Clovis News

Assembly 29th Assembly candidate profiles

Two candidates are running to replace Clovis Republican Mike Villines, who is termed out. The district covers Clovis, parts of Fresno and Madera and eastern Fresno County. Voter registration favors Republicans 47% to 35% for Democrats.

MICHAEL ESSWEIN

Party: Democrat

Age: 21

Hometown: Clovis

Occupation: senior care provider

Education: attended Fresno City College

Family: single

Web: essweinforassembly.com; www.facebook.com/MichaelEsswein; twitter.com/esswein4AD29

Policy positions

What is your position on Proposition 19, the legalization of marijuana? Explain your position. Neutral. "While I personally do not use marijuana, I will not spend my time as a legislator criminalizing its use and hunting down the people who use it."

How would you solve the state budget imbalance? "I would approach the budget with compromise in mind. If we expect to bring in more revenue we must ... [be] willing to cut costs and wasteful spending. Legislators and citizens must meet each other halfway."

Should the state proceed with the proposed high-speed rail system? Why or why not? "High-speed rail will create jobs and spur growth in the economy but we must be cautious." He said the project must be frugally managed and should use eminent domain sparingly on Valley farmland.

What is your position on AB 32, the state's global warming law? "We need to look for the middle-ground on this issue and write in certain exemptions, give time for compliance, and watch small businesses carefully."

What is your position on the water bond, which was proposed for this November's ballot but pushed off to 2012? "I support above- and below-ground water storage options for the Valley." He said, however, the bond measure should be rewritten to strip out unneeded expenses. "I believe bond measures are how we got in our budget mess in the first place."

LINDA HALDERMAN

Party: Republican

Age: 42

Hometown: Fresno

Occupation: general surgeon, on unpaid leave as policy adviser for state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Penn Valley

Education: Hahneman University, Philadelphia, doctor of medicine

Family: single

Web: lindahalderman.com; Facebook: fblinks.com/halderm

Policy positions

What is your position on Proposition 19, the legalization of marijuana? Explain your position. Opposed. "It is recklessly worded, ignoring health and public safety issues such as drug addiction, law enforcement needs, workplace standards and federal law. It allows for drug use without accountability or protection for non-users and employers."

How would you solve the state budget imbalance? She opposes balancing the budget with the help of tax increases and wants budget deals done openly. Increasing transparency, she said, will "expose waste, fraud and abuse."

Should the state proceed with the proposed high-speed rail system? Why or why not? It may seem like a good idea, but "the Valley could again be left to foot the bill for a good idea that becomes economically unsustainable."

What is your position on AB 32, the state's global warming law? Opposed. The law will damage the Central Valley's economy "when we can't afford to make our state less attractive to potential employers."

What is your position on the water bond, which was proposed for this November's ballot but pushed off to 2012? Water infrastructure, storage and conveyance needs have not been addressed adequately, hurting people and the environment. But, she said, the water bond increases state debt by spending billions of dollars to expand bureaucracy.

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