Saturday, February 1, 2020

• Better Know A Candidate: Jeremy Smith 67th Assembly District 2020

This year's primary is coming early, March 3rd instead of it's usual June date. If you've been keeping up with our local electeds, you already know that there is a wide open seat for the 67th Assembly District. 

Over the years I've offered "Better Know A Candidate" blogs to local candidates. Usually I stick with candidates for Wildomar City Council, but I've also done a handful for other races that touch Wildomar too.

In this race there are five candidates, of which I know three personally, and sent them email invitations. 

Two responded, but only one actually set up a time for a sit down. 
(Maybe it's because I officially endorsed him back in November?)

I get it other fellers, you're busy campaigning, but I'm not going to chase you down so that I can then give you free advertising which takes many hours to prepare. No offense, but you wouldn't either if the shoe was on the other foot... but I digress. 
Jeremy Smith, the basics:

• 31 years old, married (Elissa), two daughters (Kennedy  2, Reagan 6mos)
• Elected to Canyon Lake city council in 2018
• Business owner
• Bachelor's degree in communications/public relations
• Masters degree in public administration
• Running for 67th District Assembly Seat
This blog will highlight the ten questions I asked Jeremy Smith. These aren't hardball questions, but will give you an opportunity to better know a candidate that wants to represent you, and is on the ballot.

 WR  Why do you think you're the best candidate for the position and while you're at it, address your age being that you're 31.
 JS  With me I'm the only candidate that has legislative experience. I used to work for Senator Mike Morrell, I used to work for Congressman Paul Cook, and Brian Nestande. I have years' experience working through the legislative process. I think that is extremely important when you're running for State Assembly to have that specific experience. 

Also, as a business owner, I'm the only candidate who owns a business and has to balance a payroll everyday. Has to make serious decisions, not with other people's money, but with our own money that we're bringing in through the business [...] I think that's where my experience comes in, being a business owner is extremely important, if you can bring that to government I think we're on the right track.
Use this link to get to Jeremy's campaign FB page.
 WR  Tell me a bit about your background and education.
 JS  I've been a business owner ever since I turned 18. I've had a PR/consulting firm, I've always been an entrepreneur, but for me education was extremely important. I was a jock in high school, played sports, and I've always wanted to concentrate on higher education once I was done with high school, so I went on to receive my Bachelor's degree in communications/public relations, minored in theology at Vanguard University. Then went on to receive my Masters degree in public administration at California Baptist University in Riverside. 

 WR  How long have you lived in the district and where were you raised?
 JS  I've pretty much lived in the district my entire life. There are a few years where I was out in Orange County when I got my degree but I've been in Riverside County my entire life. Born and raised in the district, Hemet. 

When we decided to buy a house, my wife and I bought a house in Canyon Lake, been there almost five years now. I [spent a lot of time] in Murrieta, that's where my cousins were at [...] I've been part of this particular district my entire life, and my family as well, and that's why this is so passionate for me, to be able to represent my home would mean the world to me. 

 WR  Being that you're vying to win a seat in a legislature that has a very lopsided majority for the other party, what are your realistic goals up in Sacramento and some of your key issues?
 JS  That's a great question, for any one of the candidates that question's fair because we would be going up to Sacramento and hitting the "no" button on a lot of things because of the fact that it's so lopsided. 

For me, being able to have local experience at regional boards, at city council [meetings], working for representatives in both Congress and and in the [State] Senate, I've learned the importance of building relationships —not just across the aisle, but in communities, local school board commissions, water boards, city councils. For me it's giving back and learning the resources that we have up in Sacramento and applying them in a non partisan position back home. 

I'm here for my district. I'm here to bring some resources for Wildomar, for Murrieta. I just want to bring some grants, or whatever it might be, back to my community, and it doesn't matter if I'm a Republican or a Democrat. That is not the [issue], the [issue] is that they need some help and I think we can do it. 
At this point I shuffled the order of the questions I had prepared to ask a sort of follow up question that touched on partisanship up in the capital.
 WR  There are some very distinct partisan lines drawn up in Sacramento. How will you approach it and how will the community members of other parties be made to feel at your public events or when dealing with you?
 JS  For me that's important and that's why I've always thought it was extremely important that in order to serve at the next level you have to have some local experience. I'm blessed because I serve on a council with [members of] different parties. What's amazing is that you'd never really tell at the local level when you're governing. 

So I believe that whoever holds this office, this position, they need to treat it that way because there's good ideas coming from Democrats, declines to state, AI's (American Independants) , Republicans. There's good policy that can come from both parties as long as you're willing to work together. 
Elissa, Reagan, Jeremy and Kennedy Smith.
 WR  Political work is demanding and you have a young family. How do you plan on balancing the two?
 JS  I'm blessed because my wife is just as motivated as I am in this whole entire campaign. We made a commitment to ourselves that she would be up there in Sacramento  with me as well. We're planning on having our kids be a part of this whole process together. We think it's important and it's a family decision that we made to run, it wasn't just me wanting to do this. We're going to do this together. My family is going to be there every step of the way. 

