2012-05-18 / Community
Jackson: creating jobs top priority
Former Assembly member seeks seat she narrowly lost in 2008
Also in the race are Republican Mike Stoker, a former Santa Barbara County supervisor, and Democrat Jason Hodge, a firefi ghter and member of the Oxnard Harbor District port commission.
Jackson, a 61-year-old Santa Barbara resident, ran for the seat in 2008 against Republican Tony Strickland and lost by half a percentage point.
The district’s boundaries have changed due to the redistricting that followed the 2010 Census, giving Democrats a 12-point edge in a district that was once GOPcontrolled. The new district encompasses Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.
Strickland is running for Congress.
Jackson was a former deputy district attorney and an Assembly member for the 35th District, which she represented for six years until 2004.
She took a break from politics for four years to co-found two nonprofit organizations and teach at several universities. She said she’s running again after taking the opportunity to step back and look at the state’s political landscape.
“I really feel that I still have a lot to offer and this is something I should do,” Jackson said.
With that sense of purpose, Jackson said her No. 1 priority in office is to create jobs. She also said she wants California to embrace green technology as a way to boost the job market.
“We should be the home of the green economy with our 300 days of sunshine and vast wind opportunities and natural resources.”
Jackson said California should manufacture the technology and install most of the projects in the state. She said she would encourage green investment by providing incentives to companies.
Many businesses leave California for other western states or countries, a problem caused not by overregulation, Jackson said, but by lack of consistency in a state whose economy tends to rise and fall more dramatically than other states.
“Businesses say, ‘I want to create a five-to-10-year plan; just tell us what we can expect,’ but California lacks predictability,” she said.
To make up for the state’s unstable economy, Jackson said, California should seek to retain those small businesses that are created in research labs at universities— such as biotech and other high-tech sectors.
“Businesses are homegrown out of research that’s done at the university level. The whole district has the potential to bring and encourage growth of these 21stcentury technologies,” Jackson said.
She said that even if California offered the newest technologies, businesses don’t think the state has the trained workforce it needs to operate. She said schools should focus on a solid math and science curriculum and encourage students to find their passion.
“Some students thrive academically or in athletics or the arts. California has a place for all these students because we’re so entrepreneurial,” Jackson said. “We should take advantage of our human capital.”
Jackson is also concerned about the growing state deficit. If elected, she said, she would close tax loopholes so corporations would pay what she called “their fair share.”
“Our colleagues on the other side of the aisle insisted on some of these tax credits, which do not serve any positive purpose in the state,” Jackson said.
However, she said it’s important that the state doesn’t spend money foolishly.
Jackson opposed offshore drilling when she was in the Assembly— a stance her opponents have said would hurt businesses with more environmental regulations.
“We don’t regulate just to regulate. We regulate for a purpose,” said Jackson, citing California’s poor air quality in the 1960s and 1970s as an example of why environmental regulations are needed.
“We need to have some of these regulations, and at the end of the day, I think most people appreciate that we’ve done that.”
Jackson, a Boston native, said she loves California’s diverse landscape and promises to protect its beaches. She said that tourism is the second-largest industry in the state and is critical to a healthy economy.