◼ Their Words: 1st Assembly District
◼ Meet the Candidates: 1st Assembly District
Web site: www.karenbrooks2010.com
Occupation: Self employed as a small business owner.
Education: Graduate in 1982 from Humboldt State University. BS in Business Administration.
Political party affiliation: Republican
I am endorsed by thousands of residents of the First Assembly District. This election is all about a new direction and working as an advocate for the people. I currently have no association or group endorsements.
Membership in civic, professional or other organization:
Redwood Empire Endurance Riders; Trails Trust of Humboldt Bay; American Endurance Riders Conference; Humboldt Republican Women Federated
Previous government service:
Why are you running?
The California that I inherited from my parents is no longer available for my children. I am running to do all I can to restore California so that my children can work, live and raise their family. California is on the verge of becoming ungovernable. Uncompetitive districts, coupled with term limits, have created a political environment that caters to the special interest. Our elected leaders, some who have held a pubic office their entire lives, don’t know how the real world works. As a citizen-candidate and small business owner, I know what it takes to get things done in the real world. More importantly, I share the sentiment of the ninety-plus percent of Californians who feel that government does not represent them or is leading California down the wrong path.
What sets you apart from your opponents?
I have worked in the private sector my whole life. I know the impact of state and local government in my life and my business as well as all the businesses I am in contact with. I know how to develop budgets and work within them. I know how to solve problems and make tough decisions. I also come from a philosophy to work towards win-win solutions. My strength is the ability to bring diverse interests together, find common ground and develop common sense solutions. I know that I work for and advocate for the people of the first district, not the special interests in Sacramento.
If elected, what would be your top three priorities in office?
1. Partner with the private sector to create jobs. The private sector has the know-how to create and expand jobs in California. Government needs to get out of the way of the private sector and do everything it can to promote job growth.
2. Taxpayer Accountability Act. I will work to put in place a taxpayer accountability act that will look into many of the state programs in existence to see if they are failing or achieving their desired goals. In harsh economic times we need to start prioritizing state spending.
3. Education Finance Reform. California has one of the worst graduation rates in the country and is below the national average. We need to change the way school districts are funded and how they allocate their funding to address their needs. We cannot continue to take a “shotgun” approach to school finance since not all school districts are the same or have the same needs or deficiencies. We need to give local school districts more flexibility at addressing their needs without strings attached at the state level.
What would you do to strengthen the economy in your district?
1. Work with the timber industry to promote the most sustainable timber products from region and state.
2. Suspend/repeal AB-32 (cap and trade) and MLPA (Marine Life Protection Act).
3. Suspend the minimum franchise tax for two years to help small businesses.
4. Revamp Workers Compensation Insurance so that it is more proactive and affordable for small businesses.
5. Restore funding in the Williamson Act.
What would you do to improve the quality of life in your district?
1. Create an environment for private sector employment
2. Preserve open space
3. Restore a world class K-12 education
4. Rebuild the infrastructure
The public approval rating for the Legislature has sunk to record lows. Why do you think this is happening – and what would you do to turn it around?
Public perception of the Legislature is at record lows because the people don’t feel the Legislature is responding to the needs that really matter to Californians. Unemployed Californians are looking for jobs not the next law requiring helmets for children on ski slopes. Businesses are looking for the freedom to run their businesses and grow and, in doing so, spur the economy not more barriers to navigate a poor economic climate.
It is time to work in the best interest of the people, not the party, not the lobbyists, not the special interest groups, not the bureaucrats and not for their own benefit. It is time to do the hard work of setting an agenda to restore this great state.
California must be competitive again. The Legislature must create a new environment of partnership with property owners, businesses, and municipalities. It must reduce the size and scope state government. It must lead the way to be innovative for tomorrow’s economy while rebuilding the infrastructure we have abandoned for the past 50 years.
The framework for this is new direction is common sense, community-based solutions and independent leadership grounded in free market principles, fiscal responsibility and limits on government.
