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Boerner Horvath faces one challenger in realigned Assembly district

77th District Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath and candidate Dan Downey (Courtesy photos)

Dan Downey running against two-term incumbent

Incumbent Tasha Boerner Horvath has a single challenger in her campaign for re-election to a third two-year term in the state Assembly.

A former Encinitas City Council member, she was first elected to 76th District in 2018 over a fellow Democrat, Oceanside community activist Elizabeth Warren, then was re-elected in 2020 over a Republican candidate, Melanie Burkholder of Carlsbad.

Tasha Boerner Horvath
(courtesy photo)
Dan Downey
(Courtesy photo)

This year the incumbent faces a different Republican challenger, Dan Downey, a financial advisor and small business owner who lives in Point Loma. And she’s running in a different district, the 77th. The redistricting completed based on the 2020 census essentially swapped the 77th for the 76th. The remapped 77th District now has less inland territory but extends farther along the coast from Carlsbad to Coronado.

Gas prices, homelessness and public safety are the top three issues in the district, Downey said in an email response to questions asked by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

“San Diego County residents and individuals across California have had enough of the taxes that are driving up the cost of everything we do,” Downey said. “When I’m in Sacramento I will fight every day to end the gas tax that is busting the budgets of working families. I would also push to refund taxpayers some of the $68 billion tax surplus, providing San Diego families with real tax relief.”

His No. 2 concern is homelessness, which has been made worse by the state’s “housing first” policy, he said. The policy emphasizes finding people shelter first, then getting them the services they need for long-term improvements.

“The best start would be to repeal Proposition 47, which downgraded many property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and thus removed a mechanism to get people the help they need through the criminal justice system and court-mandated rehabilitation,” Downey said.

Improving public safety is third on Downey’s priority list. In addition to repealing Prop. 47, he wants to do away with Proposition 57, which reduced prison sentences, and Assembly Bill 109, which shifted inmates from state prisons to the overwhelmed county jails.

“All the prosperity in the world means nothing if you don’t feel safe at home,” he said.

Downey said the district’s new boundaries this year present an opportunity to defeat the “ultra-left-wing” Boerner Horvath because she’s a new Assembly member for many voters in the district.

“We only need to convince them to send someone to Sacramento who will provide balance, financial experience and a no-nonsense approach to keeping our neighborhoods safe,” he said.

Boerner Horvath said housing and homelessness are the most important issues she sees is the district.

Homelessness has increased rapidly in recent years, especially in the coastal communities. Meanwhile, the shortage and high cost of housing have created a statewide crisis.

“We need to build more housing of all kinds that is compatible with the character of our existing communities, and that includes apartments, single-family homes, shelter beds, long-term supportive housing, and other multi-family housing,” Boerner Horvath said.

“I authored AB 803, a new law already in use to facilitate the development of smaller, affordable-by-design, single-family homes ... and worked to secure $1 million in state funding for homelessness intervention and prevention locally, to support programs that break the cycle of homelessness before it starts,” she said.

Climate change and its consequences are next on her list.

“According to the best science available, the wildfires, drought and coastal erosion we are now experiencing are only a preview of what catastrophic climate change could look like in 50 or 100 years,” Boerner Horvath said.

“As chair of the Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy, I have worked to highlight the issues we face, while at the same time I’ve fought for more investments in our ability to respond to climate change, include AB 66, which funds research into early warning systems to detect coastal erosion and imminent sea cliff collapse.”

Cost of living and inflation also are priorities for the Assembly member.

“I am authoring an independent audit request through the Joint Legislative Audit Committee that will focus on SDG&E and the (California Public Utilities Commission) to learn exactly why our local energy rates are spiraling out of control,” she said. “We need to be looking at ways to provide more relief for struggling families.”

Under the top-two primary system California adopted in 2012, Boerner Horvath and Downey’s names will be on all ballots in the primary. Both also will be on the general election ballot in November.


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