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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Ballot and voting information for the state of California.
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District 20U.S. House of RepresentativesNovember 8, 2016California General Election

United States
November 8, 2016California General Election

U.S. House of RepresentativesDistrict 20

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Election Results

  • 100% of precincts reporting (423/423).

About this office

Representatives are elected to two-year terms to represent the people of a specific congressional district in the federal government. They introduce and vote on new laws, hold hearings, and are responsible for approving federal taxes.
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Who’s Running?

For this office, only the two candidates who get the most votes in the primary election appear in the general election. This is because of California's "top two" system. In some cases, the two candidates may be from the same political party.
Candidates are sorted in order of election results.
Democratic
Deputy District Attorney
180,980 votes (70.8%)Winning
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  • Comprehensive immigration reform
  • Protecting our environment and precious coastline
  • Improving education and college affordability
Profession:Deputy District Attorney
Deputy District Attorney, Monterey County District Attorney's Office (2010current)
Vice-Chair, Monterey County Democratic Central Committee — Elected position (20122016)
Deputy District Attorney, Alameda County District Attorney's Office (19962010)
Outreach Coordinator, Legal Services for Seniors (19931993)
Research Associate, Monterey Institute of International Studies (19921993)
Clerk, U.S. Department of State (19911992)
Santa Clara University Law School Juris Doctorate, Law (1996)
University of California, Davis Bachelor of Arts, International Relations (1991)
Monterey Peninsula Community College AA, General Education (1989)
Advisory Council Member, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (2013current)
Chair, Monterey Peninsula Community College Bond Oversight Committee (2012current)
Member, Rancho Cielo Youth Campus Board of Directors (2013current)
Member, Community Foundation for Monterey County Board of Directors (2014current)
Member, Veterans Transition Center (20112016)

From an early age, Jimmy Panetta was instilled with the value of service and the importance of giving back to our community and Country.

Jimmy currently serves as a Deputy District Attorney in Monterey County.  For the past five years, he was assigned to the Gang Team in Salinas, responsible for prosecuting violent gang members.  Jimmy began his legal career in 1996, as a prosecutor for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office in Oakland. Based on his experience in the criminal justice system - pursuing justice for victims, protecting families, and making communities safer, Jimmy was appointed to the California Councils on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, which provided guidance to the Governor’s Office on critical criminal justice programs.

In 2003, Jimmy was commissioned as an Intelligence Officer with the United States Navy Reserve.  Four years later, he voluntarily took a leave of absence from work and left home to serve on active duty with a Special Operations task force deployed to Afghanistan. Based on his meritorious service in a combat zone, Jimmy was awarded the Bronze Star.

Jimmy will never forget those with whom he served.  As a board member of the Veterans Transition Center, he worked to end veterans’ homelessness and pushed for the opening of Monterey County’s first Veterans Treatment Court, ensuring that veterans receive the services they have earned. Moreover, Jimmy worked with local leaders and fellow veterans to help establish the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery.  Based on his work, Jimmy was named a Monterey County Veteran of the Year in 2015.  Jimmy’s experience with foreign policy extends beyond the military.  He previously worked on missile and chemical weapons nonproliferation issues for the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. and at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. 

Educating our children and expanding economic opportunities have always been priorities for Jimmy.  He is active with the Rancho Cielo Youth Campus that assists at-risk youth with job training and placement.  Jimmy also chairs the Monterey Peninsula College Citizens Bond Oversight Committee and serves as a Trustee on the Foundation for the University of California at Santa Cruz.  Additionally, Jimmy has served on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation for Monterey County and the National Steinbeck Center. 

Jimmy is an associate member of the Monterey and Santa Cruz County Farm Bureaus and is committed to protecting our coastal environment, as demonstrated with his service aboard a research ship for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency and on the Advisory Council for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Jimmy received his law degree from Santa Clara University and his undergraduate degree in International Relations from the University of California at Davis.  Having grown up on the central coast of California, Jimmy  attended Monterey Peninsula College and the local public schools.  He was a league wrestling champion in high school.


Jimmy is married to Carrie McIntyre Panetta.  Jimmy enjoys spending time with Carrie and their two daughters, Siri and Gia, especially attending his daughters’ music and sporting events.

