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October 15, 2022 (San Diego) – In an interview with East County Magazine also aired on KNSJ Radio, State Senator Brian Jones talked about his accomplishments in the Legislature and his priorities if reelected.

Senator Jones has served in the California Legislature for the past 12 years, first in the Assembly , and now in the State Senate, where he’s also the Senate Republican Caucus Chair. He has a degree in business administration from San Diego State, and has worked as a government relations consultant and church broker. He’s also a former Santee City Councilman and resident of Santee, along with his wife and their three children.

Click the video link to view the full interview, and scroll down to read highlights.

Q: What do you consider your most significant accomplishments in the State Senate?

A:  For me, there’s two aspects to that question, what is the person doing in Sacramento but also what’s happening in the district and for myself, I really drive with my staff that the district operation is the most important thing that we do, because that’s where government meets the road for my million constituents. We have a very active, vibrant district staff…all of those departments work for the taxpayer and sometimes that communication breaks down. For example, during the pandemic when businesses shut down…EDD was not answering their phones, their website wasn’t working…so my district staff helped 2500 families that couldn’t get their unemployment insurance. Some of these families, the state owed them back pay of $20,000…

Q: It’s often difficult to get legislation signed into law as a member of the minority party, which Republicans currently are in Sacramento. But you’ve had quite a few bills recently enacted. Can you share a few of the most significant bills of yours that are now laws?

A: This year, nine of my bills have made it to the Governor’s desk, he’s signed three of them, he unfortunately vetoed one, we have five pending….SB 1421 he signed…as part of his housing and homelessness package…a big part of the homeless community is the developmentally disabled…my bill will assign on one of these commissions, a former homeless person with a developmental disability will have a seat at the table…My catalytic converter bill died, but two of them made it through the process, I coauthored both of those, and he signed one of those into law….I did a licensing reform bill for professional engineers, land surveyors and geologists, he signed that one. I did a bill for fiduciary continuation for seniors, persons with disabilities and children, when a fiduciary becomes incapacitated the court can assign a new one…I had a bill earlier in the year that he signed to help foster kids with their healthcare needs and bill to help business owners by streamlining some of their bureaucratic paperwork. I serve on the Human Services Committee, so some of my bills this year were being as a result of that…

Q: Your opponent, Joseph Rocha, has been critical of your stances on two major issues.  One is climate change.  In the past, you’ve voiced skepticism over climate change and recently, you voted against the California Climate Crisis Act. Could you please clarify if your views on climate change have evolved as new information has emerged, and what if anything you would support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

A: That particular bill, I don’t remember the aspects of it… my skepticism is based on government’s response to climate change. We are living through right now one of the most historic droughts in our history with Lake Mead ad Lake Powell being at historic and dangerous lows, so we know that the climate is changing. In response to that, I’m working on legislation that actually solves problems and doesn’t necessarily give government more unchecked power… So this year for example  I was the only Republican in the Senate to vote for SB 54, the Plastics Pollution Bill…I’ve traveled around the world…I’ve seen the plastics that end up in the ocean and we need to start doing something about that, a big idea…

Q: The other key difference in views that your opponent has cited is on reproductive rights – an issue that has become more significant for women across America since the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe vs. Wade and allow states to restrict or ban abortion access. Mr. Rocha is pro-choice.  You have a 100% rating from Pro-Life groups, a 0% rating form Planned Parenthood, and have consistently voted against protecting or expanding abortion access for women in California or women from other states who may come here seeking abortions. What would you say to women facing unwanted pregnancies, or women or girls who are rape or incest victims, or have pregnancy situations that endanger their lives or their health? Are there any circumstances where you would support a woman’s access to abortion?

A:  As you know, I’ve always been open about my pro-life position and I’m not suddenly going to change that just because the politics of that issue have changed nationwide. And I think here in California, women, and young women that you’ve just mentioned, really in California, the bottom line is the Democrats and the Governor can’t run on their track records this year; we’ve got soaring inflation, out of control crime, homelessness and our education system is failing in California. This is going to be a distraction, I think in California that the Governor has to put out there for a platform to get his base to turn out because he can’t run on his record…the good news about this year is the Governor and the Attorney General have both already said that the Supreme Court decision makes no difference in California, that abortion rights in California will continue to be protected and addition…this year voters get to go to the polls and state for themselves what their position is (due to a constitutional amendment)…I’m focused on fixing California.

Q: Your website says you’re running for reelection to “fix” California and keep Californians safe. Can you specifically address your ideas for reducing crime and also keeping sex offenders from being placed in East County communities without informing residents in some cases, and to try and prevent a disproportionate share from being placed in East County?

A:  First of all, I have to complement you and your team on your issues because you’ve been doing a great job of covering it and being responsive to the private citizens who are concerned about that…With my bill this year that would have actually made legitimate reforms…it did four things, the two things I think were most impactful were it required the Governor’s administration to be responsible to where the sexually violent predators wind up…my bill would have required that the director of state hospitals wind up on the placement so the Governor..or at least his director would know where they wind up. And second, it would require the director first to fine a place on state property to pace them. Deukmejian did it and Schwarzenegger did it and it could be done again..I was fighting for that. (The bill failed to win passage.)

