State government

Assembly candidate Call pitches new-look GOP

By From page A1 | March 11, 2014

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Dustin Call. Courtesy photo

Fourth District Assembly candidate Dustin Call says he represents a new generation of Republicans — one that can work across party lines and better communicate its message with voters regardless of ethnicity or age.

“I believe in a principled yet pragmatic approach to the challenges Californians are facing and in actually getting things done, not just making noise,” Call writes on his campaign’s Facebook page.

The 28-year-old Davis resident works as an aide to Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, and attends UC Davis part-time as a senior political science major.

Call and Esparto farmer and retired U.S. Marine Corps reservist Charlie Schaupp are the first two Republicans in the race to replace termed-out Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis. The Yolo County GOP has endorsed Call.

In June 3’s open primary, he and Schaupp will face three Democrats: Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd, Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza and Davis Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk.

In an interview on Monday, Call described himself as a fiscal conservative but a social moderate. For example, he supports a path to legal status for illegal immigrants paired with tight border security and reform of the legal immigration system — a system that allowed him to meet his wife, Stephanie, who as a child came to California with her Guatemalan parents.

His priorities include improving education through greater spending transparency.

He stopped short of making specific proposals now, because K-12 schools are undergoing significant change, including implementing Common Core (Call said he was “neutral” on the new standards). Teachers’ unions have “a little too much control” over reform, he said:

“They don’t like to see change, and I understand why, they’re looking out for their jobs, as everyone should, but too often their efforts come at the expense of students and the students’ parents.”

Higher-ed dollars should be spent on keeping tuition low, rather than high administrative salaries and large pensions, noting that 24 retired UCD employees receive six-figure pensions.

Gov. Jerry Brown has taken good first steps on pension reform, Call said, but more needs to be done to reduce the burden on the state. He supports pensions for, say, first responders, but less so for “administrative people — they’re workers in service to California, but it just doesn’t make sense to me why someone who’s not working should be paid with taxpayer dollars.”

Call said that more needed to be done to reduce start-up costs, in taxes and fees, for small businesses, and that he would act as a tax watchdog, particularly for low- and middle-income Californians.

Like the district’s other candidates, he opposes Brown’s delta tunnel plan, in Call’s case because of its potentially negative impact on communities like Clarksburg, where residents are concerned about their ground water.

Locally, Call served as campaign manager for Yolo County Supervisor Duane Chamberlain in 2012, when he held off the challenger, Woodland Mayor Art Pimentel, by 449 votes.

That same year, Call was a field rep during Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann’s unsuccessful bid to unseat Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove.

In 2011, Call served as a volunteer coordinator in direct marketer Craig Huey’s losing special-election congressional campaign in the 36th District. A year earlier, Call worked as a field intern and new media representative during business executive Meg Whitman’s gubernatorial run.

Call is an appointed delegate to the state GOP for 2013-14. On campus, he has been active with the UC Davis College Republicans, including stints as communications director and vice chair. He is the Yolo GOP’s vice chair for precincts.

Before transferring to UCD, the San Gabriel Valley native attended Citrus College in Glendora from 2008 to 20011.

Democrats enjoy a huge registration advantage in the 4th District, with 45.7 percent of registered voters to 25.9 for the GOP. Decline-to-state voters make up 22.9 percent.

By early February, the trio of Democratic candidates had raised more than $1 million, making it the state’s most expensive Assembly campaign.

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
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