  • Monterey County Weekly
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel
  • Monterey County Herald
  • National Education Association (NEA)
  • International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Monterey County Weekly
  • Evolve California
  • End Citizens United
  • Equality California
  • Democratic Women's Club of Santa Cruz County
  • Democratic Women of Monterey County
  • California Teamsters Public Affairs Council
  • California Teachers Association
  • California School Employees Association
  • California Labor Federation
  • California Federation of Teachers
  • California Democratic Party
  • Planned Parenthood Action Fund
  • Planned Parenthood Federal PAC
  • League of Conservation Voters Action Fund
  • National Education Association (NEA)
  • Santa Clara County Deputy Sheriffs' Association
  • Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau
  • United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 5
  • UniteHERE!
  • Peace Officers Research Association of California
  • International Association of Firefighters (IAFF)
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Humane Society
  • Service Employees International Union
  • Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff's Association
  • Santa Cruz City Firefighters, Local 1716
  • Salinas Firefighters Association, Local 1270
  • People's Democratic Club of Santa Cruz County
  • Operating Engineers
  • Ocean Champions PAC
  • Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
  • Monterey County Medical Society MD-PAC
  • Monterey County Deputy Sheriff's Association
  • Monterey/Santa Cruz County Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Sierra Club
  • South Bay Labor Council's Committee on Political Education, AFL-CIO
  • South County Democratic Club
  • Hollister Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 3395
  • California League of Conservation Voters
  • California Association of Highway Patrolmen
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
  • Alliance for Retired Americans
  • visit www.jimmypanettaforcongress.com for a complete list
  • National Union of Healthcare Workers
  • Presidio Federal Firefighters Local F-166
  • National Association of REALTORS Political Action Committee
  • VoteVets PAC
  • GLBT Alliance of Santa Cruz County
  • visit www.jimmypanettaforcongress.com for a complete list
1.
Drought

The Federal Government plays a part in California water allocation and use through a variety of laws.  What, if any, legislation would you support in an effort to handle water shortages caused by the current and any future drought?

Answer from Jimmy Panetta:

Few things are as complex as water policy. True solutions to our water problems must come by bringing together all levels of government – local, state and federal.  The role of Congress is to convene all of the appropriate agencies, all of the different levels of government and all of the different constituencies, to work together to cut through the bureaucracy and find real solutions.

In the 20th Congressional District, we are continually faced with issues that threaten our water quality like saltwater intrusion, nitrates, and runoff.  Reasonable and sustainable management of groundwater resources is critical for the Central Coast because of our reliance on groundwater for drinking water and irrigation.  California has been the leader on water quality issues and we need to continue to build upon the science and use evidence based practices to ensure that quality standards are met.  

We also need to ensure that our delivery systems are up to date.  Our infrastructure is old and crumbling and we cannot allow another Flint Michigan incident to occur.  We must prioritize fixing our aging infrastructure by investing in long term improvements. 

Additionally, we must assist state and local authorities in finding answers to our chronic water shortages that affect farmers, residents and businesses. This will take a number of solutions, including aquifer storage and recovery, recharge opportunities, recycling and desalination - and most importantly, input from all stakeholders. 

 

I would support legislation that provides short term water supplies to drought stricken areas of California, while providing for long term investments in drought resiliency and funding for storage.  Any legislative package that I support will have to benefit all of the Central Coast.  Focus on our water issues must remain a priority, even when the immediate pressures of a drought are temporarily alleviated.

2.
Immigration

Should immigration laws be changed?  What changes would you support?  Please explain why.

Answer from Jimmy Panetta:

As the grandson of immigrants who crossed an ocean for the opportunity offered by America, I understand that finding a path for immigrants to succeed is fundamental to who we are as a nation. I believe that the time has come for Congress to stop playing politics and get serious about passing common sense immigration reform. America must recognize that children of immigrants born in this country – the so called “dreamers” – should have the chance to earn their way to citizenship in this country.  The answer is not deporting millions of hard working immigrants – rather it is creating a path to citizenship for law-abiding families paying taxes and those willing to play by the rules. They have fought to come here – and many have brought prosperity to their families and the California economy through their hard work and ingenuity. My goal is comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens border security, provides effective worker programs, and educational opportunities for the children of immigrants.

3.
National Security

What, if anything, does the U.S. need to do in order to address national security and terrorism? Please explain your answer in detail.

Answer from Jimmy Panetta:

As an Intelligence Officer in the United States Navy, I served with a Special Operations task force in Afghanistan that was at the forefront of the fight against terrorism. That experience gave me a special understanding of the leadership role that America must continue to have around the world to keep terrorists at bay while promoting democracy and human rights. We must protect America’s vital interests around the world with a combination of skillful diplomacy and a strong defense. Right here on the Central Coast, we have two of the leading institutions battling terrorism that together provide $1.4 billion a year to our local economy: The Defense Language Institute and the Naval Postgraduate School. I am committed to making sure these institutions are able to maintain their vital role in protecting America. In today’s world of foreign aggression and terrorism, I will make protecting our homeland a top intelligence and security priority while never losing sight of the privacy safeguards that define freedom in America.  My goal is to keep America safe by supporting a strong defense, smart diplomacy, and secure alliances, through effective counter-terrorism operations.

