The race for California’s 72nd Assembly District features Democrat Diedre Nguyen, a current Garden Grove Councilwoman, against Republican Janet Nguyen, a former state senator and former Orange County Supervisor.
The district covers Seal Beach, Rossmoor, Los Alamitos, Westminster, Fountain Valley and parts of Garden Grove and Huntington Beach.
The candidates answered these question from The Sun via email and were each given equal space to respond.
The Sun The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis is arguably the biggest challenge facing Californians right now. What policies or funding would you support to stop the spread of the coronavirus, safely reopen schools and get businesses back on track?
“COVID-19 has devastated our community. We need to help small-businesses recover and get people working again while following health guidelines. We need to repeal AB5, the job-killing bill that made many independent jobs illegal when the pandemic was already costing so thousands of jobs.
I am the mother of two elementary aged children that attend public schools. As a working mom, I understand how difficult it has been for parents to give our children an education while working full time. It’s time to get our schools the resources they need to make our schools a safe learning environment.”
“As a city councilmember in Garden Grove, I have worked with our small businesses to keep them afloat and preserve jobs, including zero interest loans, grants, and accelerated permitting for outdoor business. We’ve also offered rental assistance to keep people in their homes. I will apply the lessons from this work to statewide efforts. As a cancer scientist, I believe in strong leadership that requires masks, social distancing, a safe process for vaccine development, and funding to make testing free and available to everyone. If we can more effectively contain the virus, we can start to get our lives back.”
The Sun: What do you think is the #1 issue for constituents in the district and how would you address it if elected?
“Our number one issue is the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has impacted our businesses, families and schools. Prioritizing public health while making sure we reopen our economy is the most important thing right now. People are suffering and the possibility of losing their homes and businesses are real. Small businesses are closing permanently, the number of homeless are increasing and workers who have lost their jobs are having trouble getting unemployment benefits. These will be my number one focus in the State Assembly.”
“COVID-19. It will dominate everything until we can get it under control with a vaccine and smart social interactions. Aside from the health concerns, re-opening schools and getting our economy back on track are the two most major hurdles we face. Both can be made significantly more stable if we implement better testing, contact tracing, and isolation protocols that require more federal and state resources. I will urge the president and congress to fund these types of programs as well as increased unemployment payments, rental & homeowner assistance, and a large public infrastructure building program.”
The Sun: The 72nd Assembly district covers several cities with a diverse population. According to the OC Registrar’s office, roughly 30% of registered voters in the district are No Party Preference voters or affiliated with smaller parties. How do you appeal to voters who aren’t Democrats or Republicans?
“This office isn’t about partisan politics, it’s about being a representative. That’s what the public wants right now, they want someone to be their voice in Sacramento. I will always be focused on serving our community. When I served as State Senator, my office worked tirelessly to make sure we responded to constituent needs, and I was engaged with our local businesses when they had problems. I secured funding for our local schools, hosted multiple annual free events including the health expo, free flu shots and even provided free tax preparation. I’m committed to serving the community.”
“I am a Democrat, but I am an American and a Californian first. I will be a leader for everyone. As a scientist, I find good judgments are best made by considering the facts and following the evidence. I will use the same approach to make sure all Californians have opportunity to attend good schools, have access to affordable healthcare, have a chance to earn a good living, and find housing they can afford. On the city council I have a reputation for working with everyone and bringing people together to solve problems. That’s how I’ll lead in the State Assembly.”
The Sun: Democrats hold a supermajority in California’s legislature. What does that mean for you if elected? Name one issue you would work with the opposing party to address?
“I am running to be a voice and the representative for everyone. There are too many in Sacramento that think and vote the same. I want to be in Sacramento to challenge the status quo, ask the tough questions and help the majority understand our constituents’ struggle and issues in my District. I want to make our government more efficient. There is no better example of government ineffectiveness than the mess that is the EDD. We literally have millions of struggling Californians waiting months for unemployment benefits during this pandemic. This is unacceptable and I will work across party lines to address this.”
“If I’m elected, I will be the first Democratic in a generation to represent this area. With Democrats in power, I will be able to bring more resources to our district for schools, businesses, roads, and healthcare. I would work with everyone one expanding healthcare in California, protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and I would prefer to do that with both parties.”
Anything else you think is important for voters to know?
“I have lived in our district for almost 30 years and am a graduate of our local public school. My two boys go to public school in our district. I have served as your Supervisor and State Senator. I love our community and want to continue working for you as your next Assemblywoman. I am proud to be endorsed by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, former Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, local police and firefighters, Howard Taxpayers Association PAC and the Orange County Medical Association. I would be honored to receive your vote. Please call me at (714) 786-8800 if you have any questions. Thank you.”
“I am running because I want all Californians to have the same opportunities I did, and I’m worried the system is starting to tilt against the idea that hard work and dedication are enough to succeed. I will fight for the underdog and for regular people who just want a fair shot at a better life. Everyone should get a great education, not just those who live in the right zip code or in private schools. It’s the same for healthcare and housing. That’s the California I will be working to build as your Assemblymember.”