California legislators seem to be in the news lately, but for all the wrong reasons. So far three legislators have been accused of sexual harassment this year: State Senator Tony Mendoza and two Assembly members.
California’s Capitol has been steeped in controversy since hundreds of women in October signed a letter decrying sexual harassment in state politics. The accusations come from women lobbyists, lawmakers and staff members who say they’ve experienced or witnessed harassment and even sexual assault on the job.
In north Orange County, State Senator Josh Newman is facing a recall for a different reason. Republican groups are angry that he won a seat that had been held by them for 58 years.
Speaking at a Democratic Party Arab-American Caucus meeting in Anaheim Nov. 12, Newman said, “They cannot handle losing a historically Republican seat.”
He told about 100 attendees, “As long as the political process is still being run by people and not machines, this is always going to be a messy, imprecise and subjective business.
But that doesn’t mean principles shouldn’t matter, or the will of the people, as expressed through free and fair elections, or the Constitution, or the American spirit of fair play.
The current recall effort is a test of the integrity and resilience of our great state’s democratic system. Thank you for defending it, and let’s beat back the recall!”
He is not sure when the recall will happen; it could be in late February or early March, or it could be part of the June elections.
Republicans are blaming Newman for the recent gas tax increase, but he explained that the law was going to be signed by the Governor whether he voted for it or not.
In order to get his vote, however, he demanded an amendment that guaranteed all new gas tax revenues must go to repair and replace the state’s dated infrastructure that was mostly built under Jerry Brown’s father’s administration in the 1960’s
“I’m proud to represent all of the people of Orange County,” said Newman. When asked about Trump’s immigration policies, he said, “Americans are better than this. And at times our values must transcend current unfair laws. Every Californian deserves equal protection.”
Newman promises to continue fighting for gender equality, workers’ rights, immigration reform, homelessness, mental health issues and improving the public schools.
State Senator Connie Leyva also attended the event. She has gained a lot of notoriety lately because she may be replacing Kevin De Leon as Senate Majority Leader.
“What’s happening to Josh is just wrong,” Leyva said. “They are running a deceptive campaign against him.”
Both want more transparency in state government, especially after the sexual harassment allegations that have been made public. They also support tax credit incentives for small businesses.
Leyva said that all workers need to feel safe from any form of harassment, and she plans to work on legislation to bring stronger penalties for wrongdoing
She encouraged everyone to support Newman by phone banking, walking precincts and educating voters.