Two Republican candidates running for California’s 25th Congressional District discussed Thursday night the top issues brought forth by their campaigns, touching on topics such as national security, taxes and priorities for the district.
About 50 people gathered at the Embassy Suites of Valencia for a Conservative Action Group Inc.-hosted town hall that offered attendees an opportunity to learn more about the GOP candidates vying to unseat Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce. Angela Underwood Jacobs, a Lancaster city councilwoman who is also running, was invited but did not attend.
Mark Cripe, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant and former U.S. Marine, took to the podium first, highlighting that his campaign is centered around “family, faith and service.”
“One of the things that my wife and I were looking at when we decided to get involved in this race was the landscape of the politics in our country has been going in a direction we don’t like — the socialism agenda, the attack on our civil rights,” he said. “We have to stop forfeiting our liberties for safety. We’ve got to preach and teach the U.S. Constitution.”
To address this, Cripe said legislation needs to be equal for both sides of the spectrum. For example, he said, “You have sexual liberties attacking religious liberties. We cannot be legislating some of this stuff. We have to protect everybody equally; equal rights under the law.”
One question posed to the hopefuls asked them to explain what distinguishes each runner as the best representative for the 25th District, which covers Santa Clarita, Lancaster, Palmdale, Simi Valley and a portion of the San Fernando Valley.
Cripe said he stands out because he knows the district “probably better than any candidate. Working with VIDA (Vital Intervention Directional Alternatives) here, living here, understanding the problems here, my background with the Sheriff’s Department here, I know the worst and the best of this district. I absolutely care about this district 100%.”
Mike Garcia, an executive for Raytheon and former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, said he would make for the best representative because “I’ve been in this district for 30 years; I am this district. The biggest reason is I can win. We are the only ones that can beat Katie Hill, and we will.”
On national security, both candidates voiced support for a more robust and secure southern border and working toward ending illegal immigration.
Garcia broke the topic down into three top priorities: build the wall between the U.S. and Mexico, increase resources to border patrol agencies and disincentivizing undocumented immigrants from coming to the U.S.
Cripe said increasing resources for border patrol will help prevent drugs and criminals from entering the U.S., and the use of medical screenings, as seen with the introduction of House Resolution 3525, will avert individuals from bringing “diseases that we had eradicated out of our culture here in the United States.”
On taxes, Garcia said residents are living in a state with the highest tax rates and tax revenue, “yet we still have the highest homeless rates (and) we still have the most poor people.” He called on smaller government, lower taxes and understanding that California has a spending issue rather than a revenue problem.
Cripe said he supports H.R. 25, a bill introduced this year that would impose a national sales tax “on the use or consumption in the United States of taxable property or services in lieu of the current income taxes, payroll taxes, and estate and gift taxes.”
The two candidates indicated their push for a seat in Congress is just beginning as they each look to increase their volunteer count through the election, which is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020.