Who will represent the South Shore in D.C.? | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Who will represent the South Shore in D.C.?

Jeff Munson

Photo illustration by Jonah M. KesselSouth Shore voters will choose a representative for U.S. Congress in next week's election.

In his hopes to fill the seat of retiring 4th Congressional District Rep. John Doolittle, Southern California lawmaker Tom McClintock took a chance by putting his hat into the ring.

Though he lives in Ventura County, California law allows him to run for the Northern California congressional seat. In fact, according to the California secretary of state, all that is required of congressional candidates is that they are at least 25 years of age, a U.S. citizen for seven years and a resident of California when elected.

“There are no residency requirements for candidates for U.S. Representative in Congress,” according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Yet the Thousand Oaks conservative, who lived in Rocklin from 1993 to 1996, says he knows that, in the end, it doesn’t matter where you came from, it is whether you can represent the district the way the people want it represented.

The traditionally conservative 4th Congressional District, which includes El Dorado County, has seen a shift, however, in voting trends. In 2006, Doolittle, a conservative Republican, narrowly beat Charlie Brown by 3 percentage points. In prior elections, Doolittle had won by double-digit margins.

McClintock’s brand of fiscal and social conservatism has its backers, and that’s why the legislator decided he was the man to represent the district.

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Regarding the war in Iraq, he said he would not have supported it and was disappointed in the way it was handled. He said he supports the surge of troops, however, now that we are there.

McClintock has been a lawmaker for 22 years in the Golden State, including an unsuccessful run for governor in 2003 against Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was first elected to the California Assembly at 26. He served in the Assembly from 1982 to 1992 and again from 1996 to 2000. In 2000, McClintock was elected to the California State Senate.

McClintock has twice received the Republican nomination for the office of State Controller, narrowly missing election in 2002 by the closest margin in California history – 0.23 of 1 percent of the votes cast. McClintock currently serves in the state Senate as vice chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He also serves on the Senate committees on Energy and Public Utilities, Banking, Commerce and International Trade, Labor and Industrial Relations and Constitutional Amendments.

McClintock and his wife, Lori, have two children, Shannah and Justin.

On the issues, here’s where McClintock stands:

TRPA

The agency tasked with the environmental health of Lake Tahoe has been the target of California conservatives and property-rights backers. Doolittle had advocated the abolishment of the organization. McClintock said it wouldn’t “take much to talk me into abolishing it.”

He lays blame on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for creating tree-removal policies that fueled the Angora fire. While tree-removal programs were in place before the fire in an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, McClintock takes issue with the size of trees that are permitted for removal. Proper management of federal forests and lands needs to be a top priority, he says.

“The Angora fire proved that an overbearing federal bureaucracy will put your property and lives in danger. Reducing the bureaucracy and returning management of federal lands to the local communities will improve the situation dramatically,” he said.

Economy

McClintock would not have voted for the $700 billion bailout, he said, which was a fundamental mistake in that the money could have been available to help banks and lenders make “good loans.” Those loans could have gone to small business and tax cuts.

The crisis was in part because of the housing bubble that was created by risky loans. To reverse the damage, McClintock says there needs to be a tight grip on the nation’s monetary supply.

McClintock proposes a sweeping reduction in the size of the federal government. “We need to implement a federal spending limit and to cut out all of the waste and mismanagement of the federal government,” he said.

Regarding taxes, McClintock says he wants to make the Bush tax cuts of 2003 permanent.

Saying tourism is the most recession-sensitive segment of the national economy, McClintock offered the Lake Tahoe Basin sympathy and said providing corporation tax cuts would provide incentive to create jobs.

Energy

McClintock stands firm about the need for offshore drilling for oil. He says the “great ironies” of the nation’s energy policies are that coal and nuclear power haven’t been on the table. He also is against subsidizing corn production for ethanol, which he counters is not efficient given that it takes 1 acre of corn to produce 350 gallons of ethanol.

In California, this would translate to about 5 million acres specifically for ethanol. He said there are only 11 million acres of cropland available for agriculture in the state.

This, in turn, hurts food production, which “is now being reflected in our grocery prices,” he said.

To solve the energy demands, McClintock said the best way the nation can overcome its energy crisis is to “allow the free market to decide and get the government out of the way.”

