Santa Clarita Valley Democrats organized Saturday morning at Newhall Park to get ready for a day of canvassing and voter outreach in Newhall four days before the California gubernatorial recall election.
Andrew Taban, chair of the local Democratic group, told 52 canvassers that the Tuesday election, which gives voters the choice to recall and replace Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, is critical for California, which he called a “beacon of hope” for the country.
“We have seen so much progress in the state of California … and we are going to continue that and making sure that we do not lose that progress and keep Gov. (Gavin) Newsom,” he said.
Kipp Mueller, of Santa Clarita, called Saturday’s canvassers patriots for the work they were about to do that day.
“We’re doing an act of true patriotism right now, exercising our First Amendment – freedom of speech, right to petition and getting out there and knocking doors,” he said, thanking them for their participation.
Former Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, thanked canvassers for joining in “our constant battle to save our democracy.”
Smith asked for a moment of silence to reflect on the World Trade Center attack of Sept. 11, 2001, what it meant to Americans and how they continue to honor that day’s loss.
“I think there’s two very different definitions of (patriotism) now unfortunately, but at the core of being an American, and what shone through then, it wasn’t so much about loyalty to a flag for political ideology,” she said. “It was the notion that we are all part of this grand bargain, we call our democratic republic.”
Smith, a Democratic candidate for California’s 25th Congressional District, reflected on her service with Newsom in Sacramento.
“We value and honor hard work and make sure that laborers who put in a hard day’s work are rewarded with a salary that allows them to keep a roof over their head and food on their table,” she said.
Smith also noted environmental protections, reproductive rights, social justice, protections of liberty and freedom and a rainy-day fund that she said would help the state get through the next recession.
“This governor deserves to stay in office, and the Republican Party, who has been obstructionist to every one of those efforts along the way, did not deserve to be in a position of leadership in this state,” said Smith.
Elaine Burn, a Santa Clarita resident and teacher, said she hopes that undecided voters she speaks with Saturday will recognize that their vote matters and that they should cast a “no” vote on the recall.
“I feel that Newsom has done an excellent job in providing funds for schools K through 12 especially during COVID,” she said, noting the recall election doesn’t have validity. “There’s no handbook for a pandemic. There’s no how-to book and I think that he did an excellent job.”
Lisa McDougald, of Valencia, called the recall a “power grab” from Republicans.
“I’m angry that a legitimate election is being questioned, and that this man, Gov. Gavin Newsom, is being threatened, when any other time we would have never had anything like this,” she said.
McDougald said no one could have done a better job managing the state’s pandemic response than Newsom.
“He navigated both worlds really carefully,” she said of balancing the economy and public health. “He tried to make sure that the business interests were taken care of as best as possible, but also understood that public health was equally important.”
Doug Williams, of Tujunga, said he’s canvassing for a third time during the gubernatorial recall election cycle.
“I haven’t got very many undecided (voters),” he said.
Antelope Valley resident Giovanni Christon-Pope said he hopes the voters he speaks with can takeaway that civil conversations about politics are still possible.
“When we have these conversations, we can truly make the best decision about California’s future because this isn’t just about us anymore. This is about our children and the future of this state,” he said. “I understand that a lot of people are very anxious about the future of this state, but when we all work together and when we all strive towards a common goal, we’re going to be unstoppable.”