 

4.
Partisan Political Climate

The political climate in Washington, D.C. has been extremely partisan in recent years. In that kind of atmosphere, what would you do to get things done while in office?

Answer from Jimmy Panetta:

I realize that this is a challenging time in American politics. My goal is to do all that I can to strengthen the trust between the voters and their elected representatives.  In order to obtain that objective, my priority, first and foremost, is to serve all of the people of the 20th Congressional District. That starts by knowing, listening, and responding to the people and our issues on the Central Coast.  With that understanding and empathy, I would bring fresh ideas, new energy, independent thinking, and I will do everything in my power to renew the collaborative spirit that is necessary to get things done.

Total money raised: $1,599,223

Below are the top contributors that gave money to support the candidate(s).

1
Tanimura & Antle
$14,550
2
National Association of Realtors
$10,500
3
American Federation of Teachers
$10,000
3
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
$10,000
3
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
$10,000
3
National Beer Wholesalers Association
$10,000
3
National Education Association
$10,000
3
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
$10,000
3
UPS
$10,000
3
VoteVets
$10,000

By State:

California 66.77%
District of Columbia 16.31%
Virginia 4.80%
Maryland 2.42%
Other 9.70%
66.77%16.31%9.70%

By Size:

Large contributions (94.85%)
Small contributions (5.15%)
94.85%

By Type:

From organizations (29.64%)
From individuals (70.36%)
29.64%70.36%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

I realize that this is a challenging time in American politics and that this election is unlike those in recent memory.  What has become evident during this election season is that a great number of Americans are dissatisfied with our government and have had enough of the dysfunction in Washington.  My goal is to strengthen the trust between the voters and their elected representatives.  My priority will be to go to Washington to get things done. 

In order to realize my goal, I understand that it takes a commitment to fight for the issues important to the people of the 20th Congressional District.  Since November of last year, I have been tireless in getting out into the community to meet, listen to, and respond to the residents of the Central Coast.  As someone who was raised, and has deep familial roots, on the Central Coast, I am instilled with the sense of belonging and service that is necessary to effectively represent this area in the United States Congress.  I also understand that to obtain my objective, it will take working “across the aisle” and not engaging in divisive and destructive negative politics.

 

I have a proven track record of working with diverse individuals to get results.  This includes helping to get the Veterans Cemetery built at the former Ford Ord, serving as an Intelligence Officer with a Special Forces task force in Afghanistan to combat the enemy, and protecting the public safety and obtaining justice for victims of crime by working as a deputy district attorney. 

 

If elected your representative, I will bring fresh ideas, new energy, independent thinking, and a bipartisan collaborative spirit to Capitol Hill.  As your United States Representative in Congress, I will work with and zealously serve all of the people of the 20th Congressional District.

 

I am excited by this opportunity to run for Congress and to continue serving our community and country.  I hope that I can earn your support and your vote.  I look forward to seeing you out on the campaign trail!

Environment

Summary

Preserving and protecing our environment and priceless coastline.

Our coastline is priceless and keeping it that way is essential. Protecting our environment will always be one of my top priorities. In Congress, progress can only be made by listening to all sides and bringing everyone to the table to find solutions. I know that collaboration is the key to getting competing interests to work together for common good because our local economy, tourism, and agriculture are all dependent upon protection of our water, farmland and forests. As a member of the Advisory Council for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, I have witnessed the importance of the collaboration between our marine research institutions and the health and well being of our oceans and marine life. I know that the future of the Central Coast starts by addressing climate change and aggressively promoting a clean energy economy that creates reliable new jobs for generations to come.  My goal is protecting the beauty of the Central Coast both here and in Washington, and I will be a strong voice for continuing California’s leadership on the important issues of controlling clean air and water for the enjoyment of outdoor enthusiasts, the health of our families, and the future of our planet. 

Education

Summary

Improving education and making college more affordable.

There is no greater gift a parent can give to a child than a first-rate education. In Congress, I will fight to make sure all of our children get the same opportunity to thrive.  I am committed to making sure the Every School Succeeds Act (ESSA) achieves its goals of providing opportunity to every child, reducing the overreliance on standardized testing, and bringing educators into the decision-making process. I will fight to fund Head Start – which since its inception in 1965 – has given over 32 million low-income children educational, nutritional and health opportunities.  For those interested in college, I am committed to making higher education both accessible and affordable. Before graduating from U.C. Davis, I attended Monterey Peninsula Community College, so I understand firsthand the impact our community colleges can make by giving students the academic foundation, job training and skills for a path to success. That appreciation has led me to give back to MPC through my work as the chair of the MPC Citizens Bond Oversight Committee.  I also serve as a Trustee on the Foundation for the University of California at Santa Cruz, where I helped ensure that high school students from Salinas were exposed to and, ultimately, attended that world-class university.  As a board member of the National Steinbeck Center (NSC), I worked on the deal for California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB) to purchase the NSC building in order to help that amazing university reach the students of the Salinas Valley.  In Congress, I am committed to making college loans more affordable and finding innovative ways to help students reduce their debt.  I will also focus on expanding pre-K and early education options for families and improving the Migrant Education Program to help immigrant children meet the challenges of enrolling in American schools.  My goal is to establish national service programs that provide educational benefits to those willing to serve the nation.

