Congressional candidate Tom McClintock stops in Susanville
A small crowd of Lassen County residents met at the hall for the 9:30 a.m. conference, a local visit from the candidate that would only be his second to the area. One of the issues discussed in the two-hour conference was the strong criticism that he has received for running for office to represent a district in which he has not only never resided, but also rarely visited.
McClintock said the criticism from the opposition and the label of carpetbagger has not hurt his campaign. He said despite the controversy, everyone in Lassen County has welcomed him with open arms, "making it clear that they care more about where a candidate stands on the issues than where a candidate lives."
Neither the U.S. Constitution nor California law requires that candidates for Congress live in the district that they represent. McClintock said he has been on the ballot in this district seven times, and that he does, in fact, “know the district very well.” He said several local groups approached him, asking him to run in the primary election, and he agreed, stating, “This district is ground zero to take back our Congress.”
He stumped the virtues of Republican principles to the small audience, of limited government and his adherence to the administration of the Reagan years while most other Republicans have “betrayed it.”
Among the issues mentioned in his speech, McClintock said that he feels strongly about immigration. He said that a border fence must be secured, that government must get serious about sanctions on employers, and that those who “support illegals simply want America to become Mexico.”
On the issue of oil and rising gas prices, McClintock said the United States has massive oil reserves in the Arctic tundra and the Gulf of Mexico, and that the only thing standing in the way of exploring those resources is the United States Congress and environmentalists. McClintock jabs at what he calls “the quasi-religion of environmentalism,” criticizing issues such as global warming and the greenhouse effect. He refers to the greenhouse effect as “junk science,” and global warming as a “non issue,” saying that environmentalism has simply become “the mantra of the left.” He strongly supports a change in the country’s current policies against offshore drilling, dismissing the concerns of environmental groups, such as protecting and preserving marine ecosystems, in the name of claiming more oil reserves for the U.S..
McClintock said he feels that Lassen County has some of the best natural resources in the country, and that it’s a crime for our current government to forbid us to access these resources, adding that he would like people to “look back on this era to say that our generation has restored our resources.” He expressed concern over the issues of government spending, borrowing, and the current $260 billion budget deficit, saying that past Republicans in Congress did not put a stop to spending, which he would like to change.
McClintock dismissed the validity of wind energy, questioning its efficiency, and said that he “would support the building of hydroelectric dams for energy.” He said in terms of an energy crisis, it is current government that is the source of the problem, that government needs to simply “get out of the way.”
He is critical of ethanol as an alternative to gasoline, pointing out that the amount of land it would take to produce the corn needed for fuel would not only be almost impossible, but would also raise the cost of food. He credits the ideas behind ethanol as one more of the “idiotic policies of environmentalists.”
McClintock has been publicly criticized for straying far from the Reaganesqe budget-conscious conservative that he claims to be, and also for running for office in a district in which he has never even resided.
The Sacramento Bee, San Diego Union Tribune, and Los Angeles Times have all recently run stories criticizing his acceptance of hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax-free subsidies, money meant for legislators who live far from the Capitol, who must maintain a second residence in Sacramento for when the Legislature is in session. A loophole in California state law has allowed McClintock, who lives full time in a residence a mere 14 miles from the Capitol, to collect these per diem payments. McClintock makes no apologies for this, stating that the house he claims as his primary voting residence in Thousand Oaks (which is actually the residence of his mother) is his second home, necessary for district visits. His opponents argue that there are no apparent costs for this second home for McClintock to justify the almost $40,000 a year in taxpayer money he is collecting.
McClintock is currently serving his last term as senator for Ventura County, where he is being termed out after 12 years. He is running against Sacramento resident and Republican Doug Ose, a former three-term GOP Congressman from the 3rd District, and Democrat Charlie Brown, a district resident and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who lost to current district Rep. John Doolittle in 2006.
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