By The Signal Editorial Board
One in a continuing series of editorial endorsements for the November 2020 election:
TODAY: City Council and 25th Congressional District.
Perhaps it can be chalked up to COVID-19, but compared to previous years, the campaign for the Santa Clarita City Council has been a relatively tame one. Nine candidates are competing for two seats available on the Nov. 3 ballot: that of Mayor Cameron Smyth and the seat being vacated by Councilman Bob Kellar, who chose not to seek reelection after 20 years on the council.
We’re endorsing the incumbent, Smyth, and we’re recommending second-time candidate Jason Gibbs to fill Kellar’s seat.
City Council: Cameron Smyth
Smyth is an experienced local leader who grew up here in the Santa Clarita Valley, where he learned from the example of leadership provided by his father, the late Clyde Smyth, longtime superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District and one of Cameron’s predecessors on the City Council.
The younger Smyth first served on the council from 2000 to 2006, then set his sights on the state Legislature, where he served from 2006 to 2012 and earned a reputation as an effective representative for the 38th Assembly District, which covers most of the SCV.
Four years after completing his term-limited service in Sacramento, Smyth answered the call to serve on a more local level once again, returning to the council in 2016.
His experience and leadership abilities have proved particularly valuable during 2020, an especially challenging year. The community has benefited from the fact that this year was Smyth’s “turn” as mayor, a role designated annually by the five council members.
First, serving as the public voice of the city and the council, his calm, measured response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been just what the community needed during a difficult time. Then, during a period of protest and social unrest, Smyth sought to lead Santa Clarita on a path toward racial harmony and inclusion, listening to constituents who said the community has work to do, and taking steps toward renewing the city’s efforts on human relations issues.
Smyth is an advocate of efforts and programs to benefit local youth and address homelessness in the community, while also looking out for the interests of those who own and operate local businesses.
He also serves as an effective bridge over the gap between the “old guard” and the next generation of leaders. He has our wholehearted endorsement.
City Council: Jason Gibbs
Jason Gibbs has done the heavy lifting to be involved in his community in the two years that have passed since his first run for City Council in 2018.
Gibbs is relatable to many who call Santa Clarita home. He’s a mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry who has chosen to raise his family here, and is working to preserve and enhance the quality of life for families in the SCV.
He’s been active as a supporter, volunteer or board member for a wide variety of local nonprofits and organizations, all of which have positive impacts on Santa Clarita in a diverse array of interests. Those organizations include the SCV Boys & Girls Club, the William S. Hart Education Foundation, the College of the Canyons high school mentorship program, the Valley Industry Association, the Child & Family Center, the Santa Clara River safe clean water program watershed steering committee, FeedSCV, Circle of Hope and Bridge to Home.
That’s quite a gamut of things that benefit constituencies in the community, from education to business, the environment, the homeless and families in need.
Through all of those efforts, Gibbs has developed a keen awareness of the wants and needs of Santa Clarita residents. He’s ready to take the next step and become a member of our City Council, and we believe he will continue to serve the community well in that role.
25th Congressional District: Rep. Mike Garcia
Republican Rep. Mike Garcia is off to a solid start in Congress, having won the special election in May to fill the remaining term of former Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned a year ago.
Upon his election, he hit the ground running and was appointed to several congressional committees that directly impact the interests of the 25th District, including the committees on: Homeland Security; Science, Space and Technology; and, Transportation and Infrastructure.
Garcia is a Saugus High School graduate who lives in Santa Clarita with his wife and two sons. He’s a first-generation American and a highly decorated former Navy fighter pilot who served for 20 years and flew more than 30 combat missions.
Subsequent to his military service, he became a respected executive in the aerospace industry. His track record of service and leadership render him more than qualified.
Garcia advocates a strong military — and understands the needs and issues facing the large community of veterans in the 25th District. His service background coupled with his experience in aerospace as a Raytheon executive have given him a valuable base of knowledge to represent a district where the military and the aerospace industry are key employers. His business leadership experience also positions him well to serve in a leadership role as the district and the nation get to work on rebuilding an economy devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the Nov. 3 ballot, Garcia squares off once again with Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith. As we’ve said before, we respect Smith and her record of service — but we don’t see eye to eye with her on some key issues. Among those are school choice (we favor it), tax increases (we oppose them), and her persistent support of Assembly Bill 5, which threatens the gig economy and stands to cost hundreds of thousands of independent contractors the ability to work. Particularly at a time when COVID-19 has devastated job markets, AB 5 has turned out to be a poorly timed and needless piece of job-killing legislation that, at its core, was more about labor unions and the state’s ability to collect payroll taxes than about helping workers.
Also concerning is Smith’s penchant for declining to cast votes on bills that might have been uncomfortable choices to make — and would have provided voters a greater level of transparency about where she stands. It looks like a tactic motivated by campaign strategy.
On Nov. 3, we are supporting Mike Garcia for a well-earned full two-year term in Congress, and we believe he is the candidate who best represents the needs of the 25th District’s constituents and the economy upon which they rely.