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State Assembly – District 12

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The Candidate’s unedited feedback below indicates that this presentation of information provides our members an objective which to evaluate candidates. Please review and VOTE for the candidate that you think will best represent our business community and help provide a better quality of life for all.


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State Assembly Candidates
    Harinder Grewal – Turlock Unified School District Trustee
…………Kristen Olsen: – State Assemblywoman
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1. Describe ways in which you as an elected official would encourage a collaborative and cooperative relationship with other units of government.

Harinder Grewal: I am running for the Assembly to continue the work that I have done on the local level for over two decades- work with the business community, create jobs, improve schools and reduce crime. I have held the following leadership positions: Trustee – Turlock Unified School District, Council Member, Municipal Advisory Council, Director – Community Service District, and Director of the Stanislaus County Fair Board. In those positions of elected office and community leadership I have been known for ability to work well as a member of a team to accomplish important tasks by building consensus. In the Assembly I will seek to tone down partisan rancor and develop a project-oriented and more cohesive approach. In the context of this campaign, the voters will see that I have a real track record as a pragmatic problem-solver. My record shows that party ideology is of no importance to me, just getting the job done.

Kristen Olsen: Politics requires collaboration. Successfully implementing a policy that is cohesive, effective, and beneficial to the community is a feat that can only be accomplished by working with all necessary stakeholders. When I served on the Modesto City Council, I was committed to involving as many actors as I could in a given decision. I carried this commitment to democratic participation with me to the State Assembly when I was elected in 2010. California is too big and too diverse to rely on the knowledge and expertise of 120 legislators in Sacramento. As an Assemblywoman for the Central Valley, I have maintained an open door policy, remained active in my community, and welcomed any and all input from the city, county, and community leaders in my district. I will continue to encourage open dialogue over my next term.

2. Modesto needs jobs. As an elected official, how will you contribute to improving the availability of local jobs?

Harinder Grewal: First off, I take tax breaks on a case by case basis, and my focus is always on the bottom line. But if a tax break creates local jobs in Modesto and pays for itself in economic growth, I would take a favorable position on that issue. Secondly, new taxes cannot be the answer. California as whole suffers from a boom and bust budgeting cycle that citizens and businesses alike cannot rely upon. Finally, I support a rainy day fund first- that means setting aside resources before investing them – in otherwise valuable programs–so that our state’s budget isn’t trapped in a schizophrenic up and down cycle that provides no consistency to investors, small businesses, and rating agencies.

Kristen Olsen: For too long, state government officials have been extracting tax dollars from our local communities to fund their special interests. When high-powered lobbyists secure special favors in Sacramento for corporations, small business suffers. We must ease regulations and streamline approval processes, so business owners can focus on their core mission of growing their businesses and hiring more employees. The last thing on the mind of an entrepreneurial business owner should be worrying about lawsuits or government regulators. As your Assemblywoman, I will fight to ensure that funding flows into the pockets of small businesses and families, rather than special interests. I’ve always believed that actions speak louder than words, and I am more than happy to share with you an example of how I have tangibly fought for the strength of our local economy. Recently, I co-authored a bill addressing California’s severe drought and joined with my colleagues in the Central Valley delegation in order to ensure that our unique agricultural interests were represented. Water is not only a precious resource throughout all of California, but a requirement and driver of economic prosperity here in the Central Valley.

3. If you are elected or re-elected to office, what will be your top issue? Describe the measures you will take to address this number one priority.

Harinder Grewal: Running for the Assembly is my chance to take the lessons learned in my professional career and community involvement and apply them to issues of statewide consequence. In my campaign for the Assembly I will emphasize the need to fully fund higher-education, build a growing economy, and helping small businesses in the Central Valley grow. My expertise as an agricultural economist is of particular importance in this advocating on behalf of my constituents’ need for an economy that works for everyone. I also lecture at CSU Stanislaus in Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Markets and Pricing as well as Farm Management. My experience in the classroom and as a Trustee of the Turlock Unified School District give me a healthy appreciation of the needs and challenges of our public school system. In the area of education I want to ensure that the local control funding formula and common core standards are sensibly implemented and work for all local districts while protecting students with the greatest needs for special attention. In the area of jobs growth, I want to expand access to the middle-class by preparing students for either college or a career with good-paying wages, particularly in the Central Valley where the need is so great.

