Locals packed Assemblyman Dante Acosta’s district office for an open house Thursday night to talk about his plans for the next legislative session and celebrate the holiday season.
“We want to make sure people feel connected to me and my staff,” Acosta, R-Santa Clarita, said.
In addition to telling Acosta about the issues they were passionate about, many brought toys to contribute to Junior Chamber International’s toy drive for children in need and sponsor gift cards for senior citizens.
After welcoming the guests, Acosta invited them to give suggestions for bills for the upcoming year.
The most common concerns included public safety, crime, homelessness and lowering taxes, according to the assemblyman. Several attendees voiced distaste with the California gas tax that raised 12 cents on Nov. 1, which Acosta has vocally opposed.
Saugus resident Scott Newman said he hoped Acosta could fight the tax, and said he came to the event as a way to get involved in local politics and support the toy drive.
Though, attendee Gordon Glattenberg said he was in favor of the tax.
“I really feel we need money pouring into transportation and infrastructure,” he said.
Also, Glattenberg, who has been a Santa Clarita resident since 1968, said he wanted to tell Acosta that the traffic signals in Santa Clarita should be improved, including making them timed and adjusting the pedestrian walkways.
“These are really cheap things that would make a difference,” Glattenberg said.
Substitute teacher Donna Robert wanted to convey her passion for education and hoped to encourage Acosta to ensure better compensation for teachers.
“The pay for teachers should be (better), they put in so many hours,” Robert said. “We need to fairly compensate educators and support them financially and otherwise.”
Local Scott Mekelburg said he wanted Acosta to fight for military benefits, but came to the event to show his support for the assemblyman.
“I felt it was important to say ‘hey,’” Mekelburg said. “He’s doing a wonderful job repping us.”
Going to the event was a chance to get to know Acosta better, said Santa Clarita resident Tana Binninger.
“I’d like to know more about the community and the individual who is representing us,” she said. “As a woman of faith, I want to ask if there’s anything in his heart that he would like prayer for.”