Economy and job creation

Summary

Expanding the local economy and protecting the economic engines in this region.

Expanding the local economy, investing in innovation and clean energy, raising wages, supporting workers through job training programs, and helping small businesses grow will be among my top priorities.  Our local economy relies on agriculture, tourism, and the strength of our educational institutions, so finding the right balance is critical.  The Central Coast is among the most agriculturally diverse in the nation (both conventional  and organic) and is a global leader poised to play a part in solving some of the toughest problems facing developing nations.  With these opportunities come challenges, and we must manage regulation and development in a responsible way that allows businesses to grow while ensuring the preservation of the natural treasures that drive tourism, research, and education. Having attended Monterey Peninsula College, I understand the role of accessible higher education in preparing students for the workforce. I will work to make sure all our local colleges take a similar innovative approach to education that Cabrillo College uses when it takes county Workforce Investment Board and Employment Development Department information to drive its curriculum to make sure it is offering classes in skills that meet the demand for local businesses. My goal is to strengthen the economic industries critical to jobs on the Central Coast – agriculture, tourism, technology, research, and education.

— May 13, 2016 Jimmy Panetta for Congress
— May 13, 2016 Jimmy Panetta for Congress
— May 30, 2016 Jimmy Panetta for Congress
— May 30, 2016 Jimmy Panetta for Congress
— October 7, 2016 Jimmy Panetta
Republican
Councilmember/Professor/Mother
74,811 votes (29.2%)
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  • Streamline the permitting process for local water projects
  • Immigration reform to support our local workforce needs
  • Investments in affordable housing
Profession:Professor of national security
Professor of National Security and US foreign policy, Davis Defense Group (2015current)
Board member, FORA — Appointed position (2013current)
Council Member, Pacific Grove City Council — Elected position (20122016)
Professor of National Security Decision Making, Naval War College (20092015)
Board member, Traffic Safety Commission — Appointed position (20112012)
Board member, Jacob's Hearth — Appointed position (20102012)
Board member, ADA Compliance Board — Appointed position (20092010)
Adjunct Professor, US Foreign Policy, Naval Postgraduate School (20082009)
Operations Assistant to the US Ambassador, US Embassy Hanoi, Vietnam (20062007)
Naval Intelligence Officer, US Navy (19982005)
University of Hawaii PhD, Political Science (2007)
Naval Postgraduate School MA, National Security Affairs (2002)
Ashland University BA, Political Science (1997)
Member, Forest Grove PTA (2016current)
Liaison, Pacific Grove Library Advisory Board (2012current)
Member, Kairos Coalition (2008current)
Member, VegHeads of Monterey Bay (2009current)
Alternate Board Member, TAMC (2012current)

Casey’s accomplishments over the past 20+ years reflect her work ethic and dedication to public service. She started making her way in this world by bussing tables in restaurants at age 15 and then waitressing at age 16. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio where she was an Ashbrook Scholar, she moved to Columbus, Ohio, to work as a legislative and administrative assistant for a State Representative. This first exposure to public service sparked a lifelong interest in government service. Hoping to advance her education and serve the country, she applied to become an officer in the U.S. Navy.  

In 1998, she graduated from Naval Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, and then went on to intelligence training in Virginia Beach before moving to San Diego where she served on an aircraft carrier for two years (USS Stennis, CVN-74, named after Senator John C. Stennis). During this assignment, the crew deployed to the Persian Gulf and worked in support of United Nations’ Resolution 1242 against Iraq. She worked with SEAL Team 5 in carrying out maritime interdiction operations in order to halt the export of illegal oil from Iraq, in support of the oil-for-food agreement.  

In 2000, she moved to Monterey to attend the Naval Postgraduate School, where she earned a Master of Arts in National Security Affairs focusing on Chinese foreign policy and decision making. After completing this graduate program, she was assigned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and served as the primary daily intelligence briefer for the Commander of the Pacific Fleet. She also worked as the Foreign Liaison Officer coordinating and executing intelligence exchanges with the navies of Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan. These exchanges demonstrated to Casey the importance of open communication and collaboration at all levels of government. During this time, she also began attending the University of Hawaii to pursue a Ph.D. in Political Science, focusing on Vietnam’s political decision making process  

In 2005, she resigned from active duty and moved to Hanoi, Vietnam with her husband Bob, who was serving as the Marine and Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy. While in Hanoi, Casey was hired to work as the Operations Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador. She also taught classes on cultural studies at the Hanoi University of Foreign Studies and American International College. During the three years that she lived in Vietnam, she completed her Ph.D. and wrote a book titled "Vietnam’s Political Process: How Education Shapes Decision Making". 