Kristen Olsen: Returning jobs to our state will continue to be my top priority and at the forefront of every decision I make as a legislator. From the Gold Rush on, California was seen as a place full of opportunity. But our reputation for prosperity and opportunity has rapidly deteriorated over the past several decades due to poorly planned policies that have crushed small businesses and California’s entrepreneurial spirit. As a State Assemblywoman, I will continue to work on policies that will restore California’s reputation as the birthplace of dreams and individual opportunity. We must cut regulatory tape and nonsense policies, improve educational opportunities, require more efficient and transparent government agencies, improve water reliability and supply, and lower costs on small businesses so they can grow and create more jobs.

4. In your own words, describe the role and responsibility of the office you seek.

Harinder Grewal: As an Assembly Member I will fight for the needs of our region not one particular party or ideology. My love for our community is evident in my participation in civic life here for over 23 years. I see the need for an Assemblymember from our region who understands the need to build growing economy, good-paying jobs, and helping small businesses grow. My expertise as an agricultural economist is of particular importance in that I can effectively advocate on behalf of the needs of the farming community, as a member of the majority Democratic Party.

Kristen Olsen: Whether we like it or not, Sacramento wields significant influence over the Central Valley and its hardworking residents. Unfortunately, many of the decisions legislators make inhibit our ability to run successful businesses, provide jobs for the community, and raise our families. When I was first elected to the State Assembly in 2010, it was my goal to be as effective in crafting policy in Sacramento as I demonstrated while on the Modesto City Council. I believe that I lived up to that promise and worked day in and day out on behalf of the people I represent to further commonsense solutions and drive bipartisan agreements. I am running for re-election in order to bring honest representation for the Central Valley.

5. How do you evaluate the impact to business when making voting decisions?

Harinder Grewal: I have always sought the views of the owners of local businesses in regards to issues that come before me. I will continue this open door approach in the assembly.

Kristen Olsen: Creating good-paying jobs with ample opportunities for career advancement is the only way our state is going to recover from our stagnant economic slump. As such, I weigh the impact to California business and our state’s economy prior to voting for any measure. I will continue this practice throughout my next term, and will use my position as the Assembly Republican Leader-elect to advance bills that support small business and California’s hardworking middle class. These are the drivers of our economy, not government spending.

6. What is your relationship with other locally elected officials? When did you last meet or correspond with one of our locally elected state of federal officials?

Harinder Grewal: I have strong relationships with our local, state and federal officials and meet with them regularly.

Kristen Olsen: While serving on the Modesto City Council, Sacramento was constantly intervening with our local affairs and raiding our tax dollars. This resulted in major cutbacks and reductions to public safety services, and I was often frustrated by the lack of discretion we were given to make decisions about how to best run our cities. Since being elected to the State Assembly, I have made a conscious effort to prioritize local control. I pride myself in maintaining solid and steady relationships with local elected officials in my district, as I know that it is only through cooperation that we are able to achieve progress for Central Valley residents.

7. What are your plans to create economic development and jobs?

Harinder Grewal: We have a duty to help expand our middle class by engaging in a thoughtful and meaningful economic development program. I believe in a bottom-up approach to invest in the people of California to help California businesses compete, expand, and grow our economy and middle-class while at the same time ending government subsidies for corporate interests that are not in the best interests of California. Finally, we need to put California first by investing in our basic infrastructure in ways that help prepare California for tremendous growth over the next 100 years.

Kristen Olsen: As I have stressed throughout this questionnaire, I am both a proponent and fierce advocate for local control and low taxes and regulations that will lead to good jobs, great schools, and a more transparent, efficient, and accountable government. High taxes and stringent regulations have crushed small businesses, the only proven drivers of job growth. We must work to reverse this trend and aggressively pursue tax relief for California’s hardworking, middle-income individuals, families, and employers. To this end, I have maintained a consistent record of supporting small business owners and will continue to do so throughout my next term in the State Assembly.

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