Why I'm Running
As mayor of Visalia, I attended the annual League of California Cities Conference (LOCC) in Sacramento on September 14 of this year. We were discussing SB 649, a bill being pushed by the telecommunications industry that is designed to take away local government control of public rights-of-way and give it to the telecom industry. All of the cities in Tulare County were opposed to this bill and had let our current assemblyman, Mr. Mathis, know that. On August 10, 2017 Mr. Mathis publicly assured attendees at a LOCC divisional meeting in Fresno that he would be voting “no” on this bill. However, on September 14, we learned that he had instead voted “yes.” Frankly, we were extremely disappointed that Mr. Mathis broke his word.
While we were still discussing this latest flip-flop, a colleague commented to me that I should run to replace Mathis. I went home to fully research Mr. Mathis’ legislative behavior and, in fact, confirmed that Assembly District 26 has suffered from ineffective representation in Sacramento since Mr. Mathis was first elected in November, 2014. Mathis voted with the Sacramento liberals and special interests to renew Cap and Trade, nothing but another government tax in disguise. He even missed the initial vote on AB7, which criminalizes the open carry of long guns in unincorporated areas, knowing how important hunting is to many in our Assembly District. Despite advertising otherwise, Mr. Mathis has merely become a tool of the special interests and lobbyists in Sacramento. He knows their pockets are deeper than those of his constituents and that they will pay-to-play. Mathis claims to put people over politics, but the people he caters to now are what defines politics; Mathis’ people are the Sacramento people, not people from our Assembly District 26!
An increasing number of concerned residents in our Assembly District have been reaching out to me since the LOCC Conference, and it is clear that any residual support Mr. Mathis had is fading quickly. He has failed to keep his promises to us, and his base has eroded. With overwhelming encouragement from my family and members of our District, I have now entered the arena and accept the challenge to unseat an entrenched politician. I am more than ready to challenge a politician who represents special interests and lobbyists. We cannot watch this incumbent win this election by default! With Mr. Mathis in our District 26 seat for another term, we can only expect more years of the same in Sacramento.
In considering this exciting challenge, I gave a good faith effort to consider any positive impact Mr. Mathis has had as our representative, and to be honest – I couldn’t even come up with one. On the other hand, I have found genuine satisfaction in accomplishing many good things in Visalia with our City Council. I was first elected to City Council in November, 2009, and served as Vice-Mayor from 2013 through 2016. I was then elected to serve as Visalia’s mayor. My campaign website outlines many of the accomplishments we have been able to bring to our city during these times.
One thing you learn – and learn quickly – on a city council is that people really do care about what is happening in their community. Serving on a city council requires understanding many technical details, but the most important commitment a council member makes is to listen. Since joining the Council in 2009, I have always focused on communicating with those I am serving. Prior to becoming mayor, I met regularly on Saturday mornings with local citizens at various locations around town for my “Donuts and Discussion.” Since becoming mayor, I have held regular Meet the Mayor sessions at City Hall with interested citizens, and I commit to a weekly interview on KTIP radio. To keep citizens in the loop on what I am doing as their advocate, I’ve written a monthly article for a local magazine since 2010, a monthly article in the Chamber of Commerce newsletter, and regular editorials for local newspapers to report how I voted and why. I maintain a blog at directfromwarren.blogspot.com to host articles I’ve written since being elected in 2009. As your next Assemblyman, I pledge to continue listening and reporting to those who elect me to represent them.
I understand and share the deep frustration and dissatisfaction many have felt with our lack of a voice in Sacramento. Please consider joining the team to challenge politics-as-usual. Special interests may dump a lot of funding into Mr. Mathis’ campaign, but we hold the voting rights in Assembly District 26. Together, we can again have a local voice in the Sacramento Assembly!