In 2008, she and Bob moved back to the United States and were fortunate enough to fulfill their shared dream to be able to return to the Monterey Peninsula. Bob served at the Defense Language Institute until 2011 when he retired after 23 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 2009, Casey taught at the Naval Postgraduate School and was eventually hired to teach National Security Decision Making at the Naval War College at NPS. In her six years as a professor she presented various papers at academic conferences. She was invited to share her research on rare earth metals and China’s strategic resources policy at Harvard University. Casey’s other published work can be found in International Affairs Forum, Space and Defense Policy Journal, Proceedings, Praeger International Security, Atlantisch Perspectief, Oxford’s Journal of Church and State, Vietnam’s Social Sciences Journal, and The Wall Street Journal online. You can read some of those publications here.  

 

Her experience has taught her that national security must be a top priority, now and for future generations. The military offered Dr. Lucius valuable leadership experience, as well as the opportunity to be a member of a greater team. As a member of Congress, Dr. Lucius would be 1 of 435, so being a team player will be essential. Leadership in decision making is also crucial, which is why Dr. Lucius will pull from all of her professional experience to make the best decisions for our community and our country. 

  • Women Under Forty PAC
  • Maggie's List
  • Many leaders in Ag, including John D'Arrigo
1.
Drought

The Federal Government plays a part in California water allocation and use through a variety of laws.  What, if any, legislation would you support in an effort to handle water shortages caused by the current and any future drought?

Answer from Casey Lucius:

Because water impacts local business, job creation, and housing, we need leadership on this issue at the Federal, State, and local levels.

At the Federal level, I support the Water Rights Protection Act and the Western Water and American Food Safety Act. At the State level, California must develop an emergency drought plan. Having emergency orders in place allows the State to be proactive and minimize the impact on water rights holders.

Locally, each water district should oversee the implementation of water supply programs, incorporate public input, and ensure swift action to obtain water quickly. 

2.
Immigration

Should immigration laws be changed?  What changes would you support?  Please explain why.

Answer from Casey Lucius:

The agricultural and tourism economies on the central coast of California are dependent on immigrant labor – those who are willing to do back-breaking work, pay taxes, and follow the law – so they might have a chance at a better life in America. As a member of Congress I would support more robust school, work, and family visa programs. The objectives of the Immigration and Naturalization Act include uniting families, protecting refugees, encouraging immigrants with skills, and promoting diversity. As of 2013, worker visas were capped at 140,000, leaving 11 million immigrants living and working here illegally. In order to support our agricultural industry on the Central Coast, workers rely on H-2A temporary visas. However, family members of H-2A visa holders are not eligible to work in the US. This is a simple reform that would improve the lives of these workers and their families, increase the tax base, and promote greater purchasing power.

3.
National Security

What, if anything, does the U.S. need to do in order to address national security and terrorism? Please explain your answer in detail.

Answer from Casey Lucius:

There is no more important issue than our nation’s security and the protection of the American people. We need to re-establish America’s place in the world. We have lost credibility with our partners and allies over the past eight years, and we need to regain our position of strength and leadership.

  • One way to do this would be stop all cuts to national defense. This will send a message to the world that we are serious about defending American sovereignty and protecting our most reliable partners.
  • We must properly fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD). 
  • A large part of our national security must also include additional resources for border security.  

America’s national security strategy must first and foremost identify our vital national interests. Protecting these interests should be the standard by which we employ any tool of national power.

I believe America’s vital national interests are: protection of the homeland, freedom of the seas, cyber security, space access, a stable energy supply, and trade and economic prosperity. Once these interests are clearly defined and articulated to the world, then we must employ all tools of power including diplomacy, economic incentives or sanctions, information operations, and the military.

4.
Partisan Political Climate

The political climate in Washington, D.C. has been extremely partisan in recent years. In that kind of atmosphere, what would you do to get things done while in office?

Answer from Casey Lucius:

I would be a member of the Women's Caucus, which includes members from both parties.  The women in Congress are the one's getting things done and they do it with cooperationa and collaboration.  Although women only make up 19% of the members of the US House of Representatives, they pass 60% of the legislation.  I will get things done by working with everyone, regardless of party affilitiation.  I will go to Washington, not to represent a party or any special interests, but to represent the people of this district. 

Total money raised: $421,369

Below are the top contributors that gave money to support the candidate(s).

