Mike Stoker, a former regional Environmental Protection Agency administrator, says he’s running for state Assembly to turn California around.
“We’re not a law enforcement-friendly state,” the former Santa Barbara County supervisor and Carpinteria resident told the News-Press. “The victims are being demonized. The criminals are being allowed to go free. We make excuses for their behavior.
“We’re not tough on crime. This state is soaring with crime. That’s because we’re not supporting law enforcement. We’re not supporting policies that say, ‘If you do the crime, you do the time,’ ” said Mr. Stoker, the Republican candidate running against 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart, a Santa Barbara Democrat, for the newly created 37th Assembly District seat.
“I’m going to be the guy who supports the cops,” said Mr. Stoker, noting he’s been endorsed by the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association.
Mr. Stoker then pointed to California’s economic woes.
“Our economy is worse than the rest of the country, and our state’s gas prices are higher here because we have people like our governor (Gavin Newsom) and my opponent (Mr. Hart), who want to transition this state overnight to renewable, sustainable energy,” Mr. Stoker said. “Now they’re eliminating natural gas — a clean source — because it’s carbon-based.”
Mr. Stoker said he too would like California to make the transition to renewable, sustainable energy sources — but at a reasonable pace.
“You don’t make the transition overnight. And what triggers inflation more than anything else is our energy policies,” he said.
Mr. Stoker said he favors renewable energy sources but also supports natural gas and fossil fuels. He noted the U.S. was energy-independent when Donald Trump was president and that California is producing less oil today because of the state’s policies.
“A good example is our North County,” Mr. Stoker said. “Our North County has a lot of independent petroleum producers who have completely shut down because of California policies.
“Someday when there’s a more friendly (government) environment to pump oil, they will resume pumping again,” Mr. Stoker said.
Mr. Stoker said he agrees with Mr. Hart on using diverse sources such as desalination to enhance the water supply during the drought. But Mr. Stoker said he wants California to build more reservoirs, something it hasn’t done since the 1960s.
And in terms of economic development, Mr. Stoker said overregulation by the state has increased costs for businesses. He said small businesses have closed and that larger businesses, such as Tesla, have moved out of California at a rate faster than businesses migrating into the state.
On another issue, mental health, Mr. Stoker said he supports getting people help, including assistance for homeless people with mental health problems. But he said he opposes giving free homes to people who are capable of working but choose not to get a job.
Mr. Stoker pointed to mobile homes as an answer for the affordable housing dilemma. He said they’re less costly than conventional housing.
The candidate, who’s a former president of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, said he opposes steep tax increases and has been endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
And while Mr. Stoker supports a woman’s right to abortion, he said he sees California Proposition 1 as unnecessary and objects to the ballot measure because it would allow late-term abortions.
He has said he feels a woman’s right to an abortion is already protected in California.