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Congress Brown/McClintock

Congress candidates speak on forests, energy and local economy

By David Mirhadi

Staff Writer

The race for the 4th Congressional District pits a career lawmaker from Southern California against a Vietnam veteran who nearly won the office two years ago.

With a battle between Republicans and Democrats for the House of Representatives, California’s fourth district has become one of the races to watch.

Local issues facing the district’s member of the U.S. House of Representatives include initiatives that would boost the local economy and fighting for schools and transportation funding.

Republican candidate Tom McClintock represents the Southern California area of Thousand Oaks in the California Senate. State and federal law does not require a congressman to live in the district he represents, only in the state.

Democratic candidate Charlie Brown is making a second run at the seat being vacated by nine-term Republican John Doolittle. In 2006, Brown lost by a small margin to Doolittle, who had come under investigation, but outpolled him in Nevada County.

The issue of living inside the district has been at the fore since the primary race.

McClintock raised his family in Elk Grove and will be moving to Rocklin should he win the seat in November. He would fully commit himself to District 4’s voters, he said.

Critics charge he’s just looking for a seat in Congress, after in the past running for other offices and laying plans – now abandoned, he said – to run for lieutenant governor.

“This district has been very good to me,” McClintock said.

Brown has worked in Roseville for nearly three decades and his children attended school there.

“The stakes are even higher” in the current election, Brown said. “Things have gotten worse, and none of the problems that were prevalent in 2006 have gotten fixed.”

He noted the area’s dependence on foreign energy sources, the need to better manage forests and plan for growth.

Economic concerns

The local economy can be boosted by capitalizing on the area’s burgeoning tech sector, without creating gridlock or sprawl, Brown said.

“There are high-tech companies here, and most people aren’t aware they’re here because they are fairly unobtrusive,” Brown said.

Both McClintock and Brown agree that Nevada County’s senior population needs to be served as well.

Brown believes building the Dorsey Drive interchange and increasing public transportation funds will help seniors, he said.

McClintock said it’s important to stabilize the economy so seniors’ incomes are stable.

“Their retirement is wrapped up in the economy, and I think we have a very strong case to make to them for that,” McClintock said.

Different energy focus

McClintock said he supports a long-standing plan to build the Auburn Dam on the American River, which he said would generate enough power for 1 million households. The dam would provide 400-year flood protection, he said.

The plan has been discussed in various forms since the 1960s, but has been on hold because of concerns about earthquake risks.

Both candidates favor increased funds for the U.S. Forest Service, but are split on how the money should be spent.

“The rash of catastrophic forest fires we’ve had are the direct result of the lack of sound policy to manage our forests,” McClintock said in urging the cutting of overgrowth.

Brown said funding needs to focus on personnel.

“They have the equipment they need, but they need more people,” Brown said.

Brown would focus on increasing alternative energy sources, such as solar power, that can help grow the economy.

“This area has customers who want those products, but it’s the tax incentives that will help them grow these businesses. This creates jobs,” Brown said.

McClintock said hydroelectric energy, such as that produced by the proposed Auburn Dam, could provide clean, cheap energy and produce no emissions. He also favors building nuclear power plants.

Democratic candidate – Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown was the Democratic candidate for the 4th Congressional District in the 2006, barely losing to Republican John T. Doolittle.

He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Air Force.

He flew missions in Vietnam and later was a specialist in intelligence, including gathering information in Iraq.

Brown served for eight years on the professional staff of the Roseville Police Department. He also served as a former union vice president and credit board chairman.

Brown has a bachelor of arts degree from the United States Air Force Academy and a masters in aviation management from Embry Riddle University.

Brown also holds a teaching credential. He is married and has two children. He grew up working on farms in rural Iowa.

Republican candidate – Tom McClintock

Tom McClintock is the Republican candidate for the 4th Congressional District.

McClintock, a former candidate for governor, has spent 22 years in the California Legislature, and was elected to the state Senate in 2000.

He twice has run for the office of state controller and was the Republican nominee for the office of lieutenant governor.

McClintock lives in Thousand Oaks, in Southern California. He is not obligated by either state or federal law to live in the district he represents.

McClintock authored California’s current lethal-injection law.

He and his wife have two children, and they live in Elk Grove, south of Sacramento.

To contact Staff Writer David Mirhadi, e-mail

dmirhadi@theunion.com or call 477-4239.