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The following article was posted on May 7th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 9 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 9

A long line of candidates wants Lois Capps' seat in the House


The crowd is thick in the race for U.S. Rep. Lois Capps’ (D-Santa Barbara) seat in the 24th Congressional District, which includes Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties. Nine candidates are registered for the June primary, but if you follow the money, Capps is holding her incumbent head well above the rest of the political hopefuls. She has $1.3 million in her campaign coffers, while the next closest fundraiser is Republican Justin Fareed, who has managed to collect almost $225,000 from his supporters.

But the countdown to the primary is here, and with a little less than a month left to go, here’s the quick skinny on four of the candidates—in no particular order, except for who called back first. Remember, though, the stances expressed in this article are compacted because of space. To really check out the candidates and what they think of the issues, be sure to visit their websites. Next week, the Sun will give you the lowdown on the rest of the field. 


Steve Isakson

The budget and a dysfunctional U.S. Congress are the two things Steve Isakson wants to take on first, should he get elected. Isakson’s the chief engineer at Rantec Power Systems in Los Osos and has lived on the Central Coast for more than 40 years.

Campaign money is a non-issue for Steve Isakson of Atascadero. What is important to him is an emphasis on the issues, which is also why he doesn’t align himself to one particular party.

“If I associate myself with one of the parties, then I’m to some extent saying that I support their platform,” Isakson said. “I am a party unto myself.” 

On immigration/labor shortages: He said he could see “some sort of a pass” being created for undocumented immigrants who have been working in the U.S. and don’t have a criminal record, adding that labor laws should be more strictly enforced. 

On energy/oil: “I’d like to move toward more environmentally sound resources in the long run.” He said he’s heard enough negatives about hydraulic fracturing that he believes the practice should be put on hold until more studies are completed about its environmental ramifications. 

On the Affordable Care Act: To be successful, Isakson said the Affordable Care Act must be fully implemented, rather than rolled out one portion at a time. Eventually he believes the intents of the act will be realized, health care costs will go down, and the less fortunate will have insurance.

On job creation/economy: “At the federal level, there’s a limit to what you can do … job formation is largely a local issue,” he said. But he added that the country needs to stop moving jobs overseas and figure out a way to keep businesses at home. 

To read more about Isakson’s take on the issues, visit www.steveisaksonforcongress.com. 


Paul Coyne

Passage of a balanced budget amendment is at the top of Paul Coyne’s to-do list if he takes over the 24th U.S. Congressional District. Coyne’s been on the Central Coast for 40 years and currently manages two banks in the Five Cities area.

Paul Coyne considers himself a conservative (Blue Dog) Democrat, which he said means he’s more fiscally conservative than others in his party.  

“Fiscal responsibility has been largely ignored,” Coyne said. “My focus is on job creation and the economy, to be honest with you, not health care, not social issues.”

On immigration/labor shortages: The borders are too porous, Coyne said, so first, he believes the U.S. needs to step up border protection. He thinks there should be legislation put in place that establishes a guest-worker program as well as a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S.

On energy/oil: “I do not support offshore drilling … the community as a whole has spoken strongly about this,” Coyne said. “That being said, I am in support of continued exploration of the Monterey shale.” But he added that support is for companies who drill extract oil without using hydraulic fracturing. 

On the Affordable Care Act: “Philosophically, I agree with the Affordable Care Act,” Coyne said. But he thinks the federal government did a poor job of rolling it out. He also added that before any changes are made to the law, research needs to be done on the law’s effects—i.e. did health insurance costs go down? Who’s benefiting?

On job creation/economy: Coyne supports deregulation of small and medium-sized businesses and said that he wants to take a look at the licensing and fee structures surrounding them as well as cut the corporate tax rate. 

Coyne’s fiscal views are outlined in depth on his website, coyneforcongress.com. 


Justin Fareed

Born and raised on the Central Coast, Justin Fareed grew up in the cattle industry and helps with the family business. For the last two years, he worked as a legislative aid, and said he witnessed first hand how government works. “We need to go back to representative government,” he said.

As far as Republican Justin Fareed is concerned, the Central Coast needs someone in Congress who’s a representative of the community, rather than a party-line voter. 

“Right now, there’s not a single representative under the age of 30 representing our generation,” said Fareed, who’s 25 years old. “My generation is going to inherit an America that’s worse off than the one before it.”

On immigration/labor shortages: “It’s not a simple thing to solve,” Fareed said. He supports a temporary guest-worker program and believes the U.S. needs to beef up border security. Fareed also thinks that a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. would be a good thing.

On energy/oil: “I am very much for a de-carbonized future, but in the meantime, we’re dependent on hydrocarbon,” Fareed said. He encourages oil exploration and doesn’t think the country knows enough about hydraulic fracturing to tighten regulations or ban the practice. 

On the Affordable Care Act: He thinks that issues with the Affordable Care Act are unfixable, and supports a full repeal of the bill. Health care reform is an issue he believes should be tackled on a step-by-step basis, some of which can be taken care of at the state level, such as Medicaid and the reform of malpractice lawsuits.

On job creation/economy: Fareed said the regulatory burden on business owners is too much. “So many people in our district are small-time business owners, we need to lighten the regulatory load,” he said. 

Fareed has a lot to say about regulations and the budget on his website, justinfareed.com. 


Lois Capps

Lois Capps has spent more than the last decade in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 24th District. She said anyone could walk into one of her local offices and make a difference. “The power of constituents to influence the federal government is greater than people think,” she said.

Incumbent Lois Capps said immigration reform is the most important issue she has to tackle if she is elected to another term in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

On immigration/labor shortages: Border security measures, an employee verification system, and an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrant workers are fixes for the nation’s immigration system, Capps said. “That would address the labor shortages we have, but it would also be the right thing to do for all the people living in the shadows here on the Central Coast,” the Democrat said.

On energy/oil: Capps said energy is a huge issue for the nation and drilling isn’t going away anytime soon, but she believes the practice of hydraulic fracturing should be more closely regulated. “My priority is ensuring that the drilling we do—with local permission, of course—is being done safely and with minimum impact on the environment,” she said.

On the Affordable Care Act: “It’s not a perfect law,” Capps said. “And I do support changes.” A couple of changes she thinks need to happen are enabling insurance companies to extend health care plans that were cancelled, and extending tax credits for small businesses that provide health insurance coverage options to their employees. 

On job creation/economy: She believes passing comprehensive immigration reform and increasing the minimum wage will stimulate job creation, as well as investing in infrastructure improvements and extending unemployment benefits. 

For more of Capps’ views, visit her website, cappsforcongress.com.


Contact Staff Writer Camillia Lanham at clanham@santamariasun.com.

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