If you’ve flown into California before, chances are you passed through the 62nd Assembly District. The communities of Inglewood, Gardena, as well as Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) reside in the district. Of the 250,000 registered voters, 60 percent are registered Democrats, 15 percent have no party preference, and about 13 percent are Republicans.
This year, the race to decide the district’s next Assembly member is between Democrat Autumn Burke and Republican Ted Grose.
Burke took a strong first in the June 3 primary with 40 percent of the vote. Grose, the only Republican in the race, placed second with 20 percent. Burke and Grose are both political newcomers with a background in business — Burke owns her own consulting company, Mandeville Group LLC, while Grose has spent over 30 years in real estate.
Visually, the two candidates are very different. Yet the primary focus of both campaigns appears to be job creation and economic growth.
While Burke pitches herself as a local businesswoman with roots in the community, Grose has highlighted his past business experience as key to understanding pro-growth policy.
Editor’s note: Both candidates were sent questions about the race, but Autumn Burke’s campaign has not responded yet. The article will be updated if we hear from the campaign.
Q: How do you plan to create jobs and grow the economy specifically?
Grose: “My campaign for Assembly in the 62nd District is about creating jobs, growing our economy in Southern California and providing opportunities for people and families in our district to pursue their dreams.
As an Assembly member, I will work with businesses large and small to identify the most immediate roadblocks preventing the creation of new businesses and preventing existing businesses from expanding in California. As a member of the Assembly, I would support and author legislation to improve the business climate so that small businesses can hire more employees at good wages. Only through private sector job growth can we hope to improve the economy in Southern California and the economic prospects for our families and residents.
We have work to do to improve the business climate in California. Specifically, I will support legislation to reduce needless regulations and oppose new taxes. Legislation not just for billionaire CEOs, but with emphasis on small business, which is the driver of large-scale employment. These are the two best legislative strategies for improving the business climate and for creating jobs in Southern California and our district.”
Q: How do you foresee addressing potential conflicts between the priorities of your district with those of your party?
Grose: “Our priorities are not in conflict. The priorities of citizens in the 62nd District go beyond politics and party affiliation. The core issues for our campaign are the same for everyone whether Democrat, Republican, or independent: How to find and thrive in a good job so that I can pay the rent or mortgage? How do I improve the educational opportunities for my children? How do we improve the quality of life in our region?
I’m just like other residents of the 62nd District — fed up with divisive politics that prevent good things from getting done. I believe residents of our district want a representative that can find common ground, reach agreement, and move government forward to solve the issues that confront us like jobs, education, health care, and quality of life. These issues resonate with each of us no matter our party affiliation.
The good and proper role of government is to level the playing field and remove obstacles to equal treatment in finding a job, housing, health care and education. I will support legislation that accomplishes these goals and I’m confident that the voters and residents of the 62nd District would agree that these goals belong to no party exclusively. My only obligation will be to the constituents of the 62nd district.”
Q: How do you see your business skills translating to the State Capitol?
Grose: “My background in business provides exactly the skills needed for an Assembly [member] to be successful in Sacramento on behalf of our residents: an ability to listen, respecting the positions of others, tireless leadership, energy to succeed at a goal, and a willingness to compromise to move forward. These are the same skills we all learned on the playground as school kids: getting along with others and respecting one another.
What career politicians lack on their resumes, however, is a history of creating jobs, running a business where income must exceed expenses, making and paying a payroll and creating value through enterprise. These are skills that a background in business provides and it’s exactly the perspective needed in our statehouse.”
Q: Do you think the Top-Two open primary has had a positive or negative impact on politics in California? Why?
Grose: “The [Top-Two] Open Primary has had a very positive impact on California politics. In the past, the primary system selected ideologues from both parties that were forced to run to the extreme ends of their party platforms to get voter support. Now with the open primary, candidates must appeal to voters on the issues. It causes candidates to draw the circle wider in their appeal. It suits campaigns like ours well because as I’ve said above, the core issues for our campaign are the same concerns all of us have: jobs and career, educational opportunities for our children and improvement in our quality of life.”
Image: Democrat Autumn Burke (left) Republican Ted Grose (right)