Stephen Houlahan

FIVE CANDIDATES LOOK TO UNSEAT ISSA IN THE 48TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

By Michael Howard

 

February 7, 2024 (San Diego, CA) - The 2024 California March Primaries ballot are in the mailboxes of many voters, including the residents of the 48th Congressional District, where the Republican incumbent Darrell Issa is vying for his second term.

 

Issa has been in San Diego politics since 1998 when he ran for the U.S. Senate and lost to Matt Fong during the primaries. In 2000, he won the District 49 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and has also served in the same capacity for districts 48 and 50 in the ensuing years.

 

As the incumbent for District 48, Issa votes primarily along conservative lines, achieving a minimum of 82% or higher with most conservative political organizations such as the American Conservative Union, Christian Action Network, and Heritage Action for America. Conversely, his votes received zero to only 13% ratings with liberal organizations such as Americans for Democratic Action, Freedom Democrats, and Radical Middle. 

 

Issa faces five candidates across the political spectrum this election, including four Democrats and a no-party-preference candidate. Three of the five are candidates he beat in the 2022 election for his current seat, the other two are first-time contenders. The top two in the March 5 primary will advance to a November runoff race.

 

Stephen Houlahan (D) was the closest contender in 2022, whom Issa beat in the general election by a 20% margin. Matthew Rascon (D) lost to Issa during the primaries with 9.1% of the votes along with the no-party-preference candidate Lucinda KWH Jahn with only 1.6% of the votes. Two new contenders this year are Mike Simon (D) and Whitney Shanahan (D).

 

Photo:  The four candidates who participated in our questionnaire; top left to lower right, Democrats Stephen Houlahan,Mike Simonand Whiney Shanahan, and decline-to-state party candidates Lucinda KWH Jahn.

 

East County Magazine reached out to all candidates asking them to answer questions about the economy, immigration, healthcare, democracy, the Israel-Hammas and Russia-Ukraine wars, social security, and more. Four of the six candidates submitted their answers, which we have included in this article. Phone calls and emails to Congressman Issa and Matthew Rascon were not successful in obtaining answers to these questions. 

 

Here are the questions and answers from the candidates:


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HOULAHAN TO VOTERS: THIS ELECTION IS A “FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY”

By Miriam Raftery

October 28, 2022 (Alpine) – Protecting our democracy is the “number one issue” in the Congressional races, says Stephen Houlahan, who is running against Republican Congressman Darrell Issa.  “He is anti-democracy. I am pro-democracy.”

Houlahan says he’s received threats, had his home vandalized, and his pro-choice campaign signs slashed.  During the recent Candidates to Constituents forum in Alpine, Houlahan talked about the positive changes he hopes to bring to the 48th Congressional district. He faults Issa for voting against funding bills and failing to fight for federal dollars to improve firefighting, highway and water infrastructure, as well as Issa's extreme stance on abortion and Issa's vote against certifying the 2020 presidential election while the U.S. Capitol was under assault by insurrectionists.


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ISSA, HOULAHAN SET TO RUNOFF IN NOVEMBER FOR 48TH CONGRESSSIONAL SEAT

Update June 8, 2022 - The Secretary of State's office has posted preliminary results  for the 48th Congressional including both San Diego and Riverside counties. With provisional and some mail-in ballots remaining to be tallied, Rep. Issa has 59.3%, Houlahan, with 29%, will advance to the November runoff.  Rascon has 10% and Lucinda KWH Jahn has 1.6%.

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 7, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Stephen Houlahan, a nurse with a masters in business administration and former Santee Councilman, is heading for a runoff election against Congressman Darrell Issa in November.


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CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE STEPHEN HOULAHAN TAKES AIM AT DARRELL ISSA OVER WOMEN'S RIGHTS, HEALTHCARE, SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, THE ECONOMY AND MORE

 

May 27, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – In an interview with East County Magazine on KNSJ radio, Congressional candidate Stephen Houlahan draws sharp contrasts with his opponent, Rep. Darrell Issa, on key issues including women’s rights, the economy, healthcare, homelessness, immigration, climate change and more. A registered nurse who also has both a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and a degree in healthcare administration, he addressed the opioid crisis, the need to help small businesses, and a plan to put powerlines underground in East County to prevent more devastating wildfires.

Houlahan is running in the newly redrawn 48th Congressional district, which includes most of the former 50th Congressional district that encompasses most of San Diego’s Eat County.  It runs from the international border in the south north to Menafee in Riverside County, east to Imperial County, and as far west as Mt. Helix, with a few exceptions (El Cajon and Escondido are now split between two districts).

Here are his views on the issues impacting people across our region.


