The campaign for California Assembly District 44 is heating up, as Republican Ronda Baldwin-Kennedy is on the trail and wants politicians in Sacramento to be held accountable for their actions.

Ronda strives for success as an African-American mother of six and grandmother of three. She is also a practicing attorney who five years ago finished law school while carrying triplets.

She said her kids’ future was the inspiration behind her campaign.

“My 21-year-old said when she's done with college she is going to leave California,” she said.

Ronda said her daughter told her she couldn’t afford to live in the state.

“I have to move out if I ever want to have a family and buy a house,” her child told her. “California is not affordable.”

Ronda said it’s heartbreaking to hear that from a child.

“It’s not just me; I hear that from a lot of other families too,” she said. “The root problem is the legislature.”

She said they raise taxes and by doing that they chase businesses out of California.

“Those businesses are moving to other states, where other Californians are moving too, that are business friendly,” she said.

She has a behind-the-scenes history in politics.

“You really can’t complain about something if you’re not willing to step up there and make a change, so I decided to run,” she said.

One way to make California more business-friendly, she said, is to cut regulations she called “ridiculous.”

“The permitting process for building here is ridiculous and three or four times as long,” she said. “Carl’s Jr. was going to build several restaurants in California, but when they discovered it would take three years to do what they did in Texas in six months, they opened them in Texas.”

Ronda said the state needs to establish tax breaks to give a potential business incentive.

“Other states have incentives for business to come and California is just the opposite,” she said. “They (the government) want to put it on the backs of the businesses and the working class.”

She said President Trump gave tax breaks to businesses, and meanwhile at the statehouse legislators increased business taxes.

“They (the businesses) have more money now because they got a federal tax break,” Baldwin-Kennedy said. “That’s not conducive to business.”

She said legislators think the current model is sustainable.

“I don’t know what their plan is and what they think is going to happen when all the businesses are gone,” she said. “Where is the money coming from?”

She said employers should have an incentive to hire unemployed people.

“I know the county of Ventura has a program similar to that,” Baldwin-Kennedy said.

One way to attain a living wage, she said, is by eliminating unnecessary costs, like the gas tax.

“The average family is spending $750-$800 per year extra on gas,” she said. “There are little things like that, not just business tax, but a personal tax on different products that will give some relief to working families.”

She said money intended to fix roads in California is diverted from its intended purpose.

“It’s the way the bills are written,” Baldwin Kennedy said. “There is language that people don’t pay attention to, and the bills allow them to do it, so they’re not doing anything illegal. The money is allowed to be diverted according to the language in the bill.”

She said giving gas tax for transportation is a broad definition.

“The bike lane is transportation, the bullet train is transportation,” she said. “It’s not specific to repair the roads. The language is ambiguous and therefore when people are saying ‘what a minute, we have a gas tax to pay for the roads what happened to that money?”

She said the standard answer is the money goes here and there.

“The general public said wait a minute, we asked for the roads for the roads to be fixed, that’s what the gas tax is for.”

She said Proposition 6 on the ballot repeals the gas tax.

“There is also language that says if there is gas tax money it goes for the roads,” she said.

She said the construction companies are slated to make money from road repairs.

“That’s a special interest group that funds candidates,” she said. “The union is another special interest group that thinks about themselves and not about the general public and not even their employees. The higher up administration thinks about themselves.”

She said all the unions and cotton ginners donated to her opponent.

“If you’re getting money from special interest groups and lobbyists, you're going to be beholden to them,” she said. “You’re going to be up for re-election in two years, and you are going to looking for their money again.”

She said State Bill 10 puts people on the street that shouldn’t be.

“It’s going to affect certain groups, and it’s a dangerous bill,” she said. “They want to help poor people and the minority class, but I think it will hurt that class.”

She said taxing drinking water to pay for infrastructure improvements is ridiculous.

“Limiting the water, the 55-gallon limit that passed is also ridiculous,” she said. “Whenever there is a problem, the first solution for Sacramento is okay; we’ll just tax it.”

She said they also want to tax services.

“Anywhere there is a service, like a nail shop or an accountant, they want to tax that service,” she said. “When it comes to the water shortage, we’re right next to the Pacific Ocean. Why don’t we invest more in desalinization? Israel does it, why can’t we do it?”

The conversation with Ronda Baldwin-Kennedy will continue in the Sept. 28, Tri County Sentry.

By Chris Frost

Trevor Naglieri