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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Contra Costa, Alameda County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member of the State Assembly; District 15

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Budget, Government reform, Higher education, Major issues

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. How will you prioritize the budget choices the Legislature must make to align the state’s income and spending?

Answer from Nancy Skinner:

After five consecutive years of devastating cuts the most important budget decision is to raise state revenues. I strongly endorse the Governor's revenue initiative on the ballot this November, additional revenue is essential to support our K-12 schools. Further cuts to our UC, CSU and community college campuses are unfair to California students and families, leads to spiraling job loss, and diminishes California's innovative leadership. Eliminating tax breaks that favor out of state corporations could restore $2 billion in general fund revenue and reduce cuts to childcare, senior services and our state parks.

Answer from Eugene E Ruyle:

California is the richest state in the richest country in the world, but this wealth is not being used to meet our needs. Instead, it remains in the hands of a few millionaires and billionaires, one of whom bought himself the entire Hawaiian Island of Lanai. Another is married to a U.S. Senator who throws lucrative "defense" contracts his way. The wealthy few enjoy the fruits of our labor, while Californians struggle to make ends meet. The solution is simple: End the Wars and Tax the Rich and their Corporations.

? 2. What types of changes or reforms, if any, do you think are important to make our state government function more effectively?

Answer from Nancy Skinner:

California voters recently ended the two-thirds legislative vote requirement to pass a state budget. That reform enabled the Legislature to pass the budget on time last year and I predict for years to come. But a two-thirds vote is still required to raise revenue or eliminate tax breaks, greatly impairing our ability to protect our schools and essential services. This super majority provision is not better democracy, it simply provides obstructionist veto power to a small handful of legislators. Reforming our tax structure to be more equitable to all Californians is also needed so that high profit corporations and the wealthiest among us pay their fair share.

Answer from Eugene E Ruyle:

Californians will never have a state government that serves their interest as long as we elect politicians who are, in effect, paid employees of those who pay their campaign expenses: the rich and their corporations. This will continue until we have public financing of elections with proportional representation and instant runoff voting. Meanwhile, our children will suffer, along with the poor, the sick, and the elderly.

? 3. Fees for public higher education have gone up dramatically and funding has been cut. Is this a priority concern, and if so, what measures would you propose to address it?

Answer from Eugene E Ruyle:

When I enrolled at the University of California in 1954, I paid $45 in fees for the semester. I graduated debt-free with a fellowship for graduate study at an Ivy League University. I couldn't do that today. I fear that my grand children will graduate into debt slavery unless we make some drastic changes.

Answer from Nancy Skinner:

As noted above, protecting our internationally renowned higher education system is one of my highest priorities. I am a co-author of the Speaker's middle class scholarship legislation and support continuing UC's and CSU's strong financial aid for low-income students such as Cal Grants. There are efforts underway to ensure greater tuition predictability, and I also favor limiting the increase in out of state enrollment that is displacing California residents.

? 4. What other major issues do you think the Legislature must address? What are your own priorities?

Answer from Nancy Skinner:

1. Protecting our homeowners and neighborhoods against unfair foreclosure practices
2. Ensuring that California's small businesses can thrive
3. Maintaining California's environmental leadership with clean air, clean water, clean, green energy

Answer from Eugene E Ruyle:

The state legislature will not and cannot address the real life problems faced by ordinary Californians, not as long as they remain indebted to the rich and powerful. My priorities, instead, lie with the people. I want to do whatever I can to help Occupy Oakland, Occupy Richmond, Occupy Berkeley, and Occupy Cal become more effective in confronting the 1%. The state legislature cannot do this because they ARE the 1%.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. References to opponents are not permitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: December 17, 2012 13:48 PST
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