Santa Barbara resident Jeff Frankenfield runs as independent
Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series about candidates in the June 7 primary.
Jeff Frankenfield wants to bring people together and discuss good ideas from both Democrats and Republicans.
“I think people are just tired of the status quo of what’s going on with the federal government, with the bad blood between the far left and the far right. It’s been so toxic,” the Santa Barbara candidate for Congress told the News-Press.
“I think historically we’ve done a better job of meeting in the middle and appreciating each other’s opinions,” said Mr. Frankenfield, 50, who’s running in the June 7 primary as an independent against U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara; independent candidate Michele Weslander Quaid and Brad Allen, a Republican. The seat represents the 24th Congressional District, which includes Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and part of Ventura County.
“I think there are good ideas from the Democrats. I think there are good ideas on the Republican side,” said Mr. Frankenfield, who’s running for his first elective office. “I’ve read through both platforms. They both have valuable ideas.
“I want to come into it (Congress) with an open mind,” Mr. Frankenfield said.
If elected, Mr. Frankenfield said he would likely caucus with Republicans. “But I would want to stay true to who I am and talk to the moderates and find new solutions.
“We are a diverse, beautiful country,” Mr. Frankenfield said. “If we can’t mimic that in our government, it’s not going to work.”
“I think most people I talk to are where I am. They’re in the middle, and they’re tired of the fighting,” said Mr. Frankenfield, a Seattle native who served with the Marines at Camp Pendleton and Okinawa in the 1990s. He went on to earn his bachelor’s in political science in the mid-1990s at the University of Washington and develop a sales career.
Today he’s the director of global accounts for a fiber optics business.
When asked about his ideas, Mr. Frankenfield said his priorities include government accountability, energy, environment, immigration and the economy. He added he’s concerned about out-of-control deficit spending.
He said he doesn’t know the answer for dealing with high gas and food prices. “It’s something I want to look into.”
Mr. Frankenfield said he hasn’t decided whether he’s in favor of drilling oil on federal lands.
“A lot of times, people will take a stand and draw a line,” Mr. Frankenfield said. “I don’t know when someone does that if they’ve done all the research. I want to come at it from a thoughtful perspective and do research.”
He said economic and environmental concerns must be weighed. “My biggest concern is trying to balance the benefits and the costs.”
Mr. Frankenfield said he likes the infrastructure bill that Congress passed and praised U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Va., for putting the brakes on the Build Back Better bill. “This would accelerate our debt like crazy.
“One of the frustrations with a huge federal government is there’s a lot of inefficiencies there,” Mr. Frankenfield said. “There’s a lot of waste. When we give a lot of organizations authority and large budgets, we don’t keep them accountable.
“I’m not comfortable with continuing to deficit-spend,” Mr. Frankenfield said. “We need to have a balanced budget.
“The biggest challenge I feel for the Central Coast is the economy,” Mr. Frankenfield said.
Mr. Frankenfied noted he’s supportive of Ukraine and is open to sending military resources and technology to the nation as Russian continues its invasion. “But I don’t want to see American troops fighting in Ukraine.”
The former Marine added, “I’m all about national security and veterans. I want to make sure we’re strong (in those areas).”
Mr. Frankenfield’s wife is Faith, and they have a 19-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter.
“I love my country and want to do what I can to serve at the federal level,” Mr. Frankenfield said.