Assemblyman Hagman: California Republicans Still Have a Pulse
Posted by Allen Wilson on December 13, 2012
Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills, District 55) offers his thoughts about Republicans place in California politics:
In this world of instant information, news outlets are always looking to be the first to break major stories or provide the most comprehensive analysis of current events. That is why less than 12 hours after the final vote was cast in our state’s recent election; the media was chomping at the bit to write the Republican Party’s political obituary in California as Democrats secured supermajorities in the State Senate and Assembly.
But to completely write off the GOP after one disappointing election is incredibly shortsighted and fails to take into account the electoral tradition of our state. In fact, the last party to hold a supermajority in both chambers of the Legislature was the Republican Party in the 1930s and it was only 16 years ago when Republicans held a majority in the Assembly. Republicans will once again return to prominence in state politics. It will, however, require us to get back to the basics.
A critical mistake that I believe Republicans have made in recent years is allowing the other side to define us as the “party of no.” That characterization could not be farther from reality. Consider that earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times called Republicans the “party of yes” when we got behind the Governor’s pension reform package. We supported the L.A. Mayor’s effort to eliminate bureaucratic red tape protecting predators in the classroom. Republicans also put forward our own budget roadmap prioritizing funding for education.
At its core, the Republican Party remains a party of ideas, principles, and opportunity. We believe in the power of individuals to succeed based on their hard work and initiative. No one, especially the government, should stand in the way of that freedom. In California, it means bringing private sector jobs back and ensuring families have opportunities to achieve financial security. It means guaranteeing our children have access to the best education in the world. It means keeping our neighborhoods and communities safe.
Our state’s status within our country has continued to fall. Look at some of our sobering numbers:
· California is 24/7 Wall St.’s “Worst Run State” for the second year in a row.
· The state’s S&P credit rating is the worst of all states, while its Moody’s credit rating is the second-worst.
· Home prices plunged by 33.6% between 2006 and 2011, worse than all states except for three.
· The state’s foreclosure rate and unemployment rate were the third- and second-highest in the country, respectively.
· California’s personal income tax has the highest top rate and one of the most highly progressive structures in the nation.
· According to the Tax Foundation, the state has the third-worst business tax climate in the country and the highest corporate tax rate in the West.
· We have the highest statewide general sales and use tax in the nation.
· Our combined local, state, and federal gasoline taxes are the second highest in the nation.
So even with this election’s setbacks, we can find solace in the fact that the Republican Party’s message resonated in other areas of the country. Not only did we retain the U.S. House of Representatives, but Republicans also control 30 governors’ mansions – the most for any party in over a decade. But it is clear our party failed to effectively communicate that message in California and we now have a chance to correct course. Voters agree with us on many issues, but evidently they have doubts about our ability to deliver those promises.
Although our clout is admittedly diluted in Sacramento, Republicans in the Legislature were elected by the people in our communities who deserve to have their voices heard in the Capitol. Their choice to send us to Sacramento reflects their belief that jobs must come first, that realignment is the wrong prescription for public safety, and that our children must be educated for a 21st century economy. It remains our duty to stand up for our constituents when the Legislature or Governor inevitably overreach. Democrats need to know that they cannot run amok with their newfound supermajority powers. Their decisions impact all Californians, not just the blue parts of our state.
As both sides of the aisle chart a new path through largely unfamiliar terrain, Republicans have an opportunity to hold Democrats accountable for their decisions and ensure Californians understand every option for solving the state’s problems. Our party may currently be down for the count, but we still have a strong pulse.