OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Steve Vargas’

Live from the CD-39 Forum at OC GOP Central Committee

Posted by Chris Nguyen on May 21, 2018

We are live from the OC GOP Central Committee, where the top four Republican candidates for the 39th Congressional District are here:

The alphabet is favorable to former Senator Bob Huff. Huff notes the large 17-candidate field and Democrats’ efforts to take the seat. He speaks of his service in the legislature and local government: he notes his 9 years in nonpartisan office and 12 years in partisan office. He notes his leadership positions. He notes he represented 82% of CD-39 in the State Senate. He carried legislation allowing carpool lanes to no longer have double yellow lines. He speaks of carrying legislation to help public safety projects locally. He states he has a track record of getting things done. He notes his former staffers who are holding office: Santa Ana Unified School District Trustee Cecilia Iglesias and La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw running for Supervisor.

Former Assemblywoman Young Kim thanks the audience. She speaks of being an immigrant who came to the United States with her parents. She was born after the Korean War in South Korea and speaks of the hard work and determination instilled in her by her parents. She speaks of her husband and four grown children. She says she has achieved the American Dream. She collected cans and bottles in Guam, went to high school in Hawaii, and graduated from college in California. She worked in the private sector as a controller and then went to work for State Senator Ed Royce. She continued to work with him when he was elected to Congress. She states she got to work on foreign policy with him as an interlocutor on the Interparliamentary Group, including in the Six-Party Talks. She was elected to the State Assembly, breaking the 2/3 supermajority held by Democrats. She speaks of her record in the Assembly, including never voting for a tax increase. She says every indication shows she is in the lead for the 39th Congressional District.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson recounts how he was the first guy in Orange County to raise the alarm about pensions. He says the carpetbombing between Nelson and Huff looks like the one from his Supervisorial race. He notes Orange County has the lowest pension formula in the State. He speaks of reforms at OCTA and Metrolink. He says no one has the right to coronate the next Member of Congress: the seat belongs to the voters. He says he has lived in the 39th Congressional District his entire life. As Supervisor, he pushed for Orange County to join the lawsuit against the Sanctuary State law, the first county to do so. He speaks of Orange County doing more for homelessness in the past several years than any other county. He speaks of infrastructure projects, including the 405 Freeway expansion. He notes the Democrats are panicking right now, and that there can be two Republicans in the top two if the votes are not overly split.

Councilman Steve Vargas thanks his wife. He worked for Chevron. He is originally from New York City, which was attacked on September 11. He is a Navy Reservist. He says he has fought for conservatism in North County. He thanks the Yorba Linda Council for their efforts with the North County GOP office in Yorba Linda. He says the other Republicans were running for other offices while he has done his time. He says six multimillionaire Democrats are attacking each other, doing Republicans’ job for them.

Kermit Marsh asks each candidate if they would endorse the Republican nominee if there is only one Republican in the general election.

Huff, Kim, Nelson, and Vargas all agree to do so.

Andy Whallon asks how each candidate would have voted on the federal budget, like Royce did.

Kim said she would need to look at the budget bill. She would have wanted more middle class tax cuts and protected the SALT deduction. She would vote for the bill only if it helped her district.

Nelson would have voted for it. He would have wanted the property tax deduction to be indexed to inflation. He says most of the problems for California in the tax bill California did to itself.

Vargas says the budget bill was a Continuing Resolution. He says the $700 billion for the military was critical.

Huff would have tried to bring the California delegation together to try to protect the SALT deduction. However, he would have voted for the tax bill.

Kathy Tavoularis asks the candidates what policy areas they wish to specialize in, what committees they want, and how they will help other candidates for office.

Nelson says Judiciary and Transportation are the two committees that best match his skillset. He walked precincts from the age of 18. Nelson donated to the party regularly before being Supervisor.

Vargas is interested in Foreign Affairs and Veterans Affairs, citing his military service in Germany, Iraq, and South Korea. He spoke of his experience with VA treatment.

Huff is interested in Foreign Affairs and Transportation, which he worked on in the Legislature. He cites the three transcontinental rail lines and freeways in the district. He notes the district is very diverse, with 55 languages spoken. His wife is an immigrant from Asia. He speaks of his work electing others, including Ling-Ling Chang and Young Kim.

