By Mary Lou Lang
Drew Phelps identified three top issues in his bid to unseat incumbent Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) for the 26th Assembly District as affordable housing, healthcare and broadband Internet.
Phelps said he would represent Kern River Valley residents with a strong voice in Sacramento and address the pressing issues facing the region in an email to the Kern Valley Sun.
“After several listening tours through the Kern River Valley, the top priorities that I believe need to be addressed are more affordable housing in the Kern River Valley (especially for seniors), easier access to high-speed broadband internet, and better access to high quality affordable health care by increasing funding for the Kern Valley Hospital and outpatient services,” Phelps said.
He said these issues are solvable.
“The chronic problems in the Kern River Valley come from a lack of understanding by decision makers in Sacramento. If elected, I’ll be able to bring stakeholders in the district to the table and make sure that our voices are heard when budget decisions are being made. The problems faced in the Kern River Valley are solvable and I know that we can get it done with proper leadership,” Phelps said.
Phelps said his experience working with the legislature will help him as assemblyman if elected.
“I worked for two highly effective members of the California legislature and they showed me how you can get things done as a representative of a rural district,” Phelps said. “My current job as a policy analyst for a local business has shown me that public-private partnerships are the best method for bringing the efficiencies of market solutions to public projects. I want to take my business acumen and combine that with my public sector experience to bring real change to our district.”
He also said he will have a “larger voice in Sacramento than Mathis,” who Phelps said “has not successfully delivered anything to our district in the six years he has been in Sacramento. Mathis has not shown any ability to reach across the aisle and work with the Democratic majority. If elected, I know that I will be able to leverage my unique position as a Democrat in a swing district to fight for our fair share from Sacramento.”
The major difference between himself and Mathis is he will focus on delivering results for the district, Phelps said.
“I would avoid the many personal indiscretions and lawsuits that have plagued Mathis during his time in Sacramento. His behavior has been so dishonorable that even local Republicans have called on him to resign,” he said. “I promise that you will not hear about my personal life in the papers and will only read about what I’m accomplishing for our district.”