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Who to choose in the 19th District

Local Commentary

Posted: July 8, 2008 1:16 a.m.
Updated: September 8, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
As a more-than-casual observer of local and regional politics, there are few candidates who have impressed me more than Hannah-Beth Jackson, the Democratic candidate for state Senate in the 19th District.

The 19th Senate District's eastern boundary is like a jigsaw puzzle piece that includes all of the Santa Clarita Valley west of Interstate 5 and south of Highway 126.

It also includes voters living between McBean and Decoro south to Calgrove and Wiley Canyon.
Finally it forms a peninsula that has Soledad on the north, Placerita Creek on the south and the Santa Clarita activities and aquatic center on the east.

More than 30,000 Santa Clarita Valley voters reside in the 19th District, including anyone who lives in or near Santa Clarita City Hall, The Signal, Auto Row, and much of Valencia.

Most of Hannah-Beth Jackson's district lies west of our valley in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, which means the voter difference between Democrats and Republicans is less than two percentage points.

That, combined with a higher-than-normal expected turnout for Democrats in the November election, just might surprise the local Republican establishment with an elected Democrat representing a significant part of our valley.

Not only does Ms. Jackson have the numbers to make her race winnable, she has the experience, talent and commitment to gain bipartisan support.

Hannah-Beth Jackson served three terms in the Assembly and sponsored and passed many pieces of legislation. She knows how to get things accomplished and she knows the system.

Most of us in the SCV are highly committed to improving educational opportunities for children. So is Jackson - she is supported by the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, which represents educators at all school levels in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties.

Jackson believes that California's children must have access to a free, appropriate, high-quality public education from preschool through grade 12. She also feels that we should invest in our California university systems and return them to their former esteem.

She thinks that cutting funds from school budgets, firing teachers and increasing class size are not an intelligent way to close the state budget gap.

As you probably know, California spends less per pupil than most states, and some people in Sacramento want us to should spend even less.

How can we succeed as a state if we produce less educated young people? How can businesses grow and excel if they can't hire the best and the brightest? Jackson knows the challenges and will fight them head on.

One way Jackson hopes to generate state funds is to close tax loopholes for those who don't need them, including the yacht tax loophole, loopholes for gas-guzzling vehicles owned by businesses, tax breaks for racehorses used for breeding, tax breaks for oil companies that extract our oil.

I agree, let's address these loopholes for the rich and create a top-tier educational system. We do not have to increase property taxes to ensure that our schools work.

Jackson has received an impressive number of major public service honors in the area of education, including the California Teacher's Association Outstanding Public Official Award (2001), the California Association for the Education of Young Children's Legislative Award (2004), Principal's Award Certificate
(2003), the California Association for the Education of Young Children (2003), California Congress of Parents, Teachers and Students Inc. (2002), California School Employees Association (2000), Child Development Policy Advisory Committee (2000).

Hannah-Beth Jackson also has strong public positions on health care security, public safety, the environment and consumer protection. Anyone who wants to learn more about her background and positions can go to Jackson4Senate.com.

When candidate Jackson was in the valley a couple of weeks ago, I was amazed at how adroitly she worked the crowds wherever she went.

Everyone was so impressed with her knowledge on regional and local issues and her commitment to represent the people in the SCV. She took questions from Democrats, Republicans and independents and seemed to garner support with all of them.

Hannah-Beth Jackson is a legislator that actually thinks she is supposed to do something for the people she represents. She is definitely a post-partisan personality who puts the people before the party.

The 19th state Senate race is one of the most contested and highly watched races in the state this year. I hope every voter in the valley will take some time to find out more about this outstanding woman.

Todd Hoover is a Castaic resident and is active in several local Democratic clubs. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.

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