Kim speaks of Foreign Affairs and Transportation, which she served on in the Assembly. She cites the freeways in the district. She notes her work with Royce on Foreign Affairs issues. She cites the diversity of the district. She would mentor staff.

Sara Catalan asks about the diversity of the district and how to reach out to communities.

Vargas notes the district is 32% Asian and 34% Hispanic. He notes the even split of political parties in the district. He says good staff are key.

Huff hired good staff in the district. He attends community events in various ethnic communities and learned to sing in their languages. He says he would go to the communities not expect them to go to him. He listed various staff of different ethnicities he hired.

Kim says she represents the district, which has never had an Asian Member of Congress. She formed the Asian Pacific Advisory Council when Royce was elected. She says this helps on Foreign Affairs, including legislation on Vietnam and North Korea.

Nelson brings up Jay Kim, the indicted Congressman from Diamond Bar. He says there is no majority in the district. He says you have to bring people together. He coached his son’s basketball team, on which his son was the sole white team member. He says they must go to the communities and just listen to their concerns.

8:06 PM: The forum is completed.

The Central Committee honors Diane McGlinchey as the OC GOP Volunteer of the Month. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher calls in from Washington, DC to congratulate her and express his appreciation for her 30 years of service. She receives certificates from the offices of Senator John Moorlach, Assemblyman Matthew Harper, Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey, and Supervisor Michelle Steel. She also receives a certificate from the Orange County Federation of Republican Women and the Huntington Harbor Republican Women Federated.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Breaking News: Brea Councilman Steve Vargas Enters CD-39 Race

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 31, 2018

Steve Vargas

Councilman Steve Vargas (R-Brea)

Councilman Steve Vargas (R-Brea) is entering the race for the 39th Congressional District to succeed the retiring Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), becoming the seventh Republican (and fifth current or former elected official) candidate for the seat.  He faces off against Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton), former Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), Councilman Andrew Sarega (R-La Mirada), retired U.S. Navy Commander Mark Gaouette (R-Chino Hills), and perennial candidate John Cullum (R-Placentia).   There are also seven Democrats in the CD-39 race.

With seven candidates from each party, CD-39 is virtually assured a traditional Republican vs. Democrat match-up in November, though candidates can still choose to enter or withdraw until March 14 for CD-39.  (Filing for most Federal, State, and County offices ends March 9, but for those in which a sitting incumbent is neither seeking re-election nor termed out, filing ends March 14. At this point, for seats that cover portions of Orange County, the March 14 deadline appears to apply to CD-39, CD-49, State Treasurer, Board of Equalization, and County Board of Education Trustee Area 5.)

Six of the seven Republicans live in the 39th District.  The sole exception is Sarega, whose entire city of La Mirada is in the 38th District, which is represented by Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier).

As a Brea Councilman, Vargas represents 24,000 of CD-49’s 368,000 voters, or 6.5% of all CD-49 voters.  Currently a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Vargas was first elected to the Brea City Council in 1998.  He was defeated for re-election in 2002.  He subsequently lost bids to the return to the Council in 2006, 2010, and 2012.  In 2014, Brea voters finally returned Vargas to the City Council for a second term.  Vargas’s Council seat is up for election in November, so if he made the top two in the CD-39 race, voters would fill his Council seat in the regular election, but if he failed to make the top two, he could choose to run for re-election to the City Council.

While the City of Brea is small, it has punched above its weight before.  There was a pair of Brea school board members who served together in 1992-1994 when one was finishing up her last two years on the school board while the other was starting his first two years on the school board.  One went on to serve six years on the City Council (1994-2000) while the other went on to serve six years on the Board of Supervisors (1996-2002).  Both went on to serve three terms as Republican members of the State Assembly: Lynn Daucher and Todd Spitzer.

Vargas worked on Spitzer’s Supervisorial staff from 1998-2000.  Vargas lost his 2010 election bid to the City Council by 461 votes to Brett Murdock (D-Brea).  Vargas would return the favor by being one of the three candidates who unseated Mayor Murdock from the Council in 2014.  Murdock is now running for District Attorney against Spitzer and incumbent Tony Rackauckas, whom Vargas has endorsed.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, Brea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »