Candidate calls for reopening businesses, schools
Andy Caldwell wants to turn the government around and point it in what he considers the right direction.
“I am truly and deeply concerned about our country. I believe our country is headed straight toward socialism. It’s an open secret, so to speak,” the Nipomo Republican told the News-Press.
“I believe that (Donald) Trump, with all of his faults, will save America from globalism,” Mr. Caldwell told the News-Press. “We have the internal threat, socialism, and the external threat, globalism.”
Mr. Caldwell is running against U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal in the Nov. 3 election and supports reopening businesses and schools with in-person learning.
This is Mr. Caldwell’s first campaign for an elected public office. The Lompoc native is the longtime executive director of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business, which he describes as a government watchdog and advocate for taxpayers and businesses. He is also a News-Press columnist and hosts “The Andy Caldwell Show” on KZSB, the News-Press radio station (AM 1290).
“I’m not a career politician,” Mr. Caldwell said. “I want to bring back the concept of citizen representation.”
When asked about federal economic relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Caldwell said, “The only relief that works is a ‘Yes, We’re Open’ sign on a business.
“Business and commerce generate the money Congress has to spend,” he said. “If we’re still shut down, they have only one of two options. They’re going to print that money, leading to inflation, or they’re going to borrow the money, leading to debt.
“Congress is absolutely irresponsible to spend money it doesn’t have,” he said. “If they’re going to spend more money, they need to tell us how they’re going to get the money.”
He criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom for continuing to redefine the criteria for reopenings and stressed the need to reopen businesses, schools and churches.
“My point all along is if you can shop at WalMart and Target, you should be able to shop at mom-and-pop stores,” Mr. Caldwell said. “If you can sit in an airplane for six hours, elbow to elbow, you should be able to go to church.”
Mr. Caldwell called the decision to limit most schools to remote learning as “an absolute catastrophe.”
On other COVID-19 issues, Mr. Caldwell noted the need for more personal protective equipment. He said there’s a shortage of PPE because China started to hoard it before the world became aware of COVID-19.
Mr. Caldwell, who’s also critical of China on economic issues, said he would like to sponsor legislation to bring well-paying jobs back from China.
“China is robbing, cheating and stealing us blind,” Mr. Caldwell said, noting he would like the U.S. to stop doing business with that nation unless it changes its ways.
He said he also would like to see Congress pass a law allowing vouchers or something like them to enable a choice among schools. “They (parents) would be able to take money and use it for home school, private school, public school or technical school. I want people to have a choice in education. This is too important an issue of life to be left in the control of a government monopoly of bureaucrats.”
And Mr. Caldwell said he disagrees with the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County and noted it supplies 10% of the state’s electricity.
He added that he wants to build a nuclear plant-size desalination facility next to the Diablo Canyon plant and start filling the state’s aquifers, reservoirs and dams with desalinated water.
Mr. Caldwell noted he also wants to propose legislation to better manage forests. “We have 140 million dead trees in California, several million of those right in Las Padres National Forest. I want to remove them. We either remove them, or they’re kindling for the next wildfire.”
On other domestic issues, Mr. Caldwell said he favors tax cuts.
“People don’t put their money under a mattress,” he said. “When people and companies are allowed to make money, it multiplies with purchases and investments. When the government takes it, it divides. It disappears out of the economy.
“The lower the tax rate, the more revenue will be generated because of the multiplier effect,” Mr. Caldwell said. “This is a fundamental business calculation that is lost on career bureaucrats and politicians.”
Ultimately, it’s better paying jobs and not government funding that will help the poor, Mr. Caldwell said. “There’s no quality of life, no escape from poverty, without a job. Nobody has become financially independent based on unemployment benefits or welfare.”
The Republican candidate also criticized the Affordable Care Act and noted that insurance premiums rose under the law.
But he said he doesn’t know if the ACA will be overturned by the Supreme Court after the expected confirmation of conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “Justice Roberts was expected to vote against it. But he didn’t just throw them a lifeline. He threw them a loophole.”
Mr. Caldwell added he isn’t sure whether the court would overturn Roe v. Wade with a Justice Barrett. “I have no idea on that either. I would tend to believe it would.
“I’m pro-life,” Mr. Caldwell said. “My issue there is I believe birth control is so widely available. I go back to what Bill Clinton said, ‘Abortions should be rare in our society.’ ”
On another domestic issue, Mr. Caldwell said he wants to help the Central Coast’s specialty crops. He said the government doesn’t have the money for subsidies, but noted, “I think it’s better to work with them (farmers) on how we can lower the cost of doing business. I do think there’s room at least for an advertising campaign: ‘Grown in America.’ ”
Mr. Caldwell added that tax breaks would help farmers.
On another domestic issue, the candidate stressed his support for law enforcement. “Instead of defunding the police, we actually need to increase funding both for more manpower and more training.”
Mr. Caldwell added that the federal government needs to provide more support and cooperation with local police to deal with international crime enterprises.
And he said police officers guilty of racially motivated brutality must be fired. “If there is a pattern within any one department, the upper echelon management needs to be replaced.”
Concerning an immigration issue, Mr. Caldwell said, “I would allow the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) kids to stay and gain some sort of legal status PENDING no felonies and no welfare dependency. However, that is not to say I would support a path to citizenship unless and until we have secured the border or the pattern will simply continue.”
On defense issues, Mr. Caldwell said he favors bringing troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. “I don’t like us being involved over there.”
On foreign policy in general, Mr. Caldwell said he favors an “America first” policy, which he explained doesn’t mean isolationism.
The candidate is a 1976 graduate of Lompoc High School. He earned his bachelor’s in social sciences in 1980 at UC San Diego and worked as a seasonal laborer in Santa Maria. He started COLAB in 1989, and he and his wife, Linda, have six daughters and one son, ages 21 to 30.
Mr. Caldwell enjoys swimming, walking on a treadmill and reading Christian literature.
He also happens to be a fan of Marx Brothers movies, which remain popular among people of all political persuasions. “I used to watch them all the time when I was a kid.”
For more information, go to andycaldwell2020.com.