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Mayor Faulconer Pushes NAFTA And ‘New California Republicans’

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer delivers his State of the City address, Jan. 12, 2017.
Andrew Bowen
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer delivers his State of the City address, Jan. 12, 2017.
Mayor Faulconer Pushes NAFTA and ‘New California Republicans’
Mayor Faulconer Pushes NAFTA and ‘New California Republicans’ GUEST: Guy Marzorati, political reporter, KQED

Mayor Kevin Faulkner is on his way to Washington DC to tell lawmakers that NAFTA works. That is one of the statements that the mayor made at a gathering at San Francisco.Faulkner support of free trade is an element in his outline for the New California Republican. He supports moderation on issues like immigration and trade deals like NAFTA. It puts him at odds with President Trump. He says practical politics for the middle class is the key for Republicans to gain power California. Training me is guy Maserati. Welcome to the program.Thank you for having me.Let's start up hearing what Faulkner outlined in the speech.I am calling on my fellow Republicans to join together to re-forge a California party that is focused on fixing California. A party you need to our state that can break up the Democratic Empire that is presiding over Sacramento. A party that is representative, realistic and responsive.That was from the speech in San Francisco even by Mayor Faulkner. Guy, extolled NAFTA just about the same time as trade deal renovations open up in Washington.He took his experience as a mayor and a border city and said NAFTA has been a huge boost for San Diego. He mentioned that the exports have grown by $5 billion since NAFTA began. It was a free trade, it was an argument for free trade that you haven't heard from the Republicans in the White House. As you said, he will go to Washington and make that case. Free trade has worked for local economies.Okay, there are free trade, what are the a lot -- other elements?He wants to get away from the divisive politics at a Washington that have been unpopular for Republicans here in California. He wants to focus on making inroads to our communities which is emphasized in his Mayor campaign. Wants to get back to the basics of infrastructure, government reform and San Diego is really focused on street repair. He wants a more moderate stance on issues like immigration, issues like the environment and a way to draw some of the more middle-of-the-road voters a California.The mayor made his speech at the Commonwealth club in San Francisco. Is he emerging as a power in California Republicans party?He is emerging as a big name in California. It is all relative. We know there -- the party has had a shrinking influence. It doesn't sound like Faulkner once run for governor. He has been asked that question to the point he gets frustrated when it is brought up. He said that he will try to get some fellow Republicans to get into the race. Maybe he will play the role of a recruiter in the 2010 governor's race. That may not be a great sign if you're San Diego businessman John Cox. It sounds like that Faulkner will try to -- recruit more tropical organs -- Republicans.Mayor Faulkner does not support Donald Trump, but many in his party are supporters. How far and get if you remains at odds with Trump?He certainly tries to distance himself on Tuesday night. Questions were raised about Charlottesville and his response to the violence that broke out. He condemned it and urged other Republican leaders to do so. Issues like climate change and immigration, the stance he has fits more of the Representative Logan -- Republican profile along the border work even in the central valley where immigration plays a large role, he things that message will work more than a build a wall type of approach.However, there are a lot of Trump Republicans in California. Many people think that Trump has revitalized the Republican Party in California. Could the mayor's message further divide the GOP?It might. I think you'll see what kind of candidate emerges for the governor from the GOP. You will see a more moderate versus more of the tea party characteristics. Is a very strong stance on securing California's border. I think we'll see in the governor's race, it may end up 2 Democrats in the general election. But when things lead up to the June Palm -- primarily, what kind of Republicans will emerge.I've been speaking with Mr. Maserati for health and politics and government desk. Thank you guy.Thank you.

On the eve of talks between the United States, Mexico and Canada to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is encouraging policymakers to look at the “success story” the pact has created in his city.

“Free trade works,” Faulconer told the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Tuesday evening. “We’ve grown our exports in San Diego by $5 billion since NAFTA. Mexico is our biggest export partner from San Diego.”

As mayor of the state’s second-largest city — and through sheer attrition of Republican officeholders — Faulconer is seen as a leading figure in California’s GOP. While once again declaring that he is not running for governor in 2018, as some have encouraged, Faulconer laid out his blueprint for the party’s return to statewide relevance, which includes support for free trade policies.

President Trump has called NAFTA “the worst deal ever made,” and argued that talks beginning Wednesday should focus on reducing the trade deficit with Mexico, which he says has cost the United States manufacturing jobs.

Faulconer disagrees, and will travel to Washington, D.C., next month in an effort to convince lawmakers that NAFTA has been a job creator at the border.

“I’m going to tell that story of how free trade works, of how our relationship with Mexico is a strength, of how we’re creating those good quality jobs,” he said. “If we don’t tell our story of success, nobody is going to tell it for us.”

Most of Faulconer’s remarks on Tuesday night outlined his model of the “New California Republican.”

The mayor wants his party to take a big-tent approach that encourages inroads into minority communities, focuses on infrastructure development and government reform, and preaches a moderate stance on immigration and the environment.

Faulconer said those principles have allowed him to win two elections in the Democratic-majority city of San Diego.

“I campaigned in communities Republicans wrote off as lost, and Democrats took for granted,” he added.

But Faulconer reiterated that he will not run for governor in 2018, reasoning that “there’s a lot of unfinished business and I love the job.”

He wasn’t willing to throw his weight behind the two Republicans already in the race, Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen and San Diego businessman John Cox. Instead, it sounded like Faulconer will take on the role of recruiter before next June’s primary.

“I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of great candidates come out,” he said. “I’ll be extolling some of my fellow Republicans to jump in.”