Dr. Brad Allen runs for 24th Congressional District seat
Dr. Brad Allen runs for 24th Congressional District seat
Editor’s note: This is part of a series on candidates in advance of the June 7 primary.
Brad Allen knew he had to run for Congress after seeing what’s happening to America and the world.
“I had enough. We’ve got inflation going through the roof. Gas is going up. Crime is going up. We’re attacking the police,” the Republican candidate told the News-Press recently. “We have fentanyl coming across the border. It’s the No. 1 killer of young adults 18-34.
“We have the Ukraine war, which was caused by mismanagement,” said Dr. Allen, a semi-retired pediatric heart surgeon who continues to consult at USC for trauma care.
“We have runaway spending. We have COVID mismanagement,” said Dr. Allen, who has worked in medical research.
“I’ve never seen our country develop so many problems so quickly, and the mismanagement is so horrible,” said Dr. Allen, who has homes in Summerland and Los Angeles.
“At some point, I realized, ‘I can’t take this anymore,’ ” Dr. Allen, 67, said. “I can either sit on the sideline and keep complaining about it, or I can do something about it.”
He chose the latter. He’s running in the June 7 primary against U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, and independent candidates Michele Weslander Quaid and Jeff Frankenfield, for the 24th Congressional District seat representing all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and part of Ventura County.
It’s Dr. Allen’s second run for the 24th District seat. He previously ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2014 as one of approximately dozen candidates challenging then U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.
“I ran then because of Obamacare and came in fourth,” he said.
Dr. Allen described himself as “a libertarian and fiscal conservative who believes in limited government.
“I am a social moderate,” he said.
Dr. Allen has never held public office, but his wife is well-known, especially among “Charlie’s Angels” fans. She’s Jaclyn Smith, who starred as Kelly Garrett in the original series (1976-81 on ABC).
If elected, Dr. Allen said he would bring to Congress 40 years’ experience of problem solving.
“We need to stop spending and printing money we don’t have,” Dr. Allen said. “That causes inflation.”
He also called for curbing regulatory costs, which he said are killing small businesses and contributing to the supply chain disruptions and inflation.
And Dr. Allen disagrees with the proposal to cancel student loan debt.
“Not only is that unfair to the people who paid, you’re penalizing people who never went to college,” he said.
Dr. Allen noted that 40% of student loan recipients go into professions such as medicine and law and can afford to repay the loans
He added that student loan cancellations would drive up the cost of college.
On the issue of Roe v. Wade, Dr. Allen said he favors letting the states determine their abortion laws. He noted if Roe v. Wade is overturned, it wouldn’t affect California because of its pro-choice laws.
He discussed his personal views on abortion.
“I’m a pediatric heart surgeon. I’ve spent my life saving babies,” he said. “I would never do an abortion.
“When we talk about abortion, women have rights. Yes. When does the fetus have rights? At 12 to 15 weeks, the fetus is fully formed,” Dr. Allen said. “At some point of time, the fetus has rights as well as the mother.”
And Dr. Allen condemned the leak of the Supreme Court draft ruling. “The Supreme Court is the one body that is not overly political. This leak is making it that way. I hate when people say it’s not a big deal when it (the leak) benefits you. It undermines government, and that’s not a good thing.”
Dr. Allen criticized Rep. Carbajal for consistently voting with the rest of the Democratic Party on legislation. “Salud has voted 100% of the time with (Speaker) Nancy Pelosi. He might as well live in San Francisco (Ms. Pelosi’s home base).”
Dr. Allen also criticized the COVID-19 lockdown, which included school closures and the requirement that kids learn at home. “We knew more than a year ago that the lockdown caused more detrimental harm than good. The people who were hurt the most were the kids. We kept them out of schools.
“We now know from multiple studies the mental anguish these kids were experiencing, the social damage, the intellectual damage, how far behind they’ve gotten,” Dr. Allen said. “We’re just hoping these kids will eventually catch up and do well.”
He noted that while there was an Operation Warp Speed under the Trump administration to develop the vaccine, there hasn’t been a similar, accelerated effort to develop therapeutics to treat COVID-19. He criticized the Biden administration for its failures in areas such as testing.
And Dr. Allen is also critical of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy, which he said set the stage for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“What we should have done, while he (Mr. Putin) was building up 180,000 troops on the border, we should have started giving Ukraine weapons at that point in time. We should have done sanctions at that point in time,” Dr. Allen said. “If Ukraine had the weapons beforehand and the sanctions were in place, maybe the invasion would never have taken place.”
When asked if Ukraine should have been admitted into NATO to deter Mr. Putin, Dr. Allen said the Russian president could have used that as a pretext for invasion. “But we could have had Ukraine join the European Union.”
“I think the problem we have now is Putin’s backed into a corner,” Dr. Allen said. “It’s hard for him to pull out and save face and still look good.
When asked about efforts to make Vandenberg Space Force Base the permanent site of the Space Training and Readiness Command, Dr. Allen said, “If it’s going to create jobs, if it’s going to be beneficial, it would be something I would certainly be for it.”
He added that if he doesn’t find any negatives, he would support Vandenberg being chosen as the permanent headquarters of STARCOM.
Dr. Allen’s career has included his work as a pediatric heart surgeon at various institutes. Dr. Allen, the former surgical director at the Children’s Heart Institute in Houston, moved to Los Angeles because of Ms. Smith’s career in acting.
“We’ve been together for 32 years,” Dr. Allen said. “She’s still very busy and is more of a businesswoman (today). She has a fabric line and started a skin care business. She’s been with Kmart and Sears for 36 years and started her own clothing line.”
He’s stepfather to Ms. Smith’s son and daughter, who have known him since they were ages 7 and 4. Today the son and daughter are 40 and 36 respectively, and Dr. Allen and Ms. Smith have two grandchildren, both girls.
And Dr. Allen sits on the board of a nonprofit named after another “Charlie’s Angels” star: the Farrah Fawcett Foundation.