Over the past 2 months, I’ve been holding community chats all around the 38th Assembly District (Simi Valley, San Fernando Valley, and Santa Clarita Valley) so I can listen to concerns from residents in face-to-face conversations. I’ve heard a wide range of topics from anger over the passage of SB 1 – the new gas tax and license fee increase – to the UC Office of the President’s $175 million secret slush fund, to the rising cost of housing.

But at my most recent community chat on August 5, a gentleman pulled me aside and asked something I was not expecting: in essence, what does it mean to be a Republican in California nowadays? I explained my thoughts to the gentleman, but on further thought I realized this question needs to be expanded upon – especially in light of today’s political climate.

First and foremost, one of the essential core values of a California Republican is safeguarding taxpayer’s hard earned income. For example, this requires thinking of the future consequences imposed on my friends and neighbors before voting on bills like SB 1, the new gas tax, which recently passed into law this summer.

Not only does SB 1 disproportionately hurt the poor and middle classes who must commute to work, but it is yet another tax increase which didn’t need to happen!

That’s why my colleagues and I proposed a plan for road repair and infrastructure that did not include raising taxes. Unfortunately, the majority in the Legislature felt it was easier to simply take the money for the command and control center in Sacramento, instead of crafting solutions.

In respecting taxpayers’ wallets, it is also the duty of California Republicans to ensure we are using the dollars Sacramento takes to actually provide solutions that make people’s lives better. California is famous for spending taxpayer dollars recklessly and this summer’s $400 billion single-payer healthcare bill proposed by two Democrats that made private insurance options illegal in the state was more of the same mistaken use of money.

The bill, SB 562, could have cost as much as triple the entire California general fund budget of $119 billion or more, levied a 15 percent payroll tax increase, and put at risk bankrupting the state. I was opposed to this legislation because it was poorly planned and financially risky, and at the end of the day, it didn’t solve the problem of affordable care for all.

Here in California, Republicans are also concerned with the environment: clean water, air, food, and public spaces like beaches are just as important to us as everyone else. California Republicans are committed to leaving a restored environment for future generations of Californians to enjoy.

Furthermore, as a California Republican I am committed to ensuring that the state’s environmental efforts also benefit California’s economy. The challenge now is to reject arbitrary and damaging restrictions on our economy and instead focus on incentivizing private investment and research into clean technologies and career technical education.

A California republican fights for sensible growth, but rejects one-size-fits-all, top down, command and control regulations such as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which famously drove away the new Tesla Gigafactory – and its jobs and future business – right across our border to the state of Nevada. CEQA is the primary, artificial driver of housing costs, and stymies growth and development across the state.

Finally, California Republicans believe in the freedom of the individual and protecting them from the overbearing parental style of government too often seen in Sacramento.  I want Californians to have the freedom to start businesses, build homes, visit state parks, enjoy off-road recreation, go to the beach, and safely protect our homes and families without unnecessary interference and restrictions. Opening up our state to every Californian is an essential Republican value. Our country was founded on respect for individual liberties, and future generations expect more access to choice than our parents and grandparents did. Innovation has given us the world at our fingertips, California Republicans believe our role is to foster that freedom, not stifle it.

California Republicans are a little different than the rest of the nation and the state. We are the alternative to the style of intrusive, tax-laden coercion that Democrats have given to us, and we aren’t burdened with the divisive rhetoric and infighting that plagues the politics of Washington, D.C. As Republicans, our priority is to give people the tools to find good-paying jobs that can lift them out of poverty and into the middle class and beyond.

Californians need less talk and more solutions. Democrats have been in control of California for the last 40 years and after a 40-year-long run the results have been largely failure, corruption, and economic constriction. By empowering all Californians, making government work, and lifting people out of poverty, we are committed to providing a platform that allows all Californians to thrive.

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Dante Acosta
Dante Acosta was elected in 2016 to represent California’s 38th Assembly District. Before joining the Assembly, Dante served as Mayor Pro Tem on the Santa Clarita City Council. In the private sector, he worked as the General Sales Manager of a car dealership, and in a number of senior leadership positions in the finance industry as well as volunteering for several worthwhile charities. He attended California State University, Northridge, and the University of Phoenix. Dante is very supportive of both veterans and active duty military. His eldest son, Rudy Acosta an Army Specialist, was killed in action in Afghanistan. Dante and his wife Carolyn live in Santa Clarita, where they raised their three children.