The following Q&A is with Republican Mike Stoker, candidate for State Senate District 19.
Are you personally in favor of the new open primary system?
Stoker: Yes. I have always supported the Open Primary system both at the ballot box and in public speaking engagements and written op-eds in the local newspapers. I strongly believe that an Open Primary over a couple of election cycles will lead to more mainstream Republicans, Democrats and Declined to States getting elected who will be more pro-business, pro-pension reform and pro-budget reform which will be a huge advantage to moving California forward and breaking the current grid lock creating a dysfunctional state government.
In your opinion, what are the top issues for this election cycle in California?
Stoker: Pension Reform, Budget Reform (Consolidating and streamlining state government and picking state government for cuts vs. cities, counties and schools which should be held harmless) and Regulatory Reform to make California more business friendly. One aspect of Budget Reform...once the reforms are implemented and when we eventually realize a surplus, 50% of all future surpluses should be earmarked to schools, the universities and community colleges until they are restored to their highest funding levels before state government started the take a ways 4 years ago.)
How does your message appeal to Californians who identify as "No Party Preference" or are undecided?
Stoker: It's not my message it's my proven record of always working in a bi-partisan way and reaching across the aisle to get the job done. When taxpayer advocates and small businesses wanted someone to take on in Santa Barbara County budget and regulatory reform in the late 80s they turned to me to get the job done. Working in a 4-1 minority on the Board of Supervisors but reaching out in a bi-partisan way we got the job done for which I was recognized by the non-partisan/independent Governing Magazine as the "1992 Public Official of the Year in County Government in America." I intend to go to Sacramento and work in the same way and be a role model for what a bi-partisan legislator who gets the job done is all about.
How are you adjusting your campaign outreach and messaging to reflect the wider demographic of voters you now have to appeal to in the primary?
Stoker: This is really a combination of #2 (Message) and #3 (Approach to Problem Solving). Notwithstanding I am a Republican I am the only candidate supporting Democrat Governor Jerry Brown's Pension Reform proposal. My two Democrat opponents are opposed. I look forward to working in a bi-partisan way with the Governor to pass Pension Reform. I am the only candidate focusing on Budget Reform and Regulatory Reform to help make California more business friendly. My opponents want to spend their time talking about "special interests" and "campaign contributions." So much is at stake for California in this election. I think all voters, but especially those that have chosen "No Party Preference" or are undecided want a real discussion of the real issues an offering up some real solutions to move California forward. I intend to do just that from now until Election Day in November.
Editor's Note: The Independent Voter Network has reached out to various campaigns with the preceding set of questions on open primaries and California independent voters. All candidates interested in speaking out on these questions are encouraged to forward responses to [email protected] IVN respects all viewpoints and candidates, and we look forward to featuring all responses.