September 21st, 2016
Incumbent Congressman Steven Knight, R-Palmdale, and challenger Bryan Caforio – both competing for the 25th Congressional District – embrace priorities distinctly Republican and profoundly Democrat respectively, each emerging from backgrounds steeped in those party values.
Knight, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer born at Edwards Air Force Base, who served in the U.S. Army, state assembly, state senate and who joined the U.S. House of Representatives last year, lists his priorities as: promoting development of the aerospace sector, improving the care awarded military veterans and bolstering small businesses.
Democrat Caforio, an accomplished academic and Yale Law School grad, who grew up in a home with two public school teachers, wants to improve the economy, specifically, by empowering women across all sectors and do more to strengthen the programs created to benefit seniors.
Each contender told The Signal this week they want to ensure Cemex never begins mining in Soledad Canyon and work to buttress SCV’s valuable water resources.
“In the past year, I’ve visited 40 aerospace businesses in the district,” Knight told The Signal this week. “At least 15 of these businesses were in Santa Clarita. The lion’s share of aerospace industry is in Santa Clarita.
“It is a big part of our economy,” he said. “I see good things emerging, especially with the new bomber going into production in the next couple of years.”
Knight, who lives in the Antelope Valley with his wife Lily and their two sons Christopher and Michael, said he estimates between 3,500 and 4,000 jobs will be created as a result of sub-contracting work in the aerospace industry.
About improving care to veterans – which he called “very near and dear to my heart” – Knight said he urges every veteran struggling with bureaucracy at the Veteran’s Administration to visit his website for practical solutions and guidance through the maze of red tape.
And, when it comes to promoting small business, Knight pointed to two “small business bills” he signed which are the verge of getting signed in Washington.
Caforio also expressed a passion about improving the plight of seniors.
“There are great programs in place for seniors but we have to strengthen those programs. We need to make those programs work,” he said, calling specifically for improvements to social security and Medicare.
“This is not about Republican or Democrat when it comes to health care decisions,” he said. “We shouldn’t be taking a Democrat or Republican position on social security and Medicare.”
About Cemex, Caforio said: “We need to make sure that that mine never opens. We can’t rely exclusively on the Bureau of Land Management to make sure it doesn’t happen. We need a legislative solution.”
On the issue of Cemex, Knight commended the BLM for nullifying the company’s long-standing mining contracts, and said: “Our concern is that we move along quickly for a solution. We want this process to go faster.”
Knight also praised the city of Santa Clarita for doing “90 percent of the work” to stop Cemex mining.
When it comes to water, Knight pointed to his having coauthored water bill HR 2898 introduced last year in the House of Representatives. “Water is the biggest concern facing 39 million people in Southern California, quickly on the way to becoming 50 million.”
Caforio called water “the issue that strikes at the heart of all of us” and pointed to an effective water recycling programs operating in Orange County.
“They had a head start,” he said, noting the county’s vigorous pursuit of recycling efforts pursued more than 20 years ago. “But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start now.”
Caforio, who lives in Santa Clarita with his wife Lisa, serves as a deputy city attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
“I will not be beholden to special interest and extreme ideology,” he told The Signal this week.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt