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By Eric Heinz

A majority of the candidates for California’s 49th Congressional district election answered several questions comprised by the public and several area chambers of commerce.

In attendance at the April 25 forum at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point were 11 of the 16 candidates running in the district that stretches from Vista to San Juan Capistrano. The Republican candidates were Diane Harkey, Brian Maryott, Craig Nordal, Mike Schmitt and Joshua Schoonover.

The Democratic candidates were Douglas Applegate, Sara Jacobs, Paul Kerr and Mike Levin.
Joshua Hancock is running on the Libertarian Party ticket, and Robert Pendleton is running under no party affiliation although his website states he subscribes to the K9 principles.

Candidates not in attendance were Republicans Rocky Chavez, Kristin Gaspar and David Medway. Peace and Freedom Party candidate Jordan Mills and Green Party candidate Danielle St. John were also not present.

The forum was hosted by the Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and Laguna Niguel Chambers of Commerce.

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Questions were presented to candidates in non-sequential order: one candidate would be asked about immigration, for example, and the next would be asked a question on a completely different issue. All candidates received the same questions once it came to their turn.

The chambers’ forum featured only one question about business, asking candidates how they would improve commerce for Californians.

Full forum coverage

Tax-focused and on her home turf of Dana Point, Harkey, who currently sits on the state’s Board of Equalization, was the one dissenting Republican at the forum who said she didn’t agree with the Trump administration’s tax code reform. She said she would want to make some changes to it by using real data. She said she would continue along party lines to scale back government intervention on businesses, but she also promoted her abilities on the state’s tax board to work with board members outside her own political party.

Her local counterparts, Applegate of San Clemente and Levin of San Juan Capistrano said they would push for incentives for green and renewable energy that would cut costs for businesses, especially for corporate manufacturers who are some of the highest users of energy. Both of them are against the offshore drilling proposals by the Department of the Interior made public in January.

Maryott, a first-term City Council member in San Juan Capistrano, said he would work to expedite the process of getting tax bills passed and make them “permanent” without omnibus spending, the practice of attaching other legislation to bills in an effort to compromise and keep the United States government funded.

By summer, we’ll be down to two candidates in California’s automatic runoff system following the June 5 primaries.

Another candidate forum is slated from 6-7:45 p.m. on Monday, April 30 at Capo Beach Church, located at 25975 Domingo Avenue. As of Thursday, four of the 16 candidates had confirmed their attendance. The forum will be hosted by Capo Cares (Dana Point), Advocates for Responsible Treatment (San Juan Capistrano) and the Coalition to Save San Clemente.


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