District 4 candidates discuss issues | TheUnion.com

District 4 candidates discuss issues

Greyson Howard
Staff Writer

California Senate District 4 candidates Doug LaMalfa and Lathe Gill answered questions from local media and audienc

LaMalfa, a Republican state assemblyman and farmer from Richvale, took a conservative stance on issues including climate change and government regulations, while Gill, a Democrat and attorney from Crescent City, advocated for funding for community colleges and stood against LaMalfa on environmental issues.

Below are a few questions from the media and members of the public, followed by answers from the candidates.

Q: What is the first thing you would cut from the state budget if elected?

Gill: There is a lot of waste from state government to city hall. In particular, I would try to reduce growth in prison spending and in welfare for families with dependent children. There are families that have been on that for generations.

LaMalfa: There is no easy answer because there are so many areas that need to be reformed in California. What we’re really talking about is reform across the board, through audits and hearings.

Q: If the economy and the state budget come back during your tenure, what would you direct money to first?

Gill: I would strengthen the rainy day funds. We need to not spend every dime when it comes in. But obviously, we can’t save money when we’re $30 billion in the hole.

LaMalfa: We need to be more careful with it. We should have been paying off debt and buying hard infrastructure.

First, we need to stop and assess the debt we have and then catch up on infrastructure, which are the roots of a recovery – roads, water, the core of our stability.

Q: What would you do with undocumented workers in the state?

LaMalfa: Folks, it is the fault of us in the United States that we have this problem. We can have legal workers instead of the Jekyll-and-Hyde policy that says they can’t come in.

We need to decide “X” amount can come across, and other than that, we need to enforce our borders.

Gill: The question assumes the people are working, so I would probably leave them alone. The challenge is, we have one of the largest uncontrolled land borders anywhere.

I wholly support Mr. LaMalfa’s idea of guest workers, and I don’t think we have the resources to keep them from coming.

Q: What is your position on health care reform?

LaMalfa: Government taking over health care is the last antidote we need. List on one hand the number of things the government runs well. We can’t run a federal or state budget without being billions or trillions upside down.

Gill: The federal reform should be addressing that whether or not it takes affect immediately, it will by 2014.

I believe in making sure people have access to health care to reduce the number of times they have to go to an emergency room.

What’s driving health care costs is inflation, it’s a matter of supply and demand. We don’t have enough in the state.

Q: What would you do to reduce ozone levels in the foothills?

Gill: I’m all for science-based approaches to air quality issues.

The air quality has to do with population growth in the foothills; there is not a lot of industry. I’d be looking for answers from state agencies before proposing fixes.

I support AB32 because I think it will have long-term effects on our water.

LaMalfa: In forested areas, a healthy, vibrant forest is one of the best cures. The issue with the forest is overcrowding, because of the hands-off approach.

I’m not saying we should be clear cutting… but there are too many trees per acre.

To contact Staff Writer Greyson Howard, e-mail ghoward@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4237.

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