To successfully unseat state Senator Scott Wilk next year and reclaim the 21st district for the Democrats for the first time since 2012, Warren Heaton and Kipp Mueller have some things to overcome, aside from the usual challenges of beating an incumbent.
For Mueller, it is proving that he can win despite his youth and recent move into the district.
As recently reported, both candidates list health care, housing and homelessness as campaign issues. Both also are OK with the public option for health care, although Heaton said he wants people to be able to keep their policies if they like what their employers offer. Both also favor bringing high-paying green jobs to the district and think rural areas would be the best places to put them.
Nonetheless, Wilk will be a formidable opponent; so here’s a first look at what they’re doing to address concerns.
The 33-year-old employment attorney moved to Santa Clarita earlier this year, having grown up in Sacramento. Voters in the area don’t take too kindly to people who run so soon after establishing residency (see: Caforio, Bryan).
“The approach I have is the burden of proof is on me,” he said. “I am out here meeting people, giving our message out and seeing if people like it.”
Mueller (pronounced MULL-er) actually has worked in the district, specifically Adelanto, for several years. He feels a kinship with Santa Clarita, especially after people helped him search for his missing dog.
His work also regularly causes him to access the state’s labor code, civil code and code of civil procedure, so he knows his way around state law.
His message differs from Heaton in a couple of ways: He pushes for re-establishing a strong middle class, supports reproductive freedoms and pledges to work on the effects of climate change.
He said he believes that middle class can find jobs in clean technology.
“We have a ton of sun and a ton of wind,” he said. “I think this district, if it has a representative that the clean-tech economy knows is friendly, is an ally and will be working alongside it, we can get thousands of jobs into this district doing clean-tech work and profoundly grow the economy in this district.”
He acknowledges that a woman’s right to abortion will not disappear from California should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, but he says reproductive freedom goes beyond pregnancy. He mentioned three bills he’s watching and would favor.
Senate Bill 464 requires training to reduce racism and bias in maternal mortality cases. SB 24 allows college health clinics to offer abortions. SB 135 expands paid family leave rights.
Wilk voted for SB 464, which currently is in the Assembly. He voted against SB 24, which also is in the Assembly. SB 135 hasn’t yet reached the Senate floor for a vote.
Mueller also wants it known he isn’t aligned with oil companies, which he places much blame for climate change and the inability to switch to alternative, cleaner fuel sources.