The race for representative of California’s first congressional district is a crowded one.
Republican incumbent Doug LaMalfa, who is hoping for a fourth term, is running on the platform that helped him win his last three races handily.
In the 2016 general election LaMalfa raked in 59 percent of the vote, but only won Nevada County by 500. In 2014, LaMalfa walked away victorious after winning 61 percent of votes, beating opponent Heidi Hall in her home county by nearly a thousand votes.
LaMalfa has long been an opponent of single-payer health care and has dismissed climate change advocates, stating that biomass is a renewable energy that would create jobs.
He has been vocal in his support of President Trump’s efforts to implement travel bans for specific countries, saying that illegal immigration is detrimental to the country as a whole.
“If you don’t have border control, you really don’t have anything,” LaMalfa told constituents at a town hall meeting in March 2017.
IN THE RUNNING
Following the 2016 elections, women and minorities created a movement around making their voices heard and standing up for their beliefs. The first Women’s March held on President Trump’s inauguration day became a worldwide protest to advocate legislation and policies regarding human and women’s rights, immigration reform, and health care.
After this uprising, LaMalfa finds himself running against a group that includes three women, all of whom are running for the first time.
Out of Plumas County, democrat Marty Walters is focused not just on the economy, but on the impact that the downslide of the timber industry has had on north state residents and businesses.
“The most pressing issue in our district is the fact that our economy has stagnated over many decades and that’s mainly because the forestry industry has gone way down,” Walters said. “There’s more tech, fewer people employed, and timber towns are disappearing,” she said.
“My biggest priority is in revitalizing the timber industry (by making) the region attractive to companies who do forestry and timber products, and in a way that will respond to California Climate program.”
The youngest of the candidates, Chico’s Audrey Denney said that over the course of her campaign she has had the chance to meet with many citizens, and the common thread is that they are being affected by the stagnant economy.
“Ninety-nine percent of the district is rural,” Denney said. “I see my role as working to reinvigorate our rural economies through investing in sustainable (practices) and infrastructure, making sure we are investing in the community college system, thinking through innovative ways to boost and enhance our rural economies, and improving the quality of life for everyone who lives here.”
Jessica Holcombe feels that the biggest issue facing District 1 is Doug LaMalfa himself.
“We’ve watched this district be run into the ground by the old boys network and everyone is getting fed up,” Holcombe said. “Hearing from both republicans and democrats, they don’t like (that he) votes for his own interests. People like LaMalfa are not giving us a hand up but trying to pull the rug out from under us,” she continued.
“The solution is to fight for affordable health care, and put a tax bill in place that benefits majority of Americans – not just the richest one percent.”
Lone Green Party candidate Lewis Elbinger of Mt. Shasta agrees that the economy is troublesome for the district, and contends that the unequal distribution of wealth and power is of great concern.
“We live in the richest country in the history of the world,” said Elbinger, “but that reality means little because much of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals.”
“The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time.”
NOT THEIR FIRST RODEO
This will be the third attempt by democrat David Peterson to secure the seat.
Peterson said the most important issue in the district is the economy and jobs. He said if elected, he would cut both establishment Democrats’ and establishment Republicans’ spending of our tax dollars on their own interests.
“I will bring economic growth to our district with investments in wind, solar and infrastructure renewal,” said Peterson. “I will champion Medicare for all (and) single-payer (health care) which will reduce overall health care costs and put an end to families losing everything to a healthcare crisis.”
Republican Gregory Cheadle – who is running for the seat for the fourth time – agreed the primary problem is that of economics, not just on a federal level but a state level as well.
“(District 1) is a desert with respect to jobs,” Cheadle explained. “It’s hard to address because Trump has already eliminated some regulations, but I would have to use my influence in Congress to speak with captains of industry and try to encourage them to move into this district.”
Incumbent LaMalfa, too, expressed his concern on the state of the economy and said he is working to improve our rural economy though numerous efforts including tax cuts, expanding infrastructure, reducing over-burdensome regulations and improving rural healthcare.
“I helped write and pass tax cuts for individuals and local businesses so citizens keep more of their income and businesses have more flexibility,” LaMalfa said.
“I am proud to support cutting overly complicated regulations that hinder our ability to build infrastructure and make choices free from government coercion on how we choose to live, farm and do business.”
Going in to the June 5 primary election the candidates are gearing up for what promises to be a closely watched race. District 1 serves eleven counties between Nevada County and the California/Oregon border. The June 5 primary will determine which two candidates will move on to the November ballots, when voters will decide on the ultimate victor.
