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Business Community: Why Runner gets SCV business’ nod

SCV Voices

Posted: February 6, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 6, 2011 1:55 a.m.

In the Feb. 15 special election for the state’s 17th Senatorial District seat, we urge you to vote to for Republican Sharon Runner.

We do so not because of partisan politics, but because her proven track record demonstrates that she’s the best individual for the job.

After six years in the state Assembly, Runner has shown herself to be the friend of small business — the one and only engine that can drive our economy out of the current recession, create new jobs and lift our state out of debt without imposing recovery-stifling new taxes.

Runner is dead set against new taxes. She recognizes that what it takes to get America back on its feet is more jobs, not more taxes.

Greater tax burdens sap small businesses of the ability to add employees. Creating jobs is the solution to moving this country out of the Great Recession — and the solution to the state’s economic downturn, Runner noted in a recent debate.

More employees on payrolls mean more income taxes paid to the state. Regulation and business-stifling taxes, including the Global Warming Solutions Act, mean businesses will be unable to hire new employees.

The cycle of higher taxes and higher unemployment will never allow California to crawl out of its budget-busting spending hole.

Runner’s vision for a recovery is sound; Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke agrees that no recovery will be realized until unemployment rates are cut significantly.

Runner’s opponent for the state Senate 17th District seat, Democrat Darren Parker, favors extending existing tax increases, and he will not take a stand against newer, higher taxes.

Runner’s understanding of economic recovery is more than theoretical: She is a successful small-business owner who has walked her talk.

She and her husband, George Runner — who recently vacated the 17th Senatorial District seat for higher office — own a successful private school in the Antelope Valley. In addition, Sharon Runner founded a successful public relations and marketing firm in the High Desert.

While serving six years in the state Assembly beginning in 2002, Runner worked closely with the governor’s office and business leaders to successfully reform California’s workers compensation system. The reforms reduced impossibly high rates for businesses and helped bring insurers back to California.

With a focus on public safety, education and children’s issues, Runner also successfully authored Proposition 83, Jessica’s Law, creating tough new sexual-predator regulations.

After leaving the Assembly, Runner served on the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board reviewing dozens of unemployment cases a day.

That experience, she said, brought home the plight of the unemployed, and made her more determined to help create jobs in California.

Among the many agencies and individuals that have endorsed Sharon Runner is the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Advantage of experience
While Sharon Runner’s Assembly district did not take in the Santa Clarita Valley, the 17th Senatorial District encompasses most of the SCV, along with the Antelope Valley and portions of San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

Both Senate candidates live in the Antelope Valley. But it is Sharon Runner who has ventured here in the past, and who is familiar with our representatives and our issues.

Our current Assemblyman, Cameron Smyth, who served this valley as an aide to George Runner’s predecessor, counts Sharon Runner among his close friends.

Like the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Smyth has endorsed Sharon Runner — as have many public safety, education and business associations, including the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.

When Sharon Runner arrives in Sacramento, she won’t need a seating chart and a map to the Capitol washrooms.
In fact, she will be among colleagues when she takes the 17th District Senatorial seat.

Many of the senators currently serving in Sacramento were people she worked with, grappled with, negotiated with and eventually came to an agreement with as an assemblywoman and their peer.

This offers her a tremendous advantage over a newcomer.

Another tremendous advantage Runner would enjoy over Parker is the seasoned administrative staff of her husband standing ready to continue their work, should she be elected.

The value of such experience is hard to overstate — especially since the winning candidate will be entering the office part-way through the term already begun by George Runner.

Economic supporter
Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed eliminating both enterprise zones and redevelopment agencies — two engines by which municipal governments can help drive their economies.

Such a move would be devastating for cities.

Redevelopment agencies can eliminate blight and revitalize decaying areas, while enterprise zones provide a means to hire the hard-to-employ and help build strong business communities that, in turn, pay taxes to support local and state coffers.

Santa Clarita and communities in the Antelope Valley have used these two economic-development options to great effect.

A plan to expand Santa Clarita’s enterprise zone to take in portions of the unincorporated valley would die on the drawing board if Brown’s plan is approved.

Runner has pledged never to approve a state budget that eliminates these means for growing local economies.

At the same time, she recognizes that enterprise zones and redevelopment agencies are abused by some municipalities.

She called for more transparency in spending to weed out “bad apple” agencies.

Such a compromise would be a win-win for both state and municipal governments. Sharon Runner’s experience makes her the right choice to negotiate it.

Runner’s experience, track record both in and outside the Legislature, her familiarity with Sacramento politics and stalwart support of business, along with her commitment to add jobs in the Golden State, make her the obvious choice for the 17th Senatorial District seat in the Feb. 15 special election.

This column represents the views of concerned Santa Clarita Valley business leaders, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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