Q:  The El Capitan Dam in Lakeside, in your district, has been rated in the worst, most dangerous condition by the state, and also has the highest possible risk of loss of life if it breaks.  Is any effort being made to bring funds to the district to repair this dam, especially now that the latest predictions of climate change are more and worse storms?

A:  Earlier in the year I did an article with I believe AP, they were doing a statewide story and I met the reporter out at Lake Jennings and we talked about El Capitan…we also talked about Lake Morena and Loveland and Barrett…San Diego Water Authority has done a great job with their reservoirs. El Cap is owned by the city of San Diego. You kind of hit the nail on the head…right now they are having to keep it at 50% capacity. We’re in the middle of the drought. We need to retrofit these reservoirs so we can get them back to full capacity. Part of my long-term perspective is advocating for this water infrastructure with the San Diego County Water Authority…they have done a good job; they raised the San Vicente reservoir, built tunnels from San Vicente to the aqueduct…so that they can bring water back and forth …We need to retrofit these reservoirs to bring them up to full capacity….Also San Diego Water Authority signed a historic agreements with farmers in Imperial Valley to buy water from them without fallowing their land and also reline the American Canal, we were losing a lot of water to seepage there. So San Diego’s done a great job on the water front…Santee Lakes is in full construction mode, building PureWater (recycling project).

Q: What else would like our readers to know?

A:  I’m doing the very best, even as a Republican in the minority, to reach cross the aisle and be as effective as I can and work in a bipartisan manner so that I can give the best representation that I can to my constituents…The Governor signed two housing bills yesterday, one is SB 6, by Caballero, other is AB 2011 by Buffy Wicks They both deal with housing and rezoning commercial property and allowing more houses to be built in commercial and industrial areas that were underutilized…we want to get as much housing units built in California as possible. This was historic. I was the only Republican at the press conference with my Democratic colleagues..As the Caucus Chair for the Senate Republicans it’s my job to find ways that we can work with the Governor and the majority party to find ways to do positive things for all Californians and that’s what I will continue to work on.

 Q: Homelessness is a major issue across our region.  What measures have you introduced or supported at a state level to address this issue?  Besides clearing or limiting where homeless encampments can be, what more should be done to get help for homeless people in need, or to prevent homeless to begin with, and what do you think of the Governor’s Care Court?

A: I don’t know if you’ve recently talked to a mom or a dad or sister of someone who is homeless, but the number one thing I hear from them is we’ve run out of options and the government won’t help us. My brother or my son needs to be compelled to get help…they’re not in a mindset to make rational decisions for them. The biggest part of homeless right now, certainly there are people down on their luck with financial difficulties…but right now in San Diego there are many resources for those who need help…but a lot of the people are in a mental health state either because of drug addiction or mental illness….they’ve been in this situation too long and they are at a point in life where they are not capable of making a rational decision for themselves. So I support the CARE Court, it’s a step in the right direction. My bill last year to prohibit homeless encampments near sensitive areas like schools, parks and day care centers was a small step in the right direction. We didn’t get here overnight; I think we can get out of this jam faster than we got into it but it’s going to take all 120 of us in the Legislature and the Governor working together…

There’s not one solution…What I’m starting to see with myself and my colleagues in th Legislature, many of us when we get elected have our own brilliant best idea or background that colors our background; a lot of us realize, we’ve gotten to the point…we’ve got to set aside our backgrounds and histories a little bit and get in a room together and talk about new ideas to move us in a positive solution. I think there’s lots of room for bipartisan solution. The Republicans earlier in the year introduced the ACT program, which was accountability, compassion and treatment. I believe that those three things are a big part of getting people out of homeless  but may there are more letters…I’m open to more ideas. If all 119 of my colleagues came to the Legislature in December each with a good idea for solving homelessness, we could probably use all 120 ideas.

Q: What endorsements do you consider your most significant, and where can people find more information about you, Senator Brian Jones, and your candidacy?

A: My website is …My endorsements are what I’m most proud about, they’re broad ranging. I’m endorsed by many of our local elected officials—mayors, councilmembers, water board members. I’m endorsed by the National Federal of Independent Businesses (NFIB), East County Chamber, Cal Fire, PORAC the Police Officers Research Committee in Sacramento, El Cajon and San Diego  Police Officers Association, San Diego Deputy Sheriff’s Association, so I’ve got law enforcement and firefighters—first responders that know that I’m working in a bipartisan manner in Sacramento to provide the very best pay and benefits for them, but also to make sure that they are equipped and ready to handle emergencies …. For example, we’ve expanded the number of helicopters in our county, firefighter and police helicopters…I coauthored a bill to expand the number of Cal Fire firefighters by 1,100…that bill failed in committee but we’re going to continue to work on that. I think it’s incumbent on all of us to show appreciation to all of our first responders, firefighters and police, police in particular have come under pressure in the past few years over national things…our police officers in California have the best training nationwide, there’s no comparison. We have the best, and we really need to appreciate them.

I’m looking forward to representing the district in San Diego County for four more years in Sacramento and doing the very best job that we’ve been doing, and will continue to do.


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