In an interview for IVN, Bill Dodd (D), candidate for California’s Assembly District 4, discussed his experience running in the state’s new nonpartisan, top-two open primary.
Assembly District 4 is home to over 53,000 Decline-to-State voters — almost 23 percent, according to Around the Capitol. About 45 percent of voters in the district are registered with the Democratic Party and just under 26 percent are registered Republicans.
What did you mean when you said you put people above the party? Is that message resonating?
“When I said I put people above the party, that was a reference to the vitriolic partisanship that has been going on in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento. While we all have our specific belief systems, my belief is that first and foremost I will work for the people of Assembly District 4 and the citizens of California. This message has been resonating — I figure most of the district is from the middle-left to the middle-right and they were the reason I finished in first place in [the primary].”
How important are party labels in California elections? Are they becoming more or less important?
“I still believe that party labels are important and will continue to be important. These labels aren’t always the best depiction of a candidate, but they certainly give voters a baseline of the value set a candidate may have.”
What are your thoughts on California's nonpartisan, top-two primary system?
“The open primary system allowed me to compete and win the election in June. Never before would a moderate, business-friendly Democrat like me have been able to win in a partisan primary. Had it ended with a Dem on Dem race, the open primary really would have been put to the test, but I am happy we didn’t have to go there!”
How has your tenure as supervisor and other past positions prepared you for the role of Assemblymember?
“Since counties are a subdivision of the State of California, my 14 years as a county supervisor will be a big help when I move on to Sacramento. In addition to having overall knowledge of many of the issues, I have already worked with many leaders in Sacramento on legislative issues affecting Napa County and the Bay Area in transportation, housing, and air quality.
Additionally, on the local level, where candidates do not run with a party label, I’ve worked with and listened to the ideas of all stakeholders on a given issue, regardless of their political ideology or party affiliation. I will continue to operate in this bipartisanship fashion in Sacramento.”
What is your plan address the the 4th district's water needs once in office?
“Water is one of the most important issues in my district. Among my priorities when it comes to water policy are (1) increased water storage capacity, (2) innovative policies like desalination to boost water supply, and (3) aggressive conservation efforts for both household and agricultural uses. Getting my arms around this huge issue will take some time, but I intend to work with cities, counties, consumers, agriculture, and industry [leaders] to make sure that I fully understand their specific issues and set the best pathway forward as their representative in Sacramento.”
Check Out The Interview with Opponent Charlie Schaupp
Calif. Assembly Candidate Charlie Schaupp Goes on the Record
Photo Credit: Dodd for Assembly 2014