How would you resolve California’s budget problems? Be specific: If you support spending cuts, what departments or programs would you cut? If you support revenue increases, which taxes/fees would you increase
In today’s economy the short term solution is to address spending cuts at the state level. Freeze state and state funded salaries at a ceiling of $100,000. Suspend grants and commissions. Sell off selected state assets. Release in home health care and child support collection back to the counties. Suspend SB 810 (single payer health care), MLPA (Marine Life Protection Act) and AB-32 and reduce the budgets of those departments accordingly.
In the mid term, suspend the minimum franchise tax for two years for micro-businesses. Restore confidence in the private sector by streamlining regulations, allow more flexibility in labor laws, reform workers compensation laws, and adopt a one-stop permit process. This will spur job growth which takes people off welfare and unemployment and increases the amount of people contributing taxes.
In the long term we need to look at a two year budget cycle as well as structural reforms throughout all entitlement programs. Key focus areas for investment are energy, education and infrastructure. Institute audits of state funded departments and programs. Explore privatization options and partnerships of certain services.
In short, reduce the size and scope of the state government while growing the tax base incrementally through revitalization of the private sector.
What changes, if any, should be made to public employee pensions?
My conversations within the first district lead to pension solutions that are sustainable, equitable and fair. What exists now is bankrupting the state. Public employees that I have talked to are open to a citizen commission that would bring solutions the state can afford.
What is your position on Prop. 19, which would legalize and tax marijuana?
First, Proposition 19, would only allow local governments to take steps to regulate and tax marijuana. Prop 19 does not implement any infrastructure what-so-ever at the state level for the taxation and regulation of marijuana.
Secondly, I oppose the legalization of marijuana for several reasons. First, California has a hard enough time enforcing the laws it has. Why should we add yet another? In addition, why would a grower or seller of legal cannabis register with any government entity in order to be taxed, when illegal growers and sellers can make more profits now? The enactment of this measure would put in place a legal framework that violators would refuse to follow anyway. Second, what regulations will the state put in place that allow law enforcement to enforce the proper use of legal marijuana, especially when it comes to driving and other activities that endanger the lives of other Californians? For alcohol, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 is the legal limit for drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol. At what level will we set it for cannabis and how will that level be determined? What will the penalties be? Lastly, the federal government still considers cannabis a narcotic and would have to change federal law in order for it to be legal here in California. Should Prop 19 pass the federal government would still enforce cannabis laws as they exist today. For these reasons I do not support Prop 19.
What is your position on Prop. 21, which would raise vehicle license fees by $18 a year in order to raise money for state parks?
This is not the best solution to the problem of maintaining our state parks. As long as the Legislature can rob special funds and write laws, this would be just another tax raising scheme for the General Fund while our parks suffer. At this time I do not support Prop. 21.
What is your position on Prop. 23, which would suspend the state law that requires greenhouse gas emissions to be cut to 1990 levels by 2020?
AB-32 is a bad law that needs to be repealed and replaced with incentives to individuals and businesses for creating a greener, cleaner environment. Prop.23 suspends a bad law without addressing how we can all reduce our footprint. At this time I support Prop.23.
What is your position on Prop. 25, which would eliminate the two-thirds vote requirement and enable the Legislature to approve the budget on a simple majority vote?
Due to hyper-partisanship, fiscal irresponsibility, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups Prop. 25 would not solve the state’s budget problems. A simple majority vote for our state budget will just make problems worse. Our system is broken and is in need or repair. Until structural reforms for our state budget and government entities are addressed we cannot let elected leaders who are accountable to no-one but themselves and special interests run this state into the ground. We also need to approve a spending cap that would peg expenditures to state revenues. It would require our elected leaders to spend within its means. At this time I do not support Prop. 25.
Do you support or oppose AB 155, which would make it harder for local governments to file bankruptcy?
I have not reached an opinion on AB 155 at this time, but I do believe that local governments should have the flexibility to do what is best for their jurisdictions without big government looking over their shoulder.