1
United States Department of Defense
$14,064
2
Sweet Earth Farms
$10,400
3
MAGGIE'S LIST
$5,500
4
Accelerator Ventures
$5,400
4
GCA Savvian
$5,400
4
Kolbe Family Foundation
$5,400
4
RHC Management Co, LLC
$5,400

By State:

California 88.46%
Florida 4.87%
Texas 1.57%
Kansas 1.50%
Other 3.59%
88.46%

By Size:

Large contributions (85.21%)
Small contributions (14.79%)
85.21%14.79%

By Type:

From organizations (4.25%)
From individuals (95.75%)
95.75%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Some people have told me that I am not conservative enough to be a Republican.

I’m often asked why I’m a Republican, and it’s a question that deserves a response, for two reasons. First, I reject the assertion that others get to tell me what it means to be a Republican, and second, because those of us who want to earn the public trust should be prepared to tell the public what we stand for.

I believe in climate change, I believe in comprehensive immigration reform, and I believe that it is a leadership failure to shut down the federal government and imperil the lives of public employees over the alarming actions of a single organization.  I believe that the federal government has an important role to play, and so do state and local governments. When government bureaucracies get involved in activities to which they are not suited, operations become less efficient, more expensive, and more complicated, and citizens are often the ones who bear the burden.

These days, both parties have been taken over by hyper-partisans, who can see no path to the collaboration necessary to effectively govern a nation of more than 300 million people. Instead of finding areas where the government can serve the people, my own party has been sidetracked by issues like abortion, gay marriage, and climate change. Many in my party have increasingly become more problem-focused and less solution–focused.

As a Republican, I end up having to explain this behavior to local voters. I admit that it is also frustrating to me because I too want my interests and those of my family and community to be well represented by those in Washington.  But many of the Republicans who are so vocal in the media do not represent my interests or beliefs, nor do I believe they exemplify the vast majority of Republicans in this country who are going about their lives, raising their families, and who also want to see a government where different parties work together to solve the many challenges before us. 

When Pope Francis was visiting the U.S., he said that a Church that does nothing but explain its doctrine is dangerously imbalanced.  This is true of political parties as well.  If my Party seeks only to trumpet its ideology without offering solutions and a willingness to compromise, then it has become dangerously imbalanced. 

The Republican Party that I am proud to be a member of is the party of Teddy Roosevelt, who created the national parks system; Eisenhower, who safeguarded America in the dark early days of the Cold War by establishing a strong national security deterrent; Calvin Coolidge, who advocated for the civil rights of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; and Jack Kemp, who focused on innovative ways to share the American dream with the poor.  These are the kinds of Republicans from whom I draw inspiration, and they exemplify the kind of Republican I aspire to be.

Encryption

Summary

We must not allow the federal government to use national security as an excuse to break into our private technology devices.  

One of the problems with not having a coherent national security strategy is that when something comes up like the San Bernardino shootings, our national leaders grab for the nearest tool available. That can lead us into even more danger than what we were trying to stop in the first place.  Such is the case with the recently introduced Feinstein-Burr bill to force encryption providers to maintain backdoors in case the government shows up with a court order. It is bad for the government itself, the private sector and the public.

From the government perspective, the Feinstein-Burr bill is both unnecessary and harmful to our strategic interests. For all the power that the bill gives to the government, there is very little real-world upside. Agencies like the NSA have plenty of cryptologic horsepower to meet our cyber needs and if FBI forensic investigators need help, they should use existing capabilities, authorities – and protections -- to get it. The downside of a mandated universal backdoor is calamitous. The last thing we want is for our national security advantage in cyber power to be lost because our own government – by statute -- makes everything encrypted in the United States open for hackers.

This bill will also put American private sector innovation and companies at risk by making their products less secure and less private than products provided by other countries.  At a time where we are looking to grow jobs in the face of competition from emerging technology centers around the world, we don’t need the US government holding entrepreneurship and innovation back for illusory gains claimed by politicians reacting to news events.

And for the public at large, this is bad news. A backdoor key to every piece of electronics Americans use to take pictures of their kids, explore the internet and guide their cars is not something we want to provide to any government agency with a court order.  Trusting that they can keep that key safe given the lack of concern for security already shown to protecting government emails, personnel files and diplomatic communications is a risk we do not want to take.

 

Constitutional protections that are adhered to at all times in every way, even when we are under attack, are part of America’s vital national security interests. That is what we are fighting to defend. We can combat ISIS with offensive cyber tools and defeat them on every battlefield, virtual and otherwise. We just cannot lose focus on the fact that our tactics must reflect a strategy defined by national interests. Congress should get on the administration to produce a coherent strategy against terrorism, not grasp for easy fixes that do more harm than good.

