GOP’s Downing Wants To Make History As Youngest Bi-Racial Congressman

(April 14) Ryan Downing, who was the last candidate to emerge in the race to succeed Gary Miller as Congressman in the 31st District, is widely seen as the spoiler in the race.
Two years ago, Miller, a Republican whose former 41st  Congressional District in southwestern San Bernardino County, Northeastern Orange County and Southeastern Los Angeles County was redistricted into other districts occupied by fellow Republicans, chose to run in the 31st District, which lies within San Bernardino County and featured a 41 to 33 percent registration advantage favoring the Democratic Party. Despite that, Miller benefited from the open primaries California reinstated that year. Miller found himself competing against one other Republican, Bob Dutton, while the Democrats fielded four candidates – Pet Aguilar, Justin Kim, Rita Ramirez Dean and Renea Wickman. Simple mathematics redounded to his favor as he and Dutton divided the Republican vote two ways, while the slightly larger Democratic vote was divided four ways. Miller and Dutton proved the two top vote-getters in the June primary race and then Miller defeated his fellow Republican in November 2012.
This year, Miller opted not to run again. That brought two Republicans into the race – Lesli Gooch, who was a member of Miller’s staff, and Paul Chabot, who had previously lost out in a narrow race for state assembly in 2010. Republicans were heartened to learn that the Democrats appeared fated to a replay of the series of events that sent a Republican to Washington, D.C. to represent the Democratic-leaning 31st District two years ago. Again, four Democrats – Pete Aguilar, Joe Baca, Eloise Gomez Reyes and Danny Tillman – qualified their candidacies this year. Déjà vu seemed possible, with Gooch and Chabot potentially being able to outpoll their Democratic rivals in June to force a run-off between two members of the GOP in November.
That hopeful scenario for the Republicans was dealt a setback, however, when Downing, a Republican who lives outside the district, jumped into the race at the last minute.
Downing lives in Whittier, well outside the 31st District, which stretches eastward across San Bernardino County through a large portion of Fontana, Rialto, Colton, San Bernardino and Redlands. Members of Congress, however, need not live in the district they represent but must merely be a resident of the state in which the district is located.
Downing rejected suggestions that he is looking to be a spoiler in the race or was somehow serving as a stalking horse on the part of the Democrats to cripple Chabot and Gooch and harm their elective chances.
Rather, he said, he was earnestly seeking the office out of a sincere desire to reassert basic American principles.
“I want to try to do something by working with my constituents to help reestablish and restore the value of the Constitution,” he said. “We have had our First and Second Amendment rights trampled on. We are losing our right to free speech. Honest citizens are no longer able to carry weapons to protect themselves from criminals. The government is telling people they have to buy health care. Those are all contrary to our constitutional rights.”
As he moved down the list of issues he believes are most germane to the interests of the district voters and residents, Downing sounded like a bona fide Republican. “Changing and improving education, reducing taxation,  and jobcreation is what I stand for,” he said. “The 31st District is stagnating economically. There are no jobs here. To survive, everyone needs to bring in income. People can’t live on a $500 monthly county handout. We need to work to make ourselves competitive. We need to create free market conditions. We need perfect competition, fair competition.”
Downing said his solution to the 31st District’s malaise is “First and foremost we need a representative to go to companies and tell them we will do whatever it takes to have you put your factories in San Bernardino County and locate your warehouses here. Then we should give them incentives in the form of tax breaks to make good on those pledges.”
Schools are in need of drastic reform, Downing said.  “We need to tear down the education system and rebuild a system designed to actually teach. The community needs to hold its teachers accountable. Our students are near the bottom percentile in worldwide testing. We should have standards and goals that are strictly enforced. The people who are educating and rearing our next generation should be getting psychological evaluations.”
While he said universal medical care availability is a laudable goal, he said the Affordable Care Act was a misnomer and that there were better methods for achieving the goal of making health care available to everyone.
“Something needs to be done about Obamacare,” he said. “It does not stick to the Constitution and it is too expensive. My wife makes about $3,000 per month at her job. Parking is $400 per month. With rent and health care and taxes, her entire paycheck is gone. We need more doctors. We need to educate more doctors.  In Germany, if you want to be a doctor, they send you to school to become a doctor.”
He likened being a Congressman to two things: “Being a congressman is serving as a simple public servant. Being a congressman is like being a circus performer juggling many different hats. I believe I deserve to be elected because I am like the people in the 31st District. I am a common man. I believe the job of a congressman is to be a simple civil servant. You can call me on my personal cell phone. I will be every bit as approachable as the watch commander at the police department or the fire marshal. I will put my constituents first. I look forward to people hearing what I have to say and then giving me their yea or nay. I will be a person who does what the Constitution says. Congress should not be out of touch with the citizens. I will be in the field meeting people. People will be able to come to me and I will come to them. You will be able to catch me out in front of WalMart meeting people. I may not agree with everyone and I know others will have differences with me. But I will find a meeting point where we can agree to find some common ground. I can speak in human language. I can speak for the common man. I can speak for the common human good. That is what distinguishes me from the other candidates. I offer hope. Not Obama hope, real hope.”
Downing bristled at the suggestions of some of his opponents that he was a carpetbagger, who lived outside of the district and was illegitimately seeking to become the leader of a constituency which he was not truly a part of.
“I am from Whittier,” he said. “So what does that mean? Are they saying I should be considered a carpetbagger? That is not what I am. I do happen to live in Whittier. I have a business that takes me all over the area, particularly into San Bernardino County. I am familiar with Whittier and the people and business owners there are very familiar with me. Whittier is a strong community. The community dictates to the politicians there. The politicians do not dictate to the citizens. I chose to run in San Bernardino County because I believe I can bring to it what exists in Whittier. I could have run in Whittier where more people know me and where I might even have had a better chance. I think my talents and what I have to offer will do more good in San Bernardino County. I did live in Fontana. I went to Fontana High School. I worked at the discount market in Rialto. When I was there San Bernardino was still an All American City. My aunt still lives there. I was away for a while and when I came back, I could not believe what happened to the place.  I don’t know how government could let that happen. San Bernardino has a lot of issues but it is not entirely crippled from being something good again. Redlands and Rancho Cucamonga still offer strong communities and business districts. People who know me know that I chose to jump into a race to run against six seasoned people because I really believe people have a choice to make, to vote for a candidate that will do the most he can to carry them up the mountain while he is getting his back whipped. If I lose, I will respect what the constituents say.”
Downing said he wanted the voters in the 31st District to know that he believes that “Congress should stick to the law of the land, which is the Constitution. We have the right to land, liberty and freedom. We left Britain because the British King George was taxing us as colonists unfairly and we had become a slave to the monarchy. We are pretty much repeating that all over in America today.”
Downing, who at the age of 25 is the minimum age required to be a member of the House of Representatives, said the voters in the 31st District should avail themselves of “the opportunity to elect the youngest bi-racial candidate for Congress in U.S. History. I will work tirelessly to represent the district and return it to All-American standing. I call upon the district’s residents to really research who they are voting for.”
Born in Monterey Park, Downing attended Cal State Northridge, where he studied cinema, television arts and philosophy. He owns political consulting and signature gathering business. Married, he has two children.

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