It's been nearly three months since Steve Poizner swept the June 5 primaries in California with 41% of the vote for the office of state insurance commissioner and made history with the win.
There is a reason that Poizner was a featured speaker on "Big Wins of 2018" at the Unite Summit in Denver Colorado recently. Poizner became the first unaffiliated candidate for statewide office to make it to the general election ballot in several years.
It's a startling statistic, to which he reacts with a shake of the head, "There is a political monopoly in California."
At the Unite Summit, dozens of independent candidates who hail from states much easier to win than California, crowded together along with campaign teams, strategists, and experts in electoral law to discuss the future of those who cut away from the parties and go it alone, without having to do it completely alone.
"I don’t just want to be a lone ranger out here by myself; I want to be a part of a national movement," he said. "And this national movement needs some victories."
The people who created successful electoral reform initiatives around the nation are great people to have on your team, and they're on board with Poizner and the movement. After all, seeking office with California's top-two primaries in place was everything for Poizner.
Authenticity Break Gridlock
By seeking office as the unaffiliated (No Party Preference) candidate for the seat of California State Insurance Commissioner, Steve Poizner has not only chosen the road less traveled -- which can be exciting -- he’s chosen the one that goes uphill.
"It's been the most liberating thing I have ever done in my life. I love being independent," said the tech entrepreneur. "I love not having to comment on every tweet. I can focus on really what matters to voters."
And what voters care about is a commissioner who can keep insurance rates affordable. Poizner held the office from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican, but realized the time had come to cut away from partisan gridlock.
"I have my core principals. I am progressive on social issues, but I am a fiscal conservative, and I think there are better ways to pursue those public policy goals as an independent now," he explained.
The insurance commissioner operates independent of the governor, and there is no commission - just one person who oversees a $300 billion insurance sector. Poizner points out that it requires ultimate pragmatism and no partisanship.
Just within the last three months, consider what has taken place in California over the summer with the Carr and Mendocino Complex fires which have burned a total of 400,00 acres and cost untold billions in damage.
He recalls the night the primary race results were called by the Associated Press. His family was about to pop open the champaign to celebrate when his daughter came up to him. "She’s 12 at the time, and she looks at me and says, 'Insurance commissioner? Isn’t that the most boring job in the state of California?'"
"Now don’t tell my daughter, but I absolutely loved working as insurance commissioner. It’s a fantastic job, and I know it’s obscure to some people, but the state is on fire right now -- literally. There are a ton of very important critical issues facing the state of California with insurance at its core, including all the wildfires and the ramifications of these wildfires."
Insurance ramifications of wildfires may not be provocative to a preteen, but they sure will be when they pay into insurance pools ten years from now.
He is against the single-payer health care system bill, which the majority of Californians don't want if it means a tax hike. His democratic challenger authored the bill, and it is estimated to exceed the state's entire budget if adopted.
One manner in which voter money is already going down the dream is quick and easy fraud. In 2017, a fraudulent medical billing and kickback operation defrauded nearly 30 health insurers of $40 million and 24 percent of the jobs at the insurance department's fraud division now stand vacant.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Poizner. “Then there’s all of the fraud that never gets reported.”
Poizner originally called for the California Legislature to make the insurance commissioner a nonpartisan position when he was first elected to the post. It isn't the only office Poizner thinks should be nonpartisan, either.
"In California, there are some positions statewide where being an independent is a great fit, such as treasurer, controller, attorney general, so pioneering this path will hopefully unleash the floodgates for other people who might want to follow in my footsteps if I do this and win. "