Help for our Veterans

Summary

As a Representative I will support the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program to help our vets get jobs after the military; I will strengthen the role of Veterans organizations, and ensure funding for transitional housing for homeless vets.  

I had the privilege of serving seven years on active duty as a Naval Intelligence Officer, including two years aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74). I’ve deployed to the Persian Gulf to help enforce United Nations Resolution 1242 and worked closely with SEAL Team 5 to interdict the illegal export of oil from Iraq in the wake of the first Gulf War. Later, I worked at the Fleet Intelligence Center in Hawaii, where I helped the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet develop intelligence sharing partnerships with our allies and friends in the region. My service was a deeply rewarding and formative time in my life, and I’m proud to be a veteran. I’m also the spouse of a veteran. My husband spent 23 years in the Marine Corps, before he too made his transition back to the civilian world. My unwavering commitment to veterans and their families is grounded in my experiences both as a veteran and as the spouse of a veteran.

Veterans deserve our gratitude and our support. And they deserve the benefits that they were promised and earned. There are several areas that I believe deserve Congress’ immediate attention.

 

Veteran’s Disability Claims and Appeals

Although progress has been made to reduce the backlog, there are still far too many disability claims and appeals pending action by the Veteran’s Benefit Administration (VBA) and Board of Veterans’ Appeals. It is unconscionable to expect veterans and their families to wait years to have claims processed and adjudicated. We can and must do better. Not only must Congress require the VA and the Department of Defense to field interoperable electronic health records systems to facilitate timely adjudication of claims, but the VA must also be directed to accept and consider competent and credible private medical evidence when reviewing claims and appeals.

 

Accessibility of Care

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides the nation’s largest integrated direct health care delivery system, delivering care to approximately 6.6 million veterans every year; however, far too many veterans still must wait too long to access the health care they deserve and have been promised. I believe the VA must be resourced appropriately to ensure not only that there are adequate numbers of doctors, nurses, and other critical staff, but to also ensure the VA’s physical infrastructure is expanded and modernized to ensure that veterans have access to state-of-the art care facilities in the coming decades.

 

I support funded transport to VA facilities for veterans and their families, expanded used of telemedicine, where appropriate, and the authorization of non-VA providers when VA services are not within a reasonable distance or the wait times are excessive.  I also support increased funding to explore innovative treatment regimes, and to improve collaboration between the VA and the Department of Defense for the research, screening, diagnosis, and treatment of TBI/PTSD.

 

Employment:

The unemployment rate for veterans remains far too high, especially among those who served after 9/11. Veterans are among the most talented, innovative, and disciplined members of the U.S. workforce. They not only deserve to find meaningful employment, but employers and the U.S. economy both benefit enormously from their contributions. There are a number of things I think Congress can do to help veterans find meaningful work. First, I believe Congress must ensure that the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) remains fully funded irrespective of sequestration and budgetary brinkmanship. The estimated 250,000 service members who will be transitioning out of the military every year over the next several years need this assistance to ensure they make a smooth and successful transition back the civilian employment sector. I believe this program is not only essential for ensuring the success of our veterans, but it is also a vital component of efforts to address the homelessness epidemic among our veterans.

 

I also support The VET Act of 2015 (H.R. 3248), which authorizes the Small Business Administration to implement a pilot program that would permit up to 250 veterans to use their earned GI Bill benefits as financial capital to start a Veteran-Owned Small Business. I also support The Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act of 2015 (H.R. 1694), which passed the house last year with bipartisan support, but remains stalled in the Senate. This legislation would allow veteran-owned businesses to compete for federally funded transportation infrastructure contracts on par with other preferences authorized by disadvantaged business enterprise (DEB) program.

I support continued efforts to implement accelerated pathways for certification and licensure so that service members transitioning into the civilian workforce are pre-equipped with the professional credentials required to gain meaningful employment. I also support legislation that would make it easier and more cost effective for veterans and service members to use their GI Bill benefits to pay for professional licensing or certification exams.

 

Women:

The role of women in the military is continuing to evolve. Women today make up 20% of new recruits, 15% of the 1.4 million personnel serving on active duty, and 18% of the National Guard and reserve forces. The number of female veterans also continues to grow; by 2020 there could be as many be 1.9 million even as the number of male veterans declines. Since 2000, the number of women using VA health care services has more than doubled, with nearly half of the women veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan having used VA health care at some point.

 

Unfortunately, there are still far too many barriers in the way of the VA services that female veterans deserve.  I support legislative efforts that address these barriers, such as theWomen Veterans Access to Quality Care Act of 2015 (H.R. 1356), which mandates that every VA medical center have a gynecologist on staff, as well as access to maternity care, infertility, breast and reproductive oncology, and services to address military sexual trauma (MST).

