With the 2010 midterm election less than a week away, the Desert Dispatch solicited remarks from candidates in running for State Senate District 18, representing the Barstow area. Responses have not been edited.

Jean Fuller, Republican
Assemblywoman, district 32

Fuller was born and raised in Kern County, and is a proud member of the National Rifle Association. She attended local schools and completed her Bachelor, Masters, and PhD degrees through the California State University and the University of California systems. Fuller supplemented her educational training at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the University of Southern California, and Exeter College in Oxford, England

Fuller currently serves as the California State Assemblymember representing the 32nd Assembly District, which contains most of Kern County including the communities of Bakersfield, Ridgecrest, Tehachapi, Taft, Kern River Valley and the Frazier Mountain communities.

In the Assembly, Fuller serves as the Vice Chair of the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee and is a member of the State Allocation Board, the Assembly Agriculture Committee, the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, and the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance. She was recently awarded for her work in the Legislature by the California Small Business Association, California State Sheriffs' Association, and the Association of California Water Agencies.

When elected to the State Senate, Jean will diligently focus on the following three issues: Fight for the water rights of those in the Central Valley Fuller has consistently called for the end of the man-made drought currently forcing the economic crisis in the Central California. She was the Republican Water Policy lead for the State Assembly during the latest water negotiations, and has the wide breadth of knowledge needed in Sacramento. Cut duplicative programs and streamline the bureaucratic process.  Shrink the size and cost of state government. As many Californians know, the size of government is far too large in our state. Fuller plans to continue her quest for smaller government and more liberty for the citizens of California.

Remove needless and onerous environmental regulations currently strangling industry and small businesses in California. Most of the current environmental regulations are both unnecessary and unfounded. Fuller has pledged to continue her fight against these regulations. When small businesses cease fleeing the state, our jobs will come back. By doing these three things, Fuller aims to show her constituents that she has a desire to facilitate both economic and job growth in the State Senate District 18, and the entire state of California.

 

Carter Pope, Democrat
Human resources manager from Lake Isabella

My name is Carter Pope, I have been married for over 13 years to my wife Leatriana. I have four fantastic children, Kyle 17, CJ 14, David 11, and my little girl, Kathryn 4. I have a bachelor's degree in Business Management and am three classes away from my MBA.

I have been heavily involved in my communities. I was treasurer for the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce, Secretary for the Greater Tehachapi EDC, Treasurer for the Kernville Masonic Lodge, Vice President for the Kern Valley Youth Football, and a Board Member for the Kern River Valley Exchange

I have been in a leadership position for most of my career in the financial industry. I have been successful in management because of my ability to bring people together from different perspectives for the great good of the organization. I am a firm believer in accountability and have instilled this mentality in all the organizations I have been a part of. I have been very successful throughout my career and will carry this mentality and success to Sacramento.

I plan to focus on 4 priorities, #1 Job Creation, SD18 has an opportunity to become an industry leader in green energy. The vast amount of vacant land that can be used to entice companies looking to expand or move their operations to look at California as their first choice. This area is known for wind and solar opportunities. We need to ensure companies who create sustainable jobs receive tax breaks, and we need to review the regulations to ensure they are fair and reasonable. We have to stop running business out of California and begin attracting new business to California instead. The bottom line is, we need California's working before we work on any other issues.

#2 Fiscal Responsibility, the current attempt to fix our budget issues by cut, cut, cut, is an irresponsible way to fix our budget issues. We need to fix the core issue and that issue is simply mentality. First, we need to revoke "Spend it or Lose it", this policy encourages those with spending authority to waste our tax dollars by punishing those who bring a surplus at the end of fiscal. We need to operate as businesses do in this case and reward those who are able to create efficiencies and bring a surplus at the end of fiscal. The second step is to train those with spending authority to make smart decisions when it comes to spending. When those with spending authority have an attitude that it's not their money, then only tax payers lose. We need to run State agencies as businesses, not charitable organizations.  

#3 Education, California spend less per child, with more needs per child than most other states. It's no wonder why our educational system is amongst the lowest in the U.S. We need to create efficiencies within the schools to ensure that our educational money goes into the classrooms where it belongs. Our teachers need the tools needed to ensure our children have quality education. I will be on the phone with top performing school districts throughout the U.S. coming up with ideas to help our educational system get better. I work with teachers to remove the roadblocks they are facing to ensure our children are well educated.

#4 Protective/Emergency Services, majority of SD18 is considered rural areas. These rural areas have high risks of fire, we need to ensure the fire departments are fully funded to ensure our citizens are protected. In addition, these areas are in desperate need of funding for the other protective services such as Police and search and rescue. Finally, we need to ensure our citizens have access to quality health care to ensure our citizens have access to services that are the difference between life and death.