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STEPHEN HOULAHAN, CANDIDATE FOR U.S. CONGRESS, SAYS EAST COUNTY SHOULD RETHINK GILLESPIE FIELD AIRPORT

By Colleen Cochran

April 2, 2022 (Santee) - During a recent townhall meeting, Stephen Houlahan, candidate for CA’s 48th Congressional District, discussed the ways Gillespie Field airport negatively impacts adjacent Santee and El Cajon residents. He cited crashes and noise and air pollution, and said, given all the development that has taken place in these East San Diego County cities over the years, the region may not be the right place for an airport anymore.


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FORMER SANTEE COUNCILMAN HOULAHAN WILL RUN FOR CONGRESS

By Mike Allen

January 13, 2021 (Santee) -- Stephen Houlahan, the former Santee Councilman who lost to Mayor John Minto in November, announced he’s running for the 50th Congressional District in a race two years down the road.

The seat was won in November by Republican Darrell Issa , who beat out Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar by about 28,000 votes or an 8 percent margin.

Through a spokesman, Houlahan, a registered nurse and political independent, said he intends to register as a Democrat, and expects to come in the top two in a primary in March 2022.

Among the main reasons for his decision was the terrible way the federal government has handled dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, said spokesman Bobby Borisov.


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SANTEE MAYORAL AND COUNCIL RACES SHOW CLEAR CHOICES

By Mike Allen

Photo:  Santee Mayor John Minto, mayoral candidate and Councilman Stephen Houlahan, City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter,

October 14, 2020 (Santee) -- The conflict between slow-growth proponents and those who support the continued expansion of Santee has been going on for decades but is crystallized in this election.


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SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES FANITA RANCH BEFORE VOTERS CAN WEIGH IN ON NOVEMBER BALLOT

By Mike Allen
 
September 24, 2020 (Sante) -- By a 4-1 majority, the Santee City Council approved the controversial Fanita Ranch development that will add nearly 3,000 homes and about 8,000 residents to a city that has been fighting over the project for most of its 40-year history.

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SANTEE COUNCIL AND MAYORAL CANDIDATES FORUM SET FOR SEPT. 10

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Mayor John Minto and challenger Stephen Houlahan; City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

September 5, 2020 (Santee) – East County Magazine will host a forum on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. for candidates running for Santee Mayoral and City Council races. To date, Mayor John Minto and mayoral challenger Stephen Houlahan have both agreed to participate.  In the race for an open City Council seat, Samm Hurst has confirmed she will participate; Dustin Trotter said he had a scheduling conflict for the forum. All candidates in both races have also now done separate interviews with ECM reporter Mike Allen, which will be posted soon.

The forum will be virtual on Zoom. You can watch the livestream at https://www.Facebook.com/eastcountymagazine and send questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org. A videotape of the forum will be posted later on www.EastCountyMagazine.org and the forum will also be broadcast at a later date on KNSJ radio.

East County Magazine thanks the #FacebookJournalismProject for a grant to help support our virtual candidate forums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are details on the candidates (listed in alphabetical order for each seat) and key issues:


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HOMEFED YANKS FANITA RANCH PLAN BEFORE COUNCIL VOTE

 

By Mike Allen

 

Cancelling Magnolia extension, as proposed, would remove key evacuation route for wildfires, critic says

August 30, 2020 (Santee) -- Fanita Ranch, the 3,000 unit residential project planned for Santee’s northwest quadrant, is being delayed by developer HomeFed Corp. to make some significant changes, including removing an extension of a key arterial serving the project.

In a letter posted on the Fanita Ranch Facebook page last week, Jeff O’Connor, the company’s vice president, said HomeFed requested the delay “to remove the extension of Magnolia Avenue from the project in order to direct those funds towards the improvements to SR-52.”


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SANTEE ENDS EVICTION MORATORIUM FOR COVID-19-AFFECTED TENANTS, APPROVES UPGRADES TO TELEVISE MEETINGS

By Mike Allen

July 25, 2020 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council voted to halt a moratorium on evictions of tenants who cannot pay their rent due to the coronavirus, citing the continuance of other financial back-up programs aimed at that purpose.

In a 4-1 vote at its July 22 meeting conducted via teleconference, the Council halted Santee’s moratorium effective July 31. The Council majority said a statewide moratorium on evictions of tenants remains in effect, and because the court system has not been operating, there aren’t any evictions happening anyway.

“As much as I hate to say this, I think we should rely on the state (to provide protections to tenants unable to pay their rent),” said Mayor John Minto. “We should give direction to staff to end this moratorium on a city level and allow it to proceed on the state level.”

Councilman Stephen Houlahan cast the sole no vote, and said the city should maintain the city’s eviction moratorium, a symbolic gesture of providing yet another safety net to local tenants who cannot pay their rent due to financial problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.


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HOULAHAN DECLARES CANDIDACY FOR SANTEE MAYOR

By Mike Allen

February 10, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee Councilman Stephen Houlahan wants a larger say in molding the city’s future and has declared his intention to run for mayor, opposing incumbent Mayor John Minto.

