to people. We have to do serious pension reforms, not just say were going to do but actually do some. There's some tough decisions that will have to be made.
|State Senate District 7 (Contra Costa and Alameda Counties)|