All four candidates for the 80th Assembly District squared off Wednesday night for the last of three candidate forums to address some of California’s most pressing issues.
The legalization of marijuana, taxation and restrictions to gun control were some of the topics voters asked candidates to address.
Former Chula Vista councilman Steve Castaneda, one of two Democrats running for the seat, said he favors legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. The problem is, he said, medical marijuana ends up in the wrong hands.
“I think what we need to do is we need to figure out how to get legal medical marijuana to the people that need it, to the people that are in pain, the people that are suffering but unfortunately what’s happened is it’s been abused,” Castaneda said.
“And we need to figure out how to make sure that we can get that drug to people that need it in a safe and legal way, and so it doesn’t affect adversely the rest of our neighborhoods.”
Things got a little testy for Castaneda when an audience member asked him how much in back taxes he owes and when was the last time he paid them, an accusation that’s been made throughout his campaign. Castaneda replied: “I paid my taxes in 2012.”
Write-in candidate and lone Republican in the race Lincoln Pickard mostly discussed the issue of Democrats trying to rid America’s right to bear arms.
“Gun issues is sort of one of the things I’m running on. I believe the second amendment is probably one of the most important ones we got; it is sort of the key issue. We lose that, we lose all the rest of them,” Pickard said.
“It’s there to protect us from tyranny from our government basically why it’s there. It’s also there to protect us from criminals also. We have a right to self defense and that’s very crucial.”
In an odd sequence, Pickard practically conceded his election to Lorena Gonzalez. Pickard said Gonzalez has spent tons of money on her campaign and because of it, she is going to win the 80th Assembly District seat.
Gonzalez, the other Democrat on the ballot and head of the Labor Council, wants workers to pay what they can afford on their income tax.
“I believe income tax is a progressive tax which means people can pay on the ability of what they make. Unlike the sales tax and some other taxes we have which proportionally affects working people,” Gonzalez said.
Kaiden Degas, another write-in candidate and a Libertarian, said he wants to reduce the cost of taxpayers for revenue.
“I would cut expenses in eliminating the need to enforce pay for and enforcement of victimless crimes by repealing some of the laws that are in existence,” Degas said.
“And I would also put in legislation to get rid of government pensions, pension plans for workers who are going into their pension, not the one’s who are already receiving it.”
The election for the 80th Assembly District is Tuesday, May 21.