Houlahan says the main issue motivating him to throw his hat into the ring is the disturbing trend by a majority of his Council colleagues to consistently undermine Santee’s General Plan and approve higher density projects.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: OPEN LETTER TO SANTEE COUNCIL MEMBER LAURA KOVAL - PUBLIC INTEREST MOTIVATES PRESERVE WILD SANTEE

By Van Collinsworth, Director, Preserve Wild Santee
 
January 14, 2020 (Santee) -- At the last meeting, the new Vice-Mayor Laura Koval waited until after I had addressed the council and returned to my seat to suggest that Preserve Wild Santee and/or other environmental organizations work is financially motivated. To be clear, and as has always been the case, I will engage with any council member at the podium to address their directed remarks, as I did with the mayor. From my perspective, waiting until I cannot respond to make this suggestion of financial motivation, demonstrates the weakness of your position.
 

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SANTEE ADOPTS DISTRICT ELECTIONS WITH MINTO-MADE MAP

 

By Mike Allen

 View full-size map B adopted by Council here.

 April 14, 2018 (Santee) -- Santee’s ongoing process of shifting from voting for their representatives by all city voters to a system of district elections took another step to reality last week when the council adopted a map made by Mayor John Minto and held the first reading instituting the change.

 Minto offered a map he drew that divides the city into four areas and with a close balance of some 13,000 people in each district. His motion also called for a change in the cycle of elections that results in two council seats being elected every four years starting in 2020. The mayor’s position will remain at large, or selected by all city voters.

 His motion, which was seconded by Councilman Ronn Hall, passed 3-2 with Council members Brian Jones and Rob McNelis opposed. The second reading and adoption of the law and the map is scheduled for April 25.


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SANTEE BANS SMOKING ON TRAILS, TAKES FIRST STEP TO DISTRICT ELECTIONS

 

By Mike Allen

January 12, 2018 (Santee)--Smoking or vaping on Santee’s city trails such as the Walker Preserve and near Mast Park will no longer be legal following the City Council’s amending its code at its Jan. 10 meeting.

The newly amended law, that also bans smoking electronic cigarettes in the same areas, takes effect after the second reading of the measure Jan.24.

With the vote, Santee joins the rest of the 18 cities and San Diego county in prohibiting smoking on public trails, which is an obvious fire hazard. But the change didn’t go far enough for nearly all the speakers who testified before the council took its vote.


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CASTLEROCK NEIGHBORS UNLOAD AT SANTEE OFFICIALS OVER HOUSING PROJECT

 

Update: Hear our interviews with Stephen Houlahan and  Preserve Wild Santee leader Van Collinsworth on environmental issues in Santee by clicking the audio link.

 

Mike Allen

Photo: Councilman Jack Dale moderated meeting on Castlerock project November 29 with elected officials, city workers, and representatives from developer Pardee Homes.

December 3, 2016 (Santee) -- Angry residents near the Castlerock housing project lashed out at Santee city officials and representatives from developer Pardee Homes during a public meeting November 29, saying the way the project is unfolding is nothing like the plans they saw earlier this year.

Audio: 

Interviews: Stephen Houlahan and Van Collinsworth

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MINTO AND HOULAHAN WINNING IN SANTEE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo,left:  Stephen Houlahan

November 9, 2016 (Santee) – With 36% of precincts counted,  Councilman John Minto,a retired police officer, is maintaining a 10 point lead over felow Councilman and realtor Rob McNellis in the race to become Santee’s next Mayor.  Current Mayor Randy Voepel tonight won election handily  to the State Assembly over Leo Hamel.

Though Santee’s Council has long been heavily influenced by developers and real estate interests, Stephen Houlahan,  running on an environmental platform,  appears likely to defeat  two pro-development opponents.


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OUT OF TOWN MONEY FLOWS TO SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATE

 

East County News Service

Photos, left to right: Stephen Houlahan, Mason Herron, and Dustin Trotter

November 7, 2016 (Santee) — Santee City Council candidate Mason Herron has raked in $58, 246 in campaign contributions from 131 individuals, of whom only 6 live in Santee, including himself.  That’s 95% of donations coming from outside Santee.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: SELLING OUT SANTEE WITH A DEVELOPERS’ DELIGHT CAMPAIGN

 

By Van K. Collinsworth, Executive Director/Resource Analyst

savefanita@gmail.com

October 31, 2016 (Santee)--Analysis shows 98% of Santee City Council candidate Mason Herron's donors are from outside of Santee; much of these contributors are easily identified as being traffic gridlock producing development interests. (CA Form 460’s are required disclosures.)

In contrast,  Stephen Houlahan has not taken any developer dollars and 76% of his contributors are Santee residents.


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