 WR  Melissa Melendez has set the bar very high for reaching out to her constituents in this district (you can almost say we've become spoiled). If you win, how much time will you be spending in the district, and how will that be manifest?
 JS  I think that what she has done has been incredible. As far as town halls, setting up regular meetings, I was blessed because I did that same thing for Mike Morrell, the same thing for Paul Cook. That's my learning experience is getting back into the community. For me, I hope to give everything back to the community. Spend all the time that I possibly can because this is where the decisions are made [...] communication is everything. We're blessed with social media, because we can get [information out] fast.

But we have to go one step farther, and we have to do things like coffee klatches, things like meet and greets. We have to do this regularly so that our folks who are being impacted by legislation in Sacramento know what's coming and they can be prepared for it. 

 WR  This is sort of a no brainer, but for the record, tell me your position on tax issues (new, old, lowering)?
 JS  I'm a "no tax" guy, I made that pledge in council and I'm making that pledge here. It's just gotten out of hand. We're running a surplus right now up in Sacramento, and it's just insane and they're asking for more? [The battle over] Prop 13 is coming. We're looking at split rolls. It's going to impact our commercial [property] owners, triplex, duplex, and that's right up my alley because I work in real estate. Therefore if we don't fix the bleeding now, it's just going to get worse. 

I think a lot of people were tricked into [voting for] the gas tax. I can't tell you how many people came to me and said, "I can't believe it, I voted "no" on it." But "no" meant "yes". 

That's the kind of game that Sacramento/California is playing right now. I'm not saying you've got to go up there and yell and scream, but the people have paid their due, and we're getting to a point now where too many U-Hauls are leaving California, and if we take away property tax [protections] we're going to lose so many residents. Especially our baby boomers who've finally made it to retirement. 

It goes back to my philosophy, we have to treat politics like a business. 
Kennedy showing that she already has a good supply of the Smith charm at age 2.
 WR  What are some of your hobbies, pastimes or ways you like to spend your free time?
 JS  I was born and raised in a blue collar family. I have a '67 GTO, my dad and I work on that, it's phenomenal. I love going bass fishing. I fish all the time, that's one of my big hobbies. Shooting, I love doing trap shooting, target shooting, that's a thing I've done since I was a kid. I'm an outdoors kid, I love that. I've still got that in me. Love going on hikes. Working out. My wife loves being outdoors, so we get to spend a lot of time in nature getting away from the city life, if you know what I mean (said with a smile)

 WR  Anything else you'd like to add?
 JS  These are interesting times because it's an open seat. I'm running against a couple of my colleagues and they're friends and I respect them. It's an exciting time to campaign, there's so much going on, but for me I made a commitment we're going to run a good campaign. I think it's important, since we all have to go back and serve our communities after the March primary, that we continue to do that. 

I'm blessed because, when you look at the candidates, I'm the only business owner. I'm the only one who has to sign checks every single week for my employees, and having that experience I think will be a big benefit for the 67th Assembly district. I do believe that we have to work hard to get governing back to business and I'm willing to give it all I've got. 

Another thing too, I don't need a job. I have a full time job, I have a business, I'm doing very well when it comes to work. I'm not doing this because I need a job and I'm not doing this because I'm retired. 

I'm doing this because I have the energy, the drive and the motivation in my life right now. I'm not burnt out, I'm not tired, I'm not exhausted, I didn't just get done working thirty/forty years of my life to then retire. I'm all in right now. For me, this is a true passion and desire to serve my home, this entire district, and that's why this is so important to me, and that's why I'm giving it my all. 

I never thought I'd be running for State Assembly, it is so exciting, so fun, I'm encouraged [...] by a lot of support, a lot of endorsements, and I'm excited to see what March brings. But either way I win, because I still get to serve my community, at either level, so I'm excited. 

Wildomar Rap opinion time

I first met Jeremy last year at a new council member training event put on by the League of California Cities. I could tell right away that he had the intangibles to represent a large district. He has always been engaging, effusive and dialed in. 

When I bumped into him the second time, a couple of months later, he flashed a smile, thrust out his hand and said, "Hey Joseph, how's things in Wildomar."

Gulp! I was pretty sure his name started with "J", and that he was a councilman in a nearby city, but other than that, I was at a loss. (It definitely takes me several passes before I know a person's name)

Without further gilding the lily here, let me conclude that Jeremy has the stuff to make for a great representative, it's not a cakewalk, and he knows it. If you have questions for him, don't hesitate to contact him.
•                •                •

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Reading Wildomar Rap is not enough; but then again, maybe it is.

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