Caforio ‘hits the pavement’ in Simi to garner votes

By Melissa Simon

Since Bryan Caforio found out in June he would be challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Knight for the 25th Congressional District seat this November, he has been walking door to door almost every weekend to meet with constituents.

The 25th District encompasses Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, the Antelope Valley and parts of the San Fernando Valley. Of those registered to vote in the district, nearly 38 percent are Democrat and about 36 percent are Republican.

On Sunday, the Simi Valley Acorn caught up with the Democratic challenger and his wife, Lisa, as they walked around a neighborhood near Rancho Simi Community Park off Erringer Road.

Also canvassing with the couple were Nic Jordan, a member of Caforio’s campaign, and Uday Khattar, a Royal High School freshman with an interest in politics who volunteered to help the candidate.

As they went from home to home around 11:30 a.m. Oct. 9, some residents came to the door to politely shake the candidate’s hand, while others did not answer at all.

One resident, Gerald Akins, invited Caforio and his wife into his home. Akins said he and his wife, Carla, are “die-hard Democrats, and if a candidate has a ‘D’ next to their name,” they get the couple’s vote.

Caforio told the couple he believes he’s got the right message to win the election.

But Akins, a 40-year Simi Valley resident, said it seems “you don’t have to have the right message in light of what’s happening right now” with the presidential race.

“This country is nothing without compassion, and we’re losing it,” he said.“I grew up dirt poor near the river inMinnesota, and if a bum came by and asked for a sandwich, we’d give him something, even if it was a sugar sandwich with bread.

“But nowadays, people just don’t care.”

Caforio responded by saying, “I think we need to do a lot more of looking out for our neighbors, being our brother’s keeper and trying to move forward as a community, instead of just looking out for the biggest banks and the biggest donors. We need to fight for women’s equality, Social Security and Medicare, and immigration reform.”

Akins agreed with the candidate, adding that Caforio definitely has the couple’s vote come this November.

Asked about being invited into constituents’ homes, Caforio said it happens about 10 percent of the time he is out canvassing.

“It makes you feel good when you’re out talking to people and they invite you in to talk about how we, as a community, can move forward together,” the congressional hopeful said.

Big ideas

As someone who has never run for office before, the consumer rights attorney and Valencia resident said “hitting the pavement” has been an important part of his campaign strategy in his efforts to unseat Knight, who was first elected to the 25th District in 2014.

“There’s nothing better than a one-on-one conversation where you can answer someone’s questions and talk about issues. But I also understand there’s 250,000 voters and you can’t talk to everyone. That’s where the mailers and emails come into play,” Caforio said.

The candidate has been quick to point out what he considers to be Knight’s shortcomings as a congressman in emails to those subscribed to Caforio’s mailing list. His campaign has also sent out numerous attack mailers against his opponent.

Still, Caforio said, he wants to bridge the gap between voters on both sides of the aisle.

“The talking heads on TV would like us to believe we’re a polarized and hopelessly divided country, but when you’re out there talking to people you quickly see most want the same thing,” he said. “People want a safe community to raise their families with good schools for their kids, a clean environment and an opportunity for a job where they can provide for their family.”

The son of two public school teachers, Caforio said he grew up in the middle class and had a lot of opportunities. But now, too many people are not getting those same chances.

While there are many issues the congressional hopeful is passionate about, he said, the big ones are improving the economy, Social Security and Medicare, and implementing legislation for immigration reform and stronger equal pay rights for women.

Other issues Caforio would like to focus on if elected are climate change and renewable energy, including solar and wind power.

Washington is broken right now and . . . that’s what led me to run for Congress, because I was seeing this destructive, broken system where too many people are getting taken advantage of,” the candidate said.

“The only way to make a difference is to stand up and get some of these obstructionists (in Congress) out one seat at a time. That’s what I’m trying to do,” he said. “I want to fight for our community and do everything we can to move forward together.”

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