Commentary

Mark Cripe | Seeking Positive Return for the 25th

Recently, the freshman congresswoman from the 25th congressional district wrote that, “The national media and career politicians don’t know what it’s like to grow up here” in the 25th Congressional District. This is true. Yet, neither do they, nor she, know what it’s like to have served this district for 29 years. 

During these years of service, I’ve seen sweeping changes that have come to our community. I’ve watched as the skyline over Six Flags Magic Mountain has changed with new rides constructed. I’ve seen the expansion of businesses spread along McBean Parkway, out to Copper Hill, and along 10th Street West in the Antelope Valley. I’ve watched these communities thrive with diversity, and then I’ve seen how government has failed them. It is because of these failures that I’m running for Congress. 

Despite all the incredibly positive changes that the people of the 25th Congressional District have brought to their community, the polices for governance enacted by legislators such as Katie Hill and others, particularly those whom she supports, have not been nearly as positive. In the same article where Hill tried to depict herself as some kind of homegrown hero, she also claimed to be putting partisanship aside. 

However, the rest of her article gives her deflective defense for focusing on a matter that is purely partisan and has no direct effect upon her constituents. Rather than addressing any of the most serious problems plaguing her district, she spent the entire article making it about her. While she bemoans the difficulty of a decision that she’s only talked about making, while doing nothing substantive, she ignores the fact that things aren’t better for the district since her election. In fact, they’re worse. 

Since she was elected, homelessness has reached a nearly epidemic proportion, with our district becoming the dropping off point for those without housing or resources. However, when actually given an opportunity to put partisanship aside in a practical way that could do something, in a way that could solve a real problem directly impacting our district in a major way, she instead again chose partisanship. 

Rather than working to facilitate solutions between the federal and state governments, and using her influence with state legislators, Hill made a very non-partisan issue decidedly partisan by choosing to vocally oppose the recommendations of the Housing and Urban Development Secretary. 

Even more evident that she has no intention of a bipartisan solution, or any solution at all, was her response to the court decision of Martin v. Boise. While the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors signed on to an amicus brief that could bring real change to the way help for the homeless can be extended, Hill instead was a keynote speaker for an organization (National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty) that seeks to prevent any reformative efforts to that decision.

Yet, Hill’s desertion of district interests doesn’t end with her failure to address homelessness, but also extends to her abandonment of our veterans. Nearly each week I hear another account of one who served in our armed forces and now can’t get any help in obtaining the services that they earned and deserve. One particularly tragic account was the call I received from the veteran who I will call “Destiny” in respect for her privacy.

“Destiny” called Hill’s office only to be, in her words, “blown off,” getting no response, no help of any kind. By the time she contacted me she was desperate, and even in my unelected capacity I was still able to listen to her story and actually hear her. I was able to let her know that she was not alone. Then, I was able to refer her to aid and resources available to her, when her own elected representative had done nothing to help her. No veteran should ever be treated like that and especially not treated that way by a dismissive, petulant politician.

Another example of Hill’s failure to represent our district was when she joined with those trying put a fake facade on the futile efforts to obtain the lost revenue promised to voters who legalized marijuana sales. While Hill tried to tout efforts on a bill that remains unpassed and has yet to see one dollar saved on prescription drugs for her constituents, she shows support for an industry that continues to facilitate the drug use that contributes to almost half (46%) of the cases of homelessness on our streets, according to a recent report by the LA Times. 

This is having a radically detrimental effect on our community’s children because the harm of marijuana use and vaping (often found together in the same stores) is downplayed and inconsistently presented. This delegitimizes messages of the dangers of substance abuse. 

In this time when politicians seek to polarize the people, it’s important to look past partisan politics and look to leaders who are actually serving the community in which they live. I’m honored to have been a public servant to this district as an L.A. County sheriff these past 29 years. Now, I humbly seek your support to put politics aside and work with you to solve the problems facing our district, so that the positivity I’ve seen in the past can once again thrive forward for our future. 

Mark Cripe is a Republican candidate for the 25th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita, Simi, and Antelope valleys.

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