By Kristine Craig
Last week, I had the chance to interview the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of California, Ron Nehring, and discuss his candidacy, campaign, and personal background. Although he clearly faces an uphill battle against incumbent Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, he describes his campaign as one defined by many victories not necessarily equivalent to winning on Nov. 4.
As a son of immigrant parents and a modest background, Ron Nehring portrays an interesting and seemingly changing face of the Republican Party in California. His candidacy for Lieutenant Governor began this year in January, after realizing how disappointed he was with the group of Republican hopefuls at the time, prompting him to enter the race. What makes him different than a typical candidate is his unusually strong background in California politics given that he grew up in Long Island, New York. While serving as the Chairman of the California Republican Party from 2007 to 2011, he describes his greatest accomplishment as cutting back 4 million dollars in debt left over from Swarzenegger’s gubernatorial election, and leaving office with over 400 thousand dollars in the CRP bank account.
He describes how “the Republican Party cannot champion fiscal responsibility if they continue to leave the party in debt, which is why I went in with the goal to have the debt retired at the end of my term… and that was exactly what I did.”
Nehring draws much of his views on California and American politics from his experience and perspective working in Guatemala and Honduras. In 2011, he worked on the Guatemalan Presidential election, describing the importance of the opportunity to work directly in a Central American country as “imperative for Republican elected officials to understand the perspective of Hispanics, which make up 40% of Californians.” He traveled to “every corner of Guatemala, Honduras, meeting everyday folks, politicians, and private sector officials,” which helped him understand the conditions and challenges that the citizens of these countries face, and what “the U.S. can do to be helpful and initiate reform.”
Nehring’s natural criticism of the current administration revolves around three issues that he sees as most critical for the state. Firstly, he describes California as having one of the highest poverty rates and worst unemployment rates in the nation. His prescription involves overall economic growth which will lead to job growth.
He clearly points out that job growth happens from small businesses growing larger, not large businesses staying large.
Secondly, he notes that lowering the current electricity rates that he claims are 50% higher than those in Texas, will make it easier for middle class families to make ends meet and help lower class families join the middle class.
Lastly, he stresses how the concept of school choice will alleviate struggles that all parents face when sending their children to schools that simply aren’t working for them. He believes that school choice will also be a solution for African American and Latino families, who tend to have lower socioeconomic status and live in areas where public schools tend to have less funding. He points to the fact that the “other side’s suggestion” is to increase taxes in an effort to make schools better across the board. However, he sees this as a solution that will materialize too late to help today’s generation, who will have already graduated by the time any substantial change unfolds.
At just 12 days before the election, Nehring continues to await Gavin Newsom’s acceptance of a debate, ultimately leaving it up to the voters of California to dig through the facts and decide who will become California’s next Lieutenant Governor on Nov. 4.
Note: DPR does not endorse any candidates.