Gooch Says She Offers Continuity Of Representation In The 31st District

(April 23)  Lesli Gooch said she is running for Congress because “I want to continue what I have been  doing my entire career, advocating for the people of the 31st District. I have learned how to get things done. I have been working over a decade on behalf of Inland Empire families. We have been fighting and winning matters dealing with economic growth. I am running for Congress because I don’t want to see our hard work stopped because Congressman Miller is retiring. I believe it is important to continue to work on behalf of Inland Empire Families. I do not want to see the next representative of the 31st District advocate or vote for policies that will be harmful to this area. My candidacy is all about getting things done for the Inland Empire.”
Miller, the Republican incumbent in the 31st District, is not seeking reelection. Gooch and two other Republicans, Ryan Downing and Paul Chabot, are competing against four Democrats – Eloise Gomez Reyes, Danny Tillman, Pete Aguilar and Joe Baca – to see who will next represent the district, which includes the cities of  Rancho Cucamonga, Loma Linda, Grand Terrace  and portions of Fontana, Colton, Rialto and San Bernardino and the community of Muscoy.
Gooch said she had gained valuable experience as Miller’s legislative assistant, staff director of the committees he chaired or cochaired and as his senior policy director. Miller was the chairman of the Committee on International Monetary Policy and Trade.
“From my experience I  know it  takes two things to grow the Inland Empire’s economy,” Gooch said. “We need an expansion of the construction industry and we need exports and trade. We need to create jobs and grow our economy. Economists forecasting what is to happen in our state economy see a lot of real opportunities for growth. We have to take advantage of having all of the logistics at our disposal. We have goods coming from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. We need to take advantage of that. We need to support construction, which is another area where we can see growth. We need commercial and residential housing in the future. Part of a strong economy is balancing the budget to make sure government  is not overregulating businesses which are responsible for job creation There was more regulation coming out of Washington, D.C. this year than any year in the federal registry. That regulation is killing the opportunity to grow and create jobs.”
Gooch continued, “Another major issue in the 31st District is that in order for jobs to be created, we need a work force that is skilled for the current economy. I know of vacancies locally, ones involving $40 per hour jobs, but the work force here is not trained to fill those. We need to figure out how best to grow the economy to match our work force with available jobs. We need to make the education system provide the training so we can bring in skilled workers who can fill those jobs.”
Gooch said good legislation and policy aimed at improving the situation with regard to national challenges redounds to the betterment of local areas such as the 31st District.
“It all works together,” she said. “I saw through my work as the staff director with the International Monetary and Trade Committee that improvements to our ports will make companies located there more competitive and that when companies are competitive the economy improves. Consumers around  the world want to buy American products but our taxes and regulations put on American goods price us out of reach. We need to stop doing that to be competitive in the global economy. We clearly have some significant foreign policy challenges we need to face. We need to make sure we handle threats to our national security in the right way. I am concerned this [the Barack Obama] administration  has not performed in the right way.”
Congress needs to rethink and revisit the issue of health care, Gooch said. “The question is: with the Affordable Care Act are we taking a step in the wrong direction.” Gooch said. “Is this approach actually making health care less affordable than in the past?. This upside down approach is hurting more than it is helping. We have to make sure consumers can choose their doctors and afford the level of care they want.”
Gooch said she represents the best choice among candidates in the 31st District because “There are important things going on in Washington, things that are not a job for amateurs. People are tired of waiting for competent leadership. Congressman Miller was a bright light in a dysfunctional Congress. We were able to go in there and did things and got things done. We were able to pass policies so that companies could export goods and create jobs. That takes experience and commitment. I am the leader the people of this district are looking for. I have a PhD in how Congress works. I am a listener. I have been addressing those problems throughout my career.  We need someone in Washington who can deliver. In Congress you have show horses and you have workhorses. We need a workhorse. I am the candidate who can do that and hit the ground running right away. Look at my track record. It is clear we have solved problems.”
Gooch said she represents a transcendence over politics as usual.
“If people are looking for a candidate who will be a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner, I am not the right person for that,” she said. “I am a candidate who will advocate for the people of the 31st District. I am the candidate of smaller government, one who will reduce taxes and big, liberal government, who will stop the expenditure of wasted tax dollars in the name of the economic stimulus. I will not contribute to the gridlock in Washington. That is not why I am running. My intent is to solve problems and move us forward. I am not one of those who will not know what is in the bill she is voting on. I wrote bills and I know how the people are represented in the legislation that goes through.”
Gooch graduated from Arlington High School in Riverside and attended UC Riverside before transferring to the  State University of New York at Brockport, where she obtained a degree in political science. She subsequently qualified for a graduate fellowship at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma where she earned a Ph.D. in political science with a focus in congressional studies, public policy, and public administration.
Along the way she did internships with the clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court and New Jersey Congresswoman Marge Roukema. She was hired by Miller in 2003 to serve in his office, eventually becoming his senior policy advisor and legislative director. In 2007 she went to work for the county of San Bernardino Housing Authority, including representing the county in Washington. She subsequently represented two non-profit housing entities and  returned to Miller’s staff in 2011. Married, she has two children and four grandchildren.

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