The Briefing Room: “To the Liberals at the State Capitol”


My fellow Sierra College students and/or listeners of The Briefing Room, in our democracy, we the people, vote to elect representatives for our busy selves. You may have seen the signs that mean we do have an election this year. For those of you somewhat in tune with our system, you know that it is not an election year. This off cycle special election occuring on March 26th, was called by Governor Gavin Newsom in a move to replace Ted Gaines.

Gaines has finally resigned his seat in the Senate due to his election in 2018 to the Board of Equalization (the focal point is taxes). The ballots for this special election should have been received by all eligible voters by now. The vote is to determine who will be the next Senator for Senate District 1. Now to the more pressing question, who is running exactly? The answer: mostly Republican candidates.

The two gaining the most traction are two Republicans; Assemblyman of the 1st District, Brian Dahle and Assemblyman of the 6th District, Kevin Kiley. Senate District 1 is generally known as a redder area, including Alpine County in the south, Modoc, Siskiyou, Sierra, to Folsom, Lincoln, Rocklin, Granite Bay, and El Dorado Hills. This race is supposed to be determining the future of the Republican party in California, and apparently things can get pretty dirty as many attack ads are being sent out.

Brian Dahle appears to be a total family man, with deep roots in the state; a farmer and a small business owner. Still, he’s no outsider candidate, having served in the California Assembly for six years only after being on the Lassen County Board of Supervisors for 16 years. Claims against him by opponents include granting amnesty for illegal immigrants and to "not propose any additional inhumane immigration policies in the future," claims that he states to be false. Dahle also states that he will be protecting Prop 13, which limits property taxes to 1 percent of the property’s taxes and values, meaning that those who have owned property for a long time should be paying lower taxes than new owners. This of course is definitely favorable legislation in the eyes of an older, fiscally conservative demographic.

Kevin Kiley does not hold this amount of experience in California’s legislature, having a unique set of qualifications. Kiley attended Harvard as well as Yale Law School, was a teacher within the controversial Teach For America program for a couple years, and served as Deputy Attorney General. According to one of the interns for Kevin Kiley, Dahle has hired campaign consultants that Kiley’s opponent during his bid for Assembly in 2016 had hired. They had sent out attack ads to registered Republicans claiming that Kevin Kiley is pro same sex marriage, and questioned his sexuality. In 2019, most people don’t consider that a valid argument, but to the Republican constituents who overwhelmingly deemed the Democrats having too much power and border security as top issues, the attack ad these same campaign consultants sent this year may hit home. The attack claims that Kevin Kiley worked with “liberal” Senator Kamala Harris and that Kiley was weak on his votes in terms of illegal immigration, not good enough in enforcing President Trump’s sentiments. Kiley would find himself hard pressed however, if he had decided to attempt to go up against Gavin Newsom and as he called it in his advertisements for State Senate, “the liberals at the State Capitol” as his sole vote will not change the fact that California is and will remain a sanctuary state.

Another contender worth watching is Rex Hime, who had previously worked within the Reagan administration. He claims he is not a career politician, but a lifelong Republican dedicated to fighting taxes. Rex is likely appealing as the outsider candidate, as he is yet another Republican in the race that is not already working at the Capitol, but the President and CEO of the California Business Properties Association.

The fact remains that, if Kiley or Dahle win, their respective district will have to hold another special election to determine who will become the assembly member in place of them. The LA Times calls special elections a waste of time and taxpayer money, and voter turnout is consistently low. Pandering to the Republican interests of the district stem from the nation’s usage of single member districts in deciding elections, which do not allow for moderate stances to appeal to more constituents.

These candidates will have to continue to strive to appeal to an older, more conservative demographic unless you all get out there and exercise your privilege to vote! I’m linking the websites of each candidate below, if they even bothered to make one.


Silke Pflueger:

Steven Baird: Has no website to date.


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