Hernandez, Maienschein running for Assembly seat
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
A 4S Ranch resident and Carmel Mountain Ranch resident are facing off in the Nov. 6 general election to become the 77th District’s representative in the state Assembly.
The district includes Poway, Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Sabre Springs and Rancho Penasquitos.
Ruben “RJ” Hernandez is a Democrat and 4S Ranch resident. The 32-year-old has lived in the district for three years and is engaged. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a business management emphasis from the University of California Riverside.
He is a small-business man, has served on the Rancho Penasquitos Town Council and was the director of local affairs in the external relations office at the University of California Riverside. This is his first run for political office.
Brian Maienschein is a Republican and Carmel Mountain Ranch resident. The 43-year-old has lived in the district since childhood and is the divorced father of two daughters. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California Santa Barbara and juris doctorate from California Western School of Law.
He is the United Way Commissioner of the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness and former District 5 San Diego City Councilman. He served two terms, 2000-2008.
Hernandez said he is running for the Assembly “to bring positive assertiveness, bi-partisanship, risk management and fiscal prudence to the state. As a native Californian, as a former laborer, as a student in (the) public school systems and as a small-business owner I have seen politicians come and go, but solid repeatable systems never stick. It’s time to present those and fashion them together to secure the future.”
He listed the three greatest issues impacting the 77th District as jobs, stale politics and education.
Maienschein said, “I want to serve in the Assembly because I am concerned about the direction our state is headed, and I want to be a part of the solution that turns our economy around, protects our schools and provides a better future for our community.”
He listed the three greatest issues impacting the 77th District as “a stubbornly high unemployment rate;” negative economic impact of California’s budget crisis, particularly on schools; and a legislature that continues removing local control and tax dollars from communities.
To change state funding of public education, Hernandez advocates capping superintendent and administrator salaries and reorganizing spending to reduce pink slips and retain teachers. To save nearly $3 billion annually — salaries for 40,000 teachers — he wants to establish a teacher retirement system similar to those of large corporations.
When asked about changes needed in state funding of public education, Maienschein said, “When faced with a budget deficit, the legislature should not look to public education as the primary source of cuts, as they did last year. Instead, public education funding should be a protected priority, with cuts coming from other bloated areas of the budget.”
As for the proposed high-speed rail line designed to come down Interstate 15 in the Inland Corridor, Hernandez said, “This project hits the state at a crucial time because it will create jobs, build economies and reduce environmental setbacks through smart transit.”
Maienschein said he opposes it because “the program was fiscally unreasonable to begin with; now, as cost projections continue to skyrocket while ridership estimates fall, there is no financial or practical justification for a high-speed rail line in California.”
As for why voters should select him, Hernandez said, “because I’ve been in their shoes and I represent them. I’ve been a laborer, an executive, a business founder and I’ve been laid off twice in two years. I have seen complicated and expensive health care firsthand as a hospital patient. And I don’t have any political baggage weighing me down, and will listen and aggressively (work) to engage the obstacles we face as a community.”
Maienschein said voters should select him because “I am the only candidate … who brings a lifetime commitment to community service, a record of getting things done and the support of leaders we trust. I will support sensible policies in Sacramento that will attempt to return California to the high stature it once held.”
For more on the candidates, go to www.rjhernandez.org and www.brianforassembly.com.
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