As for as global warming, he doesn’t believe the Earth is warming because of manmade emissions.

He has canvassed South Lake Tahoe at least four times since winning the Democratic nomination this summer. Charlie Brown doesn’t want to take any vote for granted.

Brown, who came within 3 percentage points of upsetting Republican stalwart John Doolittle in the 4th Congressional District in 2006, says the politics of partisan division are tearing at the fabric of the country, and he’s the one to put an end to it.

Brown said that if elected, his first priority would be to “start talking to Republicans, the other people across the aisle” – especially on economic matters.

“There must be bipartisanship when it comes to the economy and jobs,” he told a group of South Lake Tahoe supporters last month.

As the nation continues to fight an unpopular war in Iraq, Brown has held steadfast in his belief that the war never should have been fought, that the focus while at war is to make sure the combat soldiers have the equipment and manpower they need, and the veterans have benefits when they return.

Brown is endorsed by Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland and former NATO Commander Gen. Wesley Clark. He supports increased funding for the Veterans Administration, and he donates 5 percent of all campaign contributions he receives to charities that serve veterans in need.

The 26-year Air Force lieutenant colonel was involved in military conflicts from Vietnam to Desert Storm. As a rescue-helicopter pilot based in Thailand at the end of the Vietnam War, Brown participated in the evacuations of Saigon, Phnom Penh and the infamous Mayaguez Incident – for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war, Brown transitioned to fixed-wing aircraft and worked gathering intelligence.

Brown retired from the Air Force in 1998. In 1996, he was elected chairman of the supervisory committee of a $5 million credit union in Roseville.

He earned his California teaching credential and spent eight years on the professional staff of the Roseville Police Department. He was elected to two terms as vice president of the Roseville Police Association and has advocated for veterans rights.

Brown is married and his wife, Jan, also served in the Air Force as a nurse. Their son, Jeff, is an Air Force captain who soon will serve his fifth rotation in Iraq, and their daughter, Stacey, is a recent graduate of the University of California, Irvine. The Browns live in Roseville.

Here’s what Brown has to say on the issues:

Economy

Brown, a fiscal conservative, calls for balancing the federal budget. He emphasizes bipartisan cooperation, describing himself as loyal to his country, not to a political party. When it comes to the district, Brown has a number of incentives to help boost the region’s economy and outlined them for the Tahoe Daily Tribune’s sister newspaper, The Union of Grass Valley.

“Our region has abundant renewable energy, water and agriculture, a major thoroughfare for interstate commerce and recreational areas that draw visitors from across the world,” Brown said.

His priorities for boosting the economy:

— Expanding tax incentives for production of wind, solar, hydro and biomass energy.

— Easing restrictions on logging so we can responsibly thin our forests and reduce the threat of wildfire.

— Reauthorizing the Secure Rural Schools Act to ensure stable funding for our schools and infrastructure projects.

— Supporting Sierra streambed restoration and improvements to existing dams and water treatment facilities.

— Preserving Lake Tahoe and promoting recreational and tourism opportunities.

War in Iraq

Winning the war against terrorism means ending the war in Iraq, he says. Brown says he will bring the troops home from Iraq and ensure they are properly equipped before redeployment. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left an already underresourced Veterans Administration in a state of crisis, he contends. Brown will work to ensure veterans receive quality health care and support services.

Energy

Brown says America’s energy policies and dependence on foreign oil have fueled the war in Iraq and influenced national security. He said he would lead efforts to ensure the government works toward energy independence.

In August, Brown released a six-point energy plan that calls for spending $100 billion over seven years to develop alternate sources of power.

The plan also would close tax loopholes for oil companies, which the Democrat said would generate $18 billion per year for incentives for companies to develop renewable sources of energy. It would give consumers a $5,000 tax credit for purchasing hybrid cars or solar panels.

Domestic issues

A social moderate, Brown’s other top priorities include: protecting Social Security; keeping American jobs at home; stopping out-of-control deficit spending; strengthening national security while bringing the war in Iraq to a quick and secure resolution; supporting strong, safe schools; ensuring clean water and air; investing in alternative energy; and making good health care accessible to everyone.

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