Democrats Chris Ward, Sarah Davis Fight To Rep San Diego's Coastal 78th Assembly District
Speaker 1: 00:00 There's not a lot of difference between the two Democrats vying for the 78 California assembly district this year. But the candidates backgrounds vary considerably KPBS reporter Taryn, mento has been covering the race. Taron, welcome back to the program. Thanks Mark. We'll start by telling us where the 78th assembly district is. Speaker 2: 00:19 Right? So it's along the coast of San Diego. It starts up in Solana beach. It's got Del Mar fairgrounds, LA Jolla shores, uh, bell boa park and down to Imperial beach. Um, and so when you think about San Diego, this district really includes a lot of, some of the more popular sites that the region has to offer. Speaker 1: 00:38 And who are these two Democrats squaring off for this seed? As I noted, they arrive in this campaign having taken very different routes, Speaker 2: 00:45 Right? So you have Chris ward, city councilmen, and you have Sarah Davis. She's a licensed midwife. And when I asked them both how they're going to achieve their goals in the legislature, um, cause they're just, you know, one member of a 80 member body, they both pointed to their backgrounds. So Chris ward likely a familiar name to San Diego. Like I said, he's on the city council, San Diego city council. Um, but he points to his experience in Sacramento as a chief of staff to a state lawmaker for eight years. And this is how he said that will help him if elected to the assembly. Speaker 3: 01:18 I know that building those relationships and making sure that you understand the legislative process are paramount to the success. Getting through sometimes six or eight different committees before a bill even makes it to the governor's desk is something I've had direct experience with. Speaker 2: 01:33 Now, Sarah Davis, also a Democrat, um, like I said, is a licensed midwife and she's new to politics as a candidate, but she says she spent time lobbying state legislators to support expanded access to midwives. And she also says that she's been on the ground advocating for issues that are important to many San Diego ans she says being a midwife has allowed her to connect, uh, with Dean Higgins during some of the most intimate moments of their lives giving birth. Um, and she says these connections will, will drive her approach if she wins the seat, people who are passionate about climate right now, um, people who are passionate about housing and healthcare, um, are on the ground, working with organizations, um, doing, you know, every kind of tactic trying to make that change happen. And so having politicians who are on the same page with them is, is one piece of that bigger picture Speaker 1: 02:28 And Taran, a critical issue for Chris ward is homelessness. Explain his approach. Speaker 2: 02:33 Yeah. Chris ward has been very focused on addressing homelessness. He chairs the San Diego regional task force on the homeless. He also chaired the city council's temporary committee on homelessness and he says he wants to ensure that there are funding streams to that continue to flow to local communities for services. You know, he said he helped secure some state and federal funds toward recently, uh, the purchase of two hotel properties that will be turned into permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness. But you know, some of those funds were federal COVID relief dollars. So he says he wants to focus on securing permanent funding streams and not just one-off emergency dollars. And he outlines his approach to addressing homelessness on his website. And our story includes a link to that. Speaker 1: 03:17 And Sarah Davis differs in her position on the homeless crisis. Where does she part ways with war? Speaker 2: 03:22 Well, I asked each of them their top three budget priorities and she specifically said one of them was housing. She did make the connection that, that overlaps with addressing homelessness. Her focus was ensuring people staying in the homes that they have. So she said, she'd like to see public housing. She wants the state to construct it and maintain it. She argues that, you know, efforts to incentivize the construction of affordable housing, um, you know, aren't working. So she wants to see the state do more by building actual units. And she said that could be for low-income residents, but she also specifically named, you know, teachers and firefighters and even workers that could come with investments in green energy sources Speaker 1: 04:02 And Sarah Davis, like a majority of Democrats, places, the quest to transition from fossil fuels at the top of her priority list. What does she say about the existential threat of climate change? Speaker 2: 04:13 Well, this was her top priority. Um, I asked each of them to name their top priorities and then provide to other budget priorities. So this was her top one, you know, she wants to decarbonize the economy. So eliminate, you know, any state investments that have a negative impact on the environment. She talks about investing in the building of green energy sources, which she connected to also bring, bring in good paying jobs. And she has an outline on her website, which again, we included in our story that that details her approach on onto dressing, you know, climate action. Um, ward has one too. So I will say that. And I know in my story that, you know, the, a lot of the goals are pretty similar. Um, but they're more, um, they're, they weren't very firm on funding strategies, how to accomplish both of their goals. Speaker 1: 04:54 And what, uh, was a Ward's top priority as you were interviewing him for this race, Speaker 2: 04:59 Right. He tuned named this one of us, um, as one of his top budget priorities, he put homeless addressing homelessness first, but he also, um, listed climate action as, um, really important to him. You know, he wants to see something like a climate action plan, similar to what we have in San Diego, which recently I'm in an interview on this program, you know, earn some really high marks from, um, local experts. Um, and again, he too has a plan. There's a link to it on our website. They overlap quite a bit, again, you know, limited details on funding, but he also supports divesting from industries, which extract fossil fuels, Speaker 1: 05:31 Chris ward and Sarah Davis, uh, both are strong on healthcare as well. That's in their top issues. Right? Speaker 2: 05:37 Right. Well, Sarah Davis, uh, she listed healthcare is one of her, um, budget priorities. Um, Chris ