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GOP needs more Stricklands and Smyths

Posted: December 7, 2008 5:37 p.m.
Updated: December 8, 2008 4:30 a.m.
 
"Show me a young conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains."
- attributed to Winston Churchill (variant)

As a young conservative person, living in a (still) conservative town in a not-so-conservative state, I truly appreciate when a young conservative leader emerges from the pack to do something exceptional.
It inspires me and restores my faith in the system.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest knocks on the Republican Party in the last few years has been that the young leadership of the GOP isn't stepping up the way it should.

Here in Santa Clarita, we are the exception to this rule, though, because we have not one, but two exceptional young Republican talents representing us in Sacramento - Sen. Tony Strickland and Assemblyman Cameron Smyth - who have both heart and brains at an early age.

Explain that, Mr. Churchill!

After a brutal, grueling campaign, Sen. Strickland emerged victorious in his battle against Hannah-Beth Jackson for the 19th Senatorial District seat vacated by Tom McClintock.

Unlike most other races in the state, Sen. Strickland's campaign didn't end Nov. 4.

Rather, it wasn't until almost four weeks later, when all of the absentee and provisional ballots had been counted, that Jackson finally conceded. Strickland was sworn in with the rest of his colleagues on Dec. 1.

Strickland and his wife, Audra, (who happens to represent the 37th Assembly District) were amazing campaigners.

They personally walked nearly every precinct, called thousands of constituents and attended every major event in a huge district for the six months leading up to the general election.

The campaign support staff and volunteers knew the election would be close, so the days leading up to the election were filled with a tremendous outpouring of support from communities throughout the district.

Their diligence and hard work paid off. With a total margin of victory of only 1,216 votes out of more than 406,000 cast (according to the Secretary of State), all of those handshakes and phone calls proved to be worthwhile!

Assemblyman Cameron Smyth also emerged victorious on Nov. 4, although his race was not nearly as close as Sen. Strickland's.

After he was sworn in for his second term as assemblyman for our 38th Assembly District (which includes most of the Santa Clarita Valley), Smyth was appointed as the Assembly Republican Caucus Chair, which is the second-highest-ranking position in the party's leadership!

Smyth's contributions during his first term were impressive, especially considering Republicans are seriously outnumbered in the Assembly.

Smyth took it upon himself to reach across the aisle, to work cooperatively, and succeeded in passing several pieces of legislation that: provide greater access for handicapped individuals, encourage the development of green-collar jobs and use of solar energy as an alternative fuel source, and protect our children from predators.

Sen. Strickland and Assemblyman Smyth may only be two of the 120 voices in Sacramento, but they have proven to be strong advocates for Republican causes and this community, and they continue to stand for what they believe is right.

Too few young leaders have shown the fortitude and integrity that these two men have demonstrated. I hope other future leaders of this community, state and nation are inspired by these examples and become more involved - and if those young leaders happen to be Republican, all the better!

Brian Koegle is a Santa Clarita Valley attorney. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right Here, Right Now" runs Mondays in The Signal and rotates among local Republican writers.

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