Democrat Hargrove Defying Odds Against GOPs In 42nd District

(April 2) Morongo Unified School District Board Member Karalee Hargrove is running for the California Assembly in the 42nd District, the sole Democratic candidate in a race that features Republicans Chad Mayes and Gary Jeandron.
“I saw that no Democrat and no woman was running and I thought, ‘Why give the seat away to someone who does not represent me?’ I am talking about the issues in the state of California – vocational education, water, economic opportunity  and the need to address how we are going to spend the money that will come available with the budget surplus we are now anticipating. How are we going to backfill the cuts we have made in recent years?  I think we need as a leader someone who has been in the shoes of employees who were furloughed or had to take an eight dollar an hour job because that was all they could get. That is why I thought I would run.”
The district includes a number of desert communities in both San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Included in the district are the cities and communities of Banning, Beaumont, Cabazon,    Calimesa, Cherry Valley, Hemet, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, San Jacinto, and Whitewater in Riverside County and Joshua Tree, Landers, Morongo Valley, Pioneertown, Twentynine Palms, Yucaipa and Yucca Valley in San Bernardino County.
A major issue facing the district, Hargrove said, is what development and regulatory standards are going to be applied to solar power projects in the desert.
“There are a lot of solar farms seeking out our valuable desert land,” she said. Other issues include “creating infrastructure and jobs where people can make prevailing wage, ensuring an adequate water supply and educating students for the workplace.”
“Why do we have so much grass in the desert,” she asked, indicating xeriscaping should be encouraged. “Seventy percent of our water goes to agriculture. We need to devote a larger share of our education to vocationalization. Eighty percent of our high school students do not go to college. How are we preparing those students for real life skills?”
Hargrove said, “The overall state issues I am concerned with are prison overcrowding, housing, water, vocationalizing education.  We invest a tremendous amount of money in educating students and when they hit the age of 18 and get their diploma we cut them loose. We need to focus on job training and not just college readiness. I also believe every child four years old should be put into a preschool setting,”
Hargrove said she understood that she was a Democrat in a district that is predominantly Republican. But she pointed out that sending a Republican to the statehouse to represent the 42nd District will not be beneficial politically, given the heavy majority of Democrats in the legislature. She said she is capable of voicing the concerns of her Republican constituents.
“I’m ready to listen and learn about the issue and take action that the people I will represent feel is important,” she said. “I think it is easier for fellow Democrats to engage with each other than with Republicans. If you send Republicans to Sacramento without bipartisan support you will end up with what we have had for the last several years, which is ineffective representation. We have not had a visible assemblyperson. If I am elected I will put an office into the Morongo Valley. We have had representatives who are very loyal to just those financing their campaign. The only people I have to answer to are the people of the 42nd District. With me, you don’t have to worry about that. I’m not taking money from big money donors. Once in office I will pursue campaign finance reform. We need to stop allowing special interests from buying our representatives’ seats. When we do that we will have fair representation at the state and national level and have people elected on what they can do for and bring to the district and not on how much money they have raised.”
Hargrove contrasted herself with Mayes, an avowed foe of legalized abortion. “When it comes to reproductive rights, women must be able to make decisions for themselves,” she said.
With regard to economic opportunity, she said, “A strong economy is not built completely at the local level. Big things require big involvement. When California borrows money it should not be squandered. Borrowing and tax revenues fluctuate with the highs and lows of economic cycles. When the economy is strong we should be planning to weather the next downturn. Long term planning is more effective than responding to repetitious crises. Government regulation should serve to establish ground rules for fair competition, health, and safety. Legislating preferences for one group over another abuses the role of government.”
She has been endorsed by the  State Democratic Party and the National Women’s Political Caucus of California
Hargrove grew up in Wilmington and obtained her high school diploma at Fayetteville Technical College in North Carolina. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from American University and has a minor in political science and a major in childhood and family development. She is married with five children between the ages of two and 12. She has lived in Twentyine Palms off and on since 2000. Her husband is employed by the Department of Defense and he works at the Twentyine Palms Naval Hospital on the Marine Base.

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  1. Pingback: Karalee Hargrove Holds on to Lead, 42nd Assembly » Cactus Thorns

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