The 20th Congressional District Covers the Salinas Valley, Monterey Bay and much of the mountain ranges surrounding them. Both candidates have served in the armed forces. The end of the Farr era has provided an opportunity for a real campaign between two qualified candidates not just placeholders.
We sent two questions to the two candidates, Casey Lucius and Jimmy Panetta. Here are the questions and their answers.
1) What economic incentives for the small businessmen, including farmers, would you fight for in Congress?
Casey Lucius: One of the main themes I hear from local business owners and employers is that our businesses are being crushed by excessive regulation. There are licensing fees, taxes, labor laws, environmental regulations, health care mandates, inspections, a rising minimum wage, a new over-time law for farm workers, and the list goes on.
As a US Representative, I cannot directly control the mandates coming from State government, but I will be an advocate for businesses and agriculture at the national level. One bill I support is the Small Business Sunset Regulatory Act which considers the economic impact that regulations have on businesses. I support efficient regulation that enables our businesses to be successful, hire more people, pay good wages, and provide the best services to our communities.
Jimmy Panetta: The federal government can do more to help small businesses access talent and grow their companies while reducing the burden of reporting and regulation. I will support and encourage the Small Business Administration’s efforts to provide these businesses with easier access to capital. Moreover, the Affordable Care Act needs significant reform in order for small businesses to offer their employees healthcare and comply with the difficult reporting process.
We must better align federal, state, and local policies to remove duplicative regulation and provide incentives and rewards to small businesses that comply. By making education and training more accessible and affordable and by passing comprehensive immigration reform, we will ensure that we have the necessary and qualified workforce to fill these jobs.
2) How would you help to heal the divide between the parties?
Jimmy Panetta: Washington is deeply divided, but we cannot accept that as unchangeable. I will do everything in my power to renew the bi-partisan collaborative spirit that is necessary to get things done on Capitol Hill. If elected, I will be part of a new generation of representatives that bring fresh ideas, new energy, and independent thinking to Congress.
We know how to build bi-partisan solutions. Here on the Central Coast we do it all the time. As a prosecutor, I come to a mutually beneficial agreement with opposing counsel on a regular basis. Even in Washington, compromise is possible, by building and fostering relationships. It’s been done before and the stakes are far too high for us not to keep trying.
Casey Lucius: I will be a member of the Women’s Caucus which is a bi-partisan caucus made of up women in the House of Representatives. Although women only make up 19% of the members in the House, they pass nearly 60% of the legislation, and they do it with bi-partisan support. I find it very encouraging that women in Washington are getting things done.
They are collaborative and cooperative. The Women’s Caucus is a mechanism to reach across the aisle to find compromise and solutions. As the first woman to ever represent District 20 in Congress, I will be a proud member of the Women’s Caucus to bring strong solutions home to the Central Coast.