 

Women veterans also make up a growing proportion of the homeless veteran population. In fact, women veterans are two to four times more likely to be homeless than non-veteran women. Nevertheless, many programs that serve homeless veterans still do not have adequate facilities for female veterans at risk of homelessness, particularly transitional housing for women and women with children. In fact, childcare has consistently been one of the most reported unmet needs reported by homeless veterans and service providers over the last several years. The Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-275) specifically created an HVRP grant program to serve women veterans and veterans with children, and offered, among other services, access to child care. There is no reason that any veteran should be prevented from receiving the care they earned simply because they cannot find or afford quality childcare. 

 

Families:

When veterans and service members suffer the physical and emotional wounds of war, so do their families. Many spouses and children have suffered through countless deployments of their loved ones. They waited and worried, and sometimes their warriors came home with physical and emotional burdens that they cannot fully understand. I believe we have a moral obligation to ensure that spouses and children of our wounded warriors get the care and support they need to overcome their own wounds. They deserve this for their own sake, but also because strong and stable families are critical to the recovery of those that served.

 

We also owe it to veterans to stand by them as they travel their roads to recovery even when they make mistakes associated with PTSD, TBI, cognitive impairment, substance abuse, or military sexual trauma, which is why I support increased funding to expand the VA’s Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) program and to provide further assistance to local communities seeking to establish and maintain Veteran’s Treatment Courts within their jurisdictions, including those recently established in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

 

Homelessness:

Veterans homelessness is a complex problem often made worse by shortages of affordable housing, poor access to healthcare, and difficulties achieving a livable income. It can be further complicated by mental health issues, substance abuse, and broken family relationships. Despite a pledge by the VA to end veteran homeless by 2014, the problem persists.

 

Our priorities must continue to focus on helping homeless veterans 1) get off the streets and into transitional housing, 2) receive the medical care they need, and 3) secure a living income that supports stability and security. Consequently, I believe that the VA's Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program and Supportive Services for Veteran Families program (SSVF) both remain imperative, and should be reauthorized and fully funded.  

 

The Role of Veteran’s Organizations

My husband and I are proud member of several veteran’s organizations. These organizations, and many just like them, provide critical services to service members and veterans. My husband readily admits that he probably could not have navigated the complexities involved in his VA disability claims without the support he received from the Disabled Veterans of America. There are literally hundreds of thousands of individuals who have had exactly the same experience, and we owe these groups a debt of gratitude for their commitment to our veterans. These organizations also provide important voices of advocacy that come from a deep and diverse well of experience. It is incumbent upon legislators and administrators to listen to these voices as we develop policies and set priorities that touch on the health and wellbeing of our veterans.

 

Women's Rights

Summary

Even in 2016, women are still facing situations of workplace harassment, unequal pay, and inaccessible care.  I will be an advocate for women's rights!

Abortion:  Abortion is a difficult and serious decision for anyone faced with an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy.  I am not personally an advocate of abortion, but I do believe that women should have the right to make this very personal decision in coordination with their family members and their doctors. I believe abortion should be legal, safe, and rare. 

Equal Pay:  Any wage gap between men and women is not only unjust and out dated, it also hurts the local and state economies.  The AAUW found that even after accounting for industry, work hours, work experience, marital status, number of children, and education, women were still paid 82% of what their male peers were making.  I am proud that Governor Brown passed the Fair Wage Act in California, and as a member of Congress I would support Fair Pay legislation. 

Family Leave:  I support the Family and Medical Leave Act which allow for up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave per year to help families balance medical and family responsibilities.  However, this legislation could be improved to apply to employees after six months on the job rather than twelve months; and it should offer flexibility in providing for a percentage of pay during this leave period.  Part of the federal family leave program should also include donating sick leave to co-workers. 

Women Veterans:   Research from Disabled American Veterans reveals that America’s nearly 300,000 women veterans are put at risk by a system designed for and dominated by male veterans.  The VA and DoD are still not fully prepared to provide equitable access to the gender-specific care and services that women need, even as the demand for such care increases. VA and DoD have difficulty providing gender-specific peer support, group therapy, and specialized inpatient mental health care designed to meet the needs and preferences of women.  As a member of Congress I would support legislation to build the capacity of the Veterans Administration to ensure proper care for both our male and female veterans.

Healthcare — May 2, 2016 Casey Lucius
Transportation — May 2, 2016 Casey Lucius
Get to Know Casey — May 2, 2016 Casey Lucius

Videos

— October 4, 2016 Monterey Weekly

Candidate Forum presented by Monterey Weekly, Moderated by Sarah Rubin (Interim Editor)

— October 4, 2016 Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce, recorded by public access TV

Candidate Forum, moderated by LWV held during primary (all candidates running in primary)

KSBW — October 4, 2016 KSBW Forum

Candidate Forum between Lucius and Panetta

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