77th Assembly District election is rematch from primary race
Incumbent Assemblyman Brian Maienschein and his challenger, June Yang Cutter, will face off again on Nov. 3 after having their first match-up on the ballot during the 77th Assembly District’s primary.
Even though they were the only two on the March ballot, state election law requires the top-two finishers to advance to the general election, even when only two enter the primary. In March, Maienschein captured 57.47 percent (86,998 votes), while Cutter received 42.53 percent (64,384 votes). This election cycle is the first in which Maienschein is running as a Democrat, after leaving the Republican party last year. Cutter is a Republican.
The 77th Assembly District includes Rancho Bernardo, Poway, 4S Ranch, Del Sur, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Sabre Springs, Rancho Santa Fe, Carmel Valley and other adjacent communities. A district map is at tinyurl.com/77thmap.
Maienschein, 51, is a Del Sur resident who has lived in the 77th Assembly District for 44 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his juris doctorate from California Western School of Law.
He has been in the state Assembly continuously since 2012 and is seeking his fifth two-year term. Maienschein previously represented many North Inland communities, including Rancho Bernardo, as the District 5 San Diego City Council member from 2000 to 2008. His campaign website is brianmaienschein.com.
Cutter, 42, is a Del Sur resident who has lived in the 77th Assembly District for 11 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine, plus her juris doctorate and master’s degree from the University of Southern California.
She is a small business owner and attorney. This is her first run for political office. Her campaign website is junecutter.com.
“I am running for Assembly to be a real voice for the hard-working Californians of District 77,” Cutter said. “I am challenging Sacramento’s political machine to make sure California remains a place of opportunity, where the next generation can fulfill their American Dream.”
Maienschein, citing his ties since childhood to the area where he is now raising his daughters, said he is seeking reelection because “I’ve worked hard for a better quality of life for our community.” He mentioned several projects including “completing State Route 56, preserving the San Pasqual Valley, building parks, ball fields and much more. I led the rebuilding effort after our two devastating wildfires in 2003 and 2007. The One Stop Shop I created is now the national model for FEMA. I have a lifelong commitment to our community and will always protect it.”
When asked for his assessment of how California has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, Maienschein said, “Because California took action early, we bent the curve, slowed the spread of the virus and saved lives. I encourage the governor to work collaboratively with local governments to determine the best path forward to safely reopen our economy.”
When asked for her assessment of the state’s handling of the pandemic, Cutter said, “I am disappointed by our state governor’s response ... Specifically, I am disappointed in our state legislators who took a 4-month recess, refused to vote remotely or extend the legislative session and misrepresented that they would prioritize legislation that was essential to ... the pandemic.” She said there has been “inconsistent application of arbitrary data points and goal posts” were moved by the state at the detriment of small businesses and students. Cutter also said she is “disappointed in the failure of our EDD (Employment Development Department) that has left over 1.5 million Californians waiting for benefits.”
Cutter added that while critical, of the state government, it “does not mean that I take the virus any less seriously.”
Regarding what steps he would recommend for post-COVID economic recovery, Maienschein said, “We need to continue investing in protections for workers and small businesses. I was proud to support legislation that provided $100 million in tax credits for small businesses who hire new employees or rehire workers who were laid off. I also called for a state audit of the Employment Development Department to identify what needs to be done to fix the broken system and get unemployment assistance out to folks who need it in a timely manner.”
As for her recommended post-COVID economic recovery steps, Cutter said, “...we must be safe, but pragmatic.” She said the governor and state legislators “have been singularly focused” on COVID-19 and have not taken a “balanced approach, which takes our economy, public safety and mental health into account alongside our physical health.” She called the singular approach “short-sighted as it does not consider the lasting, long-term impact ... on so many facets of our society.” She recommends the full and immediate reopening of all businesses and schools, with increased hygiene education and sanitation protocols, while those who want to work or learn from home allowed that option.
Excluding the economic situation caused by the pandemic, Maienschein said the next three greatest issues impacting the 77th Assembly District and how he would change them are:
• Climate change — “We need to take action to address climate change, especially because it is contributing to devastating wildfires across California,” he said.
• Homelessness and mental health — “Mental health is a leading cause of homelessness and we must address the gaps in mental health care,” he said. “I have authored multiple bills addressing mental health, especially maternal mental health. I recently wrote the law to require every peri-partum mother to be screened for maternal mental health problems.”
• Education — “In the Assembly, I have supported sending more money straight to our classrooms, freezing tuition and ensuring in-state students get priority for California’s universities.”
Cutter said the next three greatest issues impacting the district and her changes are:
• Improving K-12 public education — “by demanding transparency in spending and holding the government at all levels accountable for how our schools are funded,” she said. “This is particularly pertinent to the Poway Unified School District, which is one of the lowest funded districts in all of California.” She added funding formulas need revision.
• Keeping children and neighborhoods safe — “by supporting law enforcement and opposing legislation that is not only soft on crime, but also begins the domino effect of consequences that we will only see years down the road.”
• Managing cost of living increases — “by opposing burdensome taxes and regulations” plus making it easier to run a business and employ workers. “I do not believe that ‘pro-business’ and ‘pro-worker’ are mutually exclusive concepts. ... if you create an environment where business thrives, the workforce will thrive also.”
Maienschein said he wants voters to know he is “the only candidate in this race that is pro-choice and I will always defend a woman’s right to choose.” He also mentioned receiving an “A” rating from the Sierra Club for his environmental and clean air record, opposition to tax increases, and that while in the Assembly his top legislative priorities have been homelessness, mental health and animal protection.
Cutter said she wants voters to know she is the “everymom” in the district. “I am in the trenches every single day, running my business and raising my kids alongside you,” Cutter said. “I understand the challenges that hard-working Californians face on a daily basis.” She added her “real life, real world experiences in the private sector” will give District 77 constituents a voice in Sacramento.
Maienschein said voters should select him because “I am the only candidate ... who has a record of getting things done. I have had a special relationship with this community for nearly my entire life. I grew up here and have worked hard to improve our community. ... I am proud of my record and will continue to protect our community in the state Assembly.”
Cutter said voters should select her because “I genuinely care about them. I have never worked in politics ... I’m a mom who is fed up with the direction our state is headed and feels compelled to do something to fix it. This race is not about sending me to Sacramento, it is about sending a truly representative voice for our community ... to fight for our best interests.”
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