Obernolte faces two democratic challengers for assembly – news – vvdailypress.com – victorville, ca gas prices under a dollar


In March, U.S. News & World Report ranked the state, a poor performer in natural and social environment categories, dead last in quality of life. Meanwhile, California has the highest maximum income tax and state sales tax rates and second-highest gas tax in the nation.

Obernolte says its the product of bad policy decisions that must be undone, like Senate Bill 1, colloquially referred to as the gas tax, that is planned to add billions of dollars for transportation funding. He has instead advocated for reversing the practice of diverting funds in existing programs meant for transportation that ultimately go elsewhere.

Obernolte is also championing the Keep California Safe initiative that will fix what ballot proponents view as the problematic residue of recent criminal justice reforms Propositions 47 and 57. It would reclassify as "violent" certain "non-violent" crimes like rape of an unconscious person and sex trafficking of a child, while strengthening penalties for parole violations.

During his first three years, he has had 27 bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, and expects at least another 10 this legislative year — a tally that is more than his two predecessors combined in eight years: "I think that’s indicative of how hard I work at my job," he added, noting how he has built relationships on both sides of the aisle to get it done.

His bills largely focus on government efficiencies and taxpayer protections. Recent ones would add STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) seals to high school diplomas, prohibit fees for veteran designations on driver licenses and increase the number of judges in San Bernardino County.

As the vice chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, Obernolte vowed to fight to eliminate wasteful spending that he said was preventing the state from investing in transportation and in other integral functions of government. He also indicated his optimism that the governor’s legacy bullet-train project would finally be viewed next year as unsustainable and finally halted.

Suggesting there was risk of sounding egotistical, he took ownership of the advocacy to draw a four-year college into the High Desert — an idea that has been recently popular among both Democratic and Republican candidates in differing local state races.

If that plan proves to be too ambitious, he would accept a satellite campus as a compromise. He is also a supporter of a trauma center hospital in the High Desert as recommended recently by a county civil Grand Jury: "Those projects, I think are cornerstone," he said.

Self-described as fiscally conservative, such big-time efforts will be necessary to attract manufacturing and other large-scale industries to the region, according to Markovich, who believed that organized labor — an admittedly "scary term out in the High Desert" — was the right avenue to solve income disparities and to establish a sustainable workforce that can afford to raise a family and buy a home.

As a state lawmaker, he would view his role as an exercise in balance, particularly on environmental issues: "We can’t go all or nothing … It’s counterproductive." To that point, he sees desert lands as deserving of protection, yet mining and recreational activity equally worthy of attention.

Upon retirement following 24 years with a Los Angeles public transportation company, Cisneros felt it would be easy to simply wait for a teenage child to graduate high school and then move to Mexico where she could enjoy the spoils of post-work life: "A feet up on the beach type of vision. But that just wasn’t in the stars for me."

Throughout her career, she has been involved in labor union activities and would push to form pathways to union jobs, because trade is as important as college: "There’s nothing wrong with making $45 an hour as a plumber." Like Markovich, she is also a proponent of a four-year university and trauma center here.

Admittedly not a refined politician, which she sees as a positive, Cisneros describes herself as a staunch environmentalist, against controversial projects by Cadiz to pump groundwater to the southland and Nestle’s extraction of groundwater.

Cisneros also supports universal health care and views her political affiliation — not a progressive, per se, "because that just kind of turns people off, but I hold to Democratic values" — as a significant advantage in the Democrat-dominated legislature.

Ultimately, she doesn’t see being a political novice as a hindrance: "I care about the people and I know the struggle. I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. Politics is not a career for me. I want to make changes that will affect my community positively."