The candidates recently took time to address questions posed to them in order to get to know each better. The hopefuls were asked what they consider to be the greatest issue facing the county, and how they would address that issue if elected.
DOUG LAMALFA (incumbent) – R
The most pressing issue facing our district is the need for good jobs and economic growth.
I am working to improve our rural economy though numerous efforts including: tax cuts, expanding infrastructure, reducing over-burdensome regulations and improving rural healthcare.
I helped write and pass tax cuts for individuals and local businesses so citizens keep more of their income and businesses have more flexibility. The typical district 1 family earning in the mid $50,000 range will save over $1,600 in 2018 due to tax cuts. I am proud to support cutting overly complicated regulations that hinder our ability to build infrastructure and make choices free from government coercion on how we choose to live, farm and do business.
Finally, we need a healthcare system that works and is affordable for people to choose to live and grow opportunities in our rural district.
AUDREY DENNEY – D
I have had the opportunity for the last 5 months to travel all over the district and meet with folks in all eleven counties of beautiful district , and I have seen a lot of common threads and the one that has woven its way (into all the communities).
For me the common thread is the stagnant rural economy. 99 percent of the district is rural. As your representative I see my role as working to reinvigorating our rural economies through investing in sustainable (practices), infrastructure, making sure we are investing in the community college system, thinking through innovative ways to boost and enhance our rural economies and improve the quality of life for everyone who lives here.
There are good people at the county level working to make their communities good places but there aren’t resources there to allow them to do the work. (We have) understaffed correctional facilities, superintendents who have to hire social workers and school psychologists but they don’t have the budget to do that. Budgets are dwindling.
MARTY WALTERS – D
The most pressing issue in our congressional district is the fact that our economy has stagnated over many decades and that’s mainly because the forestry industry has gone way down. There’s more tech, fewer people employed, and timber towns are disappearing. Stores and restaurants in those towns start to disappear too. We are seeing towns across our region disappear.
My biggest priority is in revitalizing the industry (by making) the region attractive to companies who do forestry and timber products, and in a way that will respond to California Climate program.
My main goal is to get that initiative going and that will include identifying fire and wood smoke as a pollutant, and putting money towards reducing fire risk and address public health risk caused by wildfire. It’s a really significant problem.
It’s about giving the right kind of financial incentives to bring back timber industry to our region, not just traditional sawmills, but all these industries using tech for bioplastic, can help replace petroleum in our economy with wood products.
GREGORY CHEADLE – R
The primary problem is that of economics, and a lot of that is not federal but state.
(District 1) is a dessert with respect to jobs that are here. It’s hard to address because Trump has already eliminated some regulations, but I would have to use my influence in Congress to use that to speak with captains of industry and try to encourage them to move into this district. You’ll have to be able to speak with CEO’s and encourage them, which is pretty easy to do because housing is affordable in the district. Looking at the Bay Area, it’s woefully unaffordable. People there are making six-figure incomes and can’t afford a home. It would be a great inducement to have a company offer affordable housing to its employees; it’s good for the workers and for their morale.
LEWIS ELBINGER – Green Party
Hometown: Mt. Shasta
The most pressing issue facing the district and the entire country is the inequitable distribution of wealth and power.
Today, we live in the richest country in the history of the world, but that reality means little because much of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals.
The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time.
The reality is that since the mid-1980s there has been an enormous transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the wealthiest people in this country.
That is the Robin Hood principle in reverse. That is unacceptable and that has got to change.
If elected, I will work with the Congressional Progressive Caucus to implement the following programs: true tax reform, increasing the federal minimum wage, reversing trade policies like NAFTA, youth jobs programs, enact paycheck fairness, tuition free college and university, expanding social security, Medicare for all, and regulation of financial institutions.
DAVID PETERSON – D
Hometown: Grass Valley
The most important issue for our district is the economy & jobs. When elected, I will cut both establishment democrats and establishment republicans’ spending of our tax dollars on their Washington, D.C. cronies.
I will bring economic growth to our district with investments in wind, solar & infrastructure renewal.
I will champion Medicare for all / single-payer (health care) which will reduce overall health care costs and put an end to families losing everything to a healthcare crisis.
The greatest risk and concern for voters in our district is replacing our incumbent crook with a corporate establishment democrat. They sound good but promises are hallow,do-nothing statements or simply mention policies already in place.
I am the extreme progressive democrat in this congressional race, completely independent of the establishment. Plus I have a fiscal conservative edge that focuses on cutting corrupt crony spending of democrats and republicans in Washington, D.C.