State Assembly District 3 | TheUnion.com
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State Assembly District 3

Rick Keene

Age:44 years old



Occupation:Chico attorney/businessman/councilman

Family: wife, Janice; five children, aged 6 to 19.




Affiliations: Butte County Republican Party Central Committee. Board member of City Servant Ministries. Volunteer, Jesus Center, a homeless ministry. Elder of Neighborhood Church in Chico.

What are the big issues facing the California legislature and how would you address them?

Fiscal issues: I will oppose deficit spending, debt, and new taxes. On all other issues, I will work with all like-minded legislators for our issues.

Education: We need more equal school funding, and to allow teachers more classroom control, to encourage basic skills development of students, and teacher competency.

Health care, roads: We need more fair funding formulas to keep good doctors and for our area road needs.

Environment: We need balance. People needs need to be considered more.

Water: We need new water storage and control over our local water.

Agriculture, timber: Needs bureaucratic relief and sensible resource management.

The state anticipates a $12 billion-plus budget deficit. How would you protect Nevada County from budget cuts on the state level?

The state has increased spending in the last three years from $70 billion to $101 billion annually, with only a 3.5 percent increase in population. Runaway spending combined with dot-com company lost tax revenue and the botched handling of the power problem caused this situation. To solve it, I would first define the proper role of state government here, i.e., the basics.

Then, beginning with our three-year-old budget, I would remove all added non-essential programs, ghost employees and pork. With $31 billion in new spending, we should have room for cutting without hurting basic services.

In California’s Democrat-dominated legislature, do Republicans even matter? What would make you an effective legislator?

Yes, now more than ever. We stand for fiscal discipline, and limiting government. This is essential or government will bloat, expanding bureaucracies will dominate our lives, and our tax burden will skyrocket.

True Republicans force dialog on these issues. Currently, four Republican Assembly legislators are needed to vote with the Democrats to provide the two-thirds majority necessary to pass any budget. If Republicans stay together, fiscal responsibility can be mandated and growth limited, but unity here is absolutely essential. On other issues though, working on common goals with like-minded members from all parties is necessary to meet our district needs.

Dan Ostrander

Age:57 years old, Chico resident, Butte College history professor, owner, builder, landlord of rental properties

Family: Wife, Dawn; five daughters, ages 38 to 12.

Affiliations: Member, Esplanade House Children’s Fund, Chico (rehabilitation of homeless families in Butte County) and Butte College Foundation Board

Why should voters choose you?

Leadership is about vision. My educational training in critical thinking skills allows me, like Ronald Reagan did, to see the big picture as events develop. Many people react to events – as California’s energy crisis demonstrated – and make decisions in a panic. I feel I have the ability to see problems in advance and anticipate possible solutions. This ability has been demonstrated by my success in business, both in developing real estate and hydroelectric power. I have a drive to get things done, a willingness to fight for my convictions, and an actual plan to address the problems in the district . I have also pledged loyalty to my constituents over party-line politics.

Top issues facing California:

The budget deficit is the biggest issue. The projected income according to the governors budget for the 2002-2003 budget year is $80 billion. Gray Davis’ proposed budget for this same year is $79.5 billion. Thus, the income should be more than adequate to cover the existing needs of Californians if the budget expenditures are held to increases at the rate of population growth, (which is less than 1 percent for the last year, and 5 percent over the last year) and the rate of inflation. If income falls short because Davis’s budget is not accurate, other expenditures must be cut. Another approach would be to use a “flexible freeze” model that would freeze some budget areas, cut others that are wasteful, and give other areas like law enforcement increases at the rate of inflation, if needed.

Other areas of concern for me are health care and education. It seems to me that the time has come for the Legislature to end the health-care monopolies that have been established for HMOs. I would support incentives for schools, as George W. Bush did in Texas, to improve their test scores. Local control of schools, demanding higher standards from our schools and teachers, and pay issues must be addressed.

How I would protect Nevada County from state budget cuts :

I would oppose legislation that would raid county coffers, as well as programs the state mandates without providing funding for. It will be imperative that county supervisors have control of local tax dollars to ensure local services are prioritized.

The issue of under representation in the state legislature:

1. Because the Democrats control the state Legislature, I will develop a coalition with other rural Republicans and Democrats as Dick Dickerson did.

2. I will also have an administrative cabinet made up of one or two people from each county in the district who are specialists in agriculture, water, timber, and health care, to help me carry out and protect the needs of the north state.


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