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Whitman courts SCV voters

Republican candidate for governor, former eBay CEO lays out her views

Posted: October 2, 2009 10:11 p.m.
Updated: October 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO, discusses her candidacy for California governor with a group of Santa Clarita residents in the parking lot of Spirit Properties on Centre Pointe Parkway on Friday afternoon.

 
Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman stopped in Santa Clarita on Friday to talk jobs, immigration and the state of the California economy to a group of 100 vocal supporters who gathered at the business office of a Santa Clarita entrepreneur.

The rally for Whitman, who officially announced her bid for governor on Sept. 22, was held in the parking lot of Spirit Properties, a development company owned by Larry and Peggy Rasmussen.

Peggy Rasmussen helped organize the event.

"She's the solution to our problems," Peggy Rasmussen said about Whitman. "We have to find someone who doesn't want to be a professional politician, who can fix this mess."

Whitman wasted no time speaking out against the state of the California economy and her ideas to rectify the problem.

"We have to put jobs first in California and get people back to work," Whitman said.

Her plan includes a mix of tax cuts and streamlining government and regulations to make California more business-friendly.

"We don't have a revenue problem," she said. "We have a spending problem."

Whitman wants a moratorium on new government regulations until lawmakers can wade through the morass of current government red tape to see what helps businesses and what hurts them.

"Let's stop and take a pause and see what works and what doesn't," she said.

Whitman noted a farmer who was wedged between two apparently conflicting regulations - one told him to recycle water he used on his crops and another demanded he dispose of the water.

"Businesses aren't against regulations, they just want to know which ones to follow," she said.

With the hot sun beaming down on the Santa Clarita Valley, Whitman turned up the heat on the budgeting process in California and labeled the state as bankrupt.

"In the last 10 years, the state budget has grown 80 percent, but California's not 80 percent bigger," she said.

Whitman said overstaffing of civil servants is part of the problem. Her plan would be to reduce the state payroll by 40,000 employees in four years through the attrition of 10,000 state employees who don't perform public safety duties.

To win an election in California, a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans, Whitman said she will need to build a coalition of voters from groups the Republican Party has had little success courting in recent years.

Whitman said she will need support from women, who fled the Republican party in large numbers, voters under 30 years old who voted for President Barack Obama in the 2008 election and Latinos.

"What I have to do is meet with Latinos from all over the state," she said. "We need to talk about jobs, government spending and education."

Whitman recognizes the challenges of attracting Latino voters, many of whom are put off by the Republican Party's stance on immigration. She said there are still plenty of Latinos who stand behind the message of strong borders, holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers and ending the practice of sanctuary cities.

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