2nd District supervisor wants to address climate change, economy, law enforcement
Editor’s note: Today the News-Press concludes its series of stories on local candidates in Tuesday’s general election with these articles on the race for the newly created 37th Assembly District, which incorporates all of Santa Barbara County and the southern, unincorporated tip of San Luis Obispo County. You can find the News-Press’ previous stories on candidates in other races throughout the county at newspress.com.
The first thing on everyone’s minds is the economy, says 37th Assembly District candidate Gregg Hart.
Mr. Hart, who currently represents the 2nd District on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, said the state doesn’t influence the national economy. “But we can invest in the types of things that keep our economy going.”
“We are the fifth largest economy in the world,” the former Santa Barbara City Council member said. (According to Bloomberg, data shows California actually is on its way to becoming the planet’s fourth largest economy.)
“We are a major jobs producer, the most productive in the country,” Mr. Hart said.
“We need to continue to invest in our infrastructure, so we can have roads, a transportation system and a water system,” the Santa Barbara Democrat added.
He also pointed to the need to invest in education to prepare the next generation of workers.
When asked about California’s high gas prices, Mr. Hart attributed the hikes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that war’s impact on the global oil supply,
On another topic, the state’s water supply, Mr. Hart stressed diversity. He said Santa Barbara is an example of how an area benefits from a variety of water sources, including groundwater and desalination.
“The diversity of that portfolio gives us the best possible drought protection,” Mr. Hart said. “Desalination is the ultimate backup, but I think we need to be looking at all options.”
He stressed the importance of conservation.
On another environmental issue, Mr. Hart said the state needs to convert to electric vehicles.
“We can’t keep burning fossil fuels and manage the climate crisis. There has to be a transition. The challenge is to manage that efficiently.”
Mr. Hart conceded electric vehicles are expensive but said he’s hopeful prices will come down as supply and demand both increase. “We are betting American and international manufacturers can get the products to a better price point.”
The candidate also noted the need for more charging stations.
He said he feels the government and the private sector can work together to make electric vehicles common in the state. He also said he believes manufacturers could get extensions on state-mandated deadlines if they show they’re making a sincere effort to convert to electric vehicles.
But Mr. Hart said he opposes Proposition 30, the electric vehicle ballot initiative that he feels is designed to benefit Lyft.
Mr. Hart also noted he’s supportive of law enforcement and has been endorsed by the Santa Barbara Police Officers’ Association.
He said violent offenders and others who commit serious crimes should be incarcerated. But he said offenders of less serious crimes, including those committing their first offense, should get assistance from programs that treat mental health problems and drugs and alcohol addictions.
And Mr. Hart said that in light of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, he believes California Proposition 1 is crucial to protecting a woman’s right to an abortion in this state. He said the ballot measure makes that right clear as a state constitutional amendment.