Julia Bayless defends the issue of human trafficking in a letter to the editor ("Human trafficking is absolutely an issue," Oct. 4) and suggests that my position was that it "affects too small of a portion of the population to be a problem worth addressing." Unfortunately, Ms. Bayless has mischaracterized what was said and provided no context. Of course human trafficking is an important issue. So are child molestation, elder abuse, and drunk driving. All four of the aforementioned are grave problems and society has declared them so, established laws against them, and hands out stiff penalties to those who disobey.
The context is that my opponent has tried to frame human trafficking as the "moral issue of our time." But tell me, who is for it? No one that I've ever met. Should we work on ways to continue to combat these problems? Absolutely. Do I believe it is the "moral issue of our time" and the most important issue facing our district? No, I don't.
I believe my opponent has seized upon this issue exactly because it is not controversial at all. I believe that he believes that this stance makes him seem compassionate while distracting constituents from the fact the he has received the majority of his contributions from corporations and PACs and then voted against issues that really address the present needs of vast sections of our district.
Let's use actual data: Human trafficking affects about two-hundredths of 1 percent of our population. Compare that to the approximately 32,000 people in our district and more than 3 million people statewide who have no health insurance; that the average student is graduating with $35,000 of debt; that corporate money in politics is negatively affecting every person in the state; that re-injecting polluted water near our fragile groundwater supplies to bring up more dirty crude oil is both dangerous in the short and long term for every person on the planet; 50 percent of California roads, which every one of us uses, are rated as being in poor condition causing accidents and $844 a year in car repair on average; and affordable housing is completely out of reach for 50 percent of our community.
As candidates, we are supposed to project our vision for how we intend to solve problems and improve the lives of our constituents. Is human trafficking important? Of course. And it has been an issue for millennia. Are we undecided about this issue? No. Does it fall anywhere in the top five of the most important issues facing our district and state today? Not even close in my opinion. Would I vote to improve a law that would make real change in this area? Of course.
I believe my opponent has taken up this issue because, as a non-controversial issue, it distracts from the many votes that he has made that run counter to the well-being of every voter in the district.
I hope this clarifies my position. Choose well.
35th District Assembly candidate