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Commentary: I run in the tradition of Bergeson, Brewer

April 14, 2012|By Leslie Daigle

Editor's note: The following piece is excerpted from a recent speech Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, a candidate for the 74th Assembly District, made to the Newport Harbor Republican Women.

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Two significant factors overshadow this contest. First, the 10-year redrawing of district lines has created a very different district than the old 74th. It now is a coastal district which includes Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach. More than half the voters in the newly drawn district live along the coast. It also includes parts of Costa Mesa, Irvine and Laguna Woods.

About 80% of the new district is now represented by Assemblymen Don Wagner and Jim Silva. Neither is running in this district.

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My main opponent is Assemblyman Allan Mansoor of Costa Mesa, who claims he is the incumbent. In fact, his current district is only 20% of the newly redrawn 74th. Second, this election will be the first conducted with "open primaries," which means that registered voters from all parties — including independents who decline to state a party preference — can vote in the primary for any candidate they want, regardless of the candidate's party registration. The top two vote getters will run off in November.

In short, we have a wide-open new district without a traditional incumbent and very different new rules and considerations.

I believe that there are major issues that deeply concern and unite voters throughout the district, regardless of party registration — even though we instinctively understand that the political culture of Laguna Beach is different than Irvine, and Irvine's politics are very different than Newport Beach. After almost six months of campaigning, I can tell you that voters are discouraged, and even disgusted, about Sacramento's inability to responsibly face its financial mess.

Its addiction to spending and taxing, the lack of concern about the unprecedented deficits we face, the pension abuse that has mortgaged our future and the core belief that higher taxes are the only way out of our problems.

Voters in the 74th are dismayed too about our sick economy, and the sense that Sacramento's laws, endless new regulations and punitive taxes are a huge drag on job creation and economic recovery.

Voters can't understand how our public education system — once the best in the nation — is a disgrace, despite having the highest-paid teachers in the country, and education getting more than half of our general fund budget.

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