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Wilk, Headington on same page

Debate for 38th District Assembly seat reveals much agreement among the candidates

Posted: August 22, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 22, 2012 2:00 a.m.

38th Assembly District candidates Edward Headington, left, and Scott Wilk, right, speak at the Valley Indistrial Association luncheon at the Valencia Country Club on Tuesday.

The 2012 fall election got off to an early start Tuesday when contenders for the 38th District Assembly seat squared off in Santa Clarita Valley’s first local debate of the campaign.

Republican Scott Wilk and Democrat Edward Headington who, during the primary, often agreed on many issues and commented on the common ground they shared, emerged from a short hot summer and instantly began ... agreeing.

At a sold-out luncheon debate Tuesday billed by the Valley Industry Association as “Assembly Unscripted,” the two contenders went head-to-head on the issues affecting Californians.

And, while it may have been billed as “unscripted” by its hosts, many of Santa Clarita Valley’s movers and shakers attending the debate, eating their fist-sized Greek salads and chicken breasts, would have recognized the same scripted speeches they heard during the primary.

Wilk focused on returning California to the business-friendly state it was in days of old.

Headington focused on creating jobs, improving education and protecting public safety.

“Like many here, including the gentleman at my table (Wilk), I’m troubled with what’s happening — or not happening — in Sacramento,” Headington said in his opening remarks. “The toxic partisanship and the political dysfunction has got to end.”

“I’m sick and tired of the bickering and sick and tired of the finger-pointing,” he said. “We need more problem-solvers and bridge-builders in Sacramento.”

Wilk opened with the same criticism of decision-makers in the state’s capital, pointing out that they are Democrats.

Both argued for a changing of the state’s legislative guard, Wilk calling for “building relationships” as a non-partisan way of affecting change and Headington calling for “purple” Democrats as a business-friendly alternative to Democrats governing now.

Wilk opened by thanking his wife, Vanessa, for her help during his primary campaign.

“We have this dynamic economy but there’s a complete disconnect between the people in California who are some of hardest working and smartest people in the world and the people in Sacramento,” he said, citing an $18 billion state deficit and the loss of 600,000 manufacturing jobs this past decade.

“We live under one-party rule,” he said. “The Democrats control the constitutional office and they have wide majorities in both Senate and the Assembly but they have been hijacked by special interest.”

If Tuesday’s debate was a boxing match, it was Headington who came out swinging, telling Wilk it takes more than “Facebook friends” to affect change in Sacramento referring to Wilk’s claim that Democrats are among his Facebook friends online.

Wilk took the jabs in stride, knowing Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than a five percent margin among those registered to vote in the 38th District.

There were more groans than applause, when Headington attacked Wilk with his version of the now famous “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” quote used by Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Lloyd Bentsen to Republican vice-presidential candidate Senator Dan Quayle during the 1988 United States vice-presidential debate.

“I knew Keith Richman. Keith Richman was a friend of mine. I know Assemblyman Cameron Smyth. Scott, you’re no Cameron Smyth and you’re no Keith Richman.”

The comment was made in response to Wilk’s praise of both Richman — who served the 38th District as Assemblyman from 2000 to 2006 — and Smyth “banging his head against the wall” trying to get legislation passed in a Democrat-led legislative assembly.


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