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Assembly candidates introduce themselves

Their conservative credentials are clear during the event moderated by the founder of the Newport Mesa Tea Party.

January 10, 2014|By Jill Cowan

Before a backdrop festooned with American flags and paintings of charging elephants, the four candidates vying for what will be an open 74th Assembly District seat traded conservative credentials at a Newport Mesa Tea Party Patriots event Thursday night.

The meeting at Costa Mesa's Halecrest Park Swim and Tennis Club drew about 100 people. Newport Mesa Tea Party founder Tom Pollitt moderated.

One by one, the candidates — who will be on the ballot next year to replace Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) as he runs for the Orange County Board of Supervisors — discussed how they would create jobs and loosen the state's hold on local government.

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First, Santa Ana native and community activist Karina Onofre told audience members that her top priorities are luring businesses to California and increasing educational access.

If elected, the 31-year-old said, she would push to keep new businesses from having to pay corporate taxes for 11 years.

Onofre, the only woman in the field, also pledged to bring a feminine touch to Orange County's Assembly delegation.

"Men and women are wired differently," she said. "When there are women, they regulate. We need a strong, conservative woman to regulate."

As a Latina and a former Democrat who "saw the light," Onofre said she represented the future of the Republican Party. She added that she planned to prove wrong those who doubt that there's a place for "beautiful women" in politics, citing Sarah Palin as a positive example.

Next, Newport Councilman Keith Curry outlined his history working in Republican politics, from the time he heard anti-tax activist Howard Jarvis speak to his time serving in the Reagan administration as an assistant to the federal transit administrator.

He stressed that he would work to lower taxes — echoing Onofre's concerns that California was scaring businesses out of the state with over-taxation and regulation.

Curry, 58, added that he would safeguard the provisions of Proposition 13, the 1978 voter-approved initiative that put limits on property taxes and required a two-thirds vote for any future tax hikes.

"I'm the guy who's going to protect Prop. 13," he said. "I'm going to make sure they don't take away the protections we voted for."

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