Congressman Steve Knight is a great guy. I’ve met him at his appearances and have spoken with him on the phone extensively. I’ve read his materials, letters, and ads. Steve is solid. Steve’s an exemplary family man. He served in the military, worked as a policeman, got into politics, likely following his dad’s footsteps. He’s a bread-and-butter righter-wing Republican who actually lives the “family values” thing – unlike the presidential candidate from Steve’s party. You would want Steve as your neighbor, as I would. Steve is responsible, respectable, and no doubt mows his lawn and keeps up his yard. His kids are apparently great, with one in college and another on the way. He’s been married but once and has kept everything on the home front in check and in order. Again, unlike his party’s presidential aspirant. Steve has represented our district arguably better than his predecessor, Republican Buck McKeon – with more real movement against the Soledad Canyon mega-mine and a whole lot less distraction. Steve is likely as straight an arrow politician as we’re going to see. And if Steve wins this election I hope he’ll see me (and my ilk) as the loyal opposition, as we are all pleased to help Steve on all helpful, productive initiatives he may push or endorse. But all this aside, voters in our 25th Congressional District must this election reject Knight and instead vote for Bryan Caforio. Because in the end, this election isn’t about Steve – it’s about the company Steve keeps. Steve’s a great guy – but happens to belong to a House full of “bad hombres.” Steve is party to dysfunctional and destructive obstructionists who’ve done just about all they can to hobble progress in the United States in their highly damaging, never-ending effort to discredit President Obama. Steve was there and voted for shutdowns of the government which sent shockwaves through our economy and jitters through the entire world. Steve was there and wasted time with a dozen meaningless Obamacare repeals. Steve was there as Congress refused to even consider Obama’s centrist appointment for the Supreme Court – thereby putting our legal system in a choke hold. And Steve has been there and was part of the team that simply won’t cooperate with the president; won’t produce a proper budget; won’t let the partisan divide go so as to get back to representing the people of the United States instead of slavishly adhering to lopsided dogmas and the NRA and Grover Norquist types. Steve may be fine, but he and the company he keeps in Congress must be made to hit the road if we’re ever going to return to running the country for the benefit of the country itself. Fortunately, this election cycle we’re blessed with a particularly strong alternative. Bryan Caforio is as sharp a candidate as has crossed our paths at least for the 44 years I’ve been a voter in this district. I’ve heard Bryan speak time and again and Bryan, while newer to our area, knows our issues forward, backward, left and right – and demonstrably in the debates better than Knight. Bryan is a centrist. He’s a pragmatist. And his intense legal background gives him the firepower our district needs for expanded representation in the House. Bryan will stand out and lead for our district. Most importantly, Bryan isn’t bound by loyalty to an obstructionist gang who’ve held us hostage for far too long. Surveys show 91 percent of all Americans disapprove of the Republican-led House. The House doesn’t work. Since Republicans took control, their well-stated objective has been to frustrate Obama’s presidency and potential legacy. In the process Americans have been made to suffer as the Party of No has said “no” to just about everything that would help them. Sending Bryan Caforio to Congress tips the scales in favor of collaboration and cooperation. While the House most likely won’t flip this election, increasing independently minded representatives like Bryan will move the House toward a more reconciliatory position with what is most likely to be President Clinton. Heaven knows, there’s certainly real work that’s been too long postponed and must finally be addressed. Roads and bridges and waterways to fix. Budgets to balance. Justice concerns to be made right. Cooperation is mandated to finally fix our budget and secure entitlements without risking further deficits. Heaven knows we have to get past the partisan in-fighting. Steve Knight is fine – but the company he keeps has held us hostage for far too long. To quote Star Trek, “Captain, we can’t take much more of this!” It’s high time for a change toward a more centrist, progressive, collaborative House. Bryan Caforio is the right leader with the right skills and the right values at this right time. Right here, right now, for the right reasons, it’s time for voters to send Bryan Caforio to Congress. Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.