There is no “one-size fits all” way to address the diverse needs of Los Angeles County, Supervisor Kathryn Barger repeatedly emphasized at a meeting with the North Los Angeles County Republican Women Federated on Thursday.
Part of the party
Accepting this diversity will have to start within the Republican party, Barger said. The fifth district supervisor said she knows first-hand from running for office that there is still a perception of an “old boys club.”
“We as a party need to realize people come in all shapes, sizes, genders and colors,” Barger said.
Citing that 40 percent of the Service Employees International Union was comprised of Republicans, Barger said the party also needs to be more inclusive of labor unions.
“By Republicans writing off labor, you are disenfranchising part of our party,” she said. “We need to rethink how we go about operating because we’re leaving out a lot on the table.”
Being a Republican is about having a limited government and addressing the public’s problems, according to the supervisor.
“You may not always get the answer you want, but you get an answer,” Barger said. “That’s good government.”
Barger discussed the issues local, state and federal governments are facing and how she thinks they could be best addressed.
“To me, if you do the right thing, the politics will work themselves out,” she said.
Less is more
Barger touted L.A. County’s fiscal responsibility, saying their AAA credit rating proves they know how to save well and secure a rainy day fund.
“Just because you’ve got the money in the bank doesn’t mean you spend it,” she said.
Concerning a Senator Tony Mendoza’s bill (D-Artesia) to increase the Board of Supervisors from five to seven, Barger said she disagrees.
Keeping five supervisors has been made overwhelmingly clear by voters, Barger said, as the increase has failed seven times when it went to a vote.
“I have yet to hear from anyone in the community that says bigger is better,” Barger said.
Implementing immigration reform
Regarding immigration reform and the rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Barger said she thinks America needs President Donald Trump’s approach.
“I’m hoping tough love does it because obviously playing nice in the sandbox has done nothing,” Barger said.
Since Trump has been in office, illegal immigration has decreased, according to Barger.
There is not currently a clear-cut avenue for those immigrants who want to obtain permanent citizenship, Barger said. It is time for Congress to “do their job” and come up with legislation that will provide a long-term solution, not a temporary one, she said.
Addressing Immigration and Customs Enforcement going to people’s homes across the county, Barger said their goal is to pursue felons who were released from jail, not innocent people.
Barger said she believes the law must be enforced and does not believe in having sanctuary cities.
Finding homes for the homeless
Helping the homeless is a priority countywide, the supervisor said, but it will take community outreach to solve the problem.
Remembering a hospital employee who was homeless, Barger said the stigma that homeless individuals are not working is untrue.
The cost of land for shelters and affordable housing are Santa Clarita’s biggest challenges in combatting homelessness, she said.
Providing holistic services and addressing the mental health component of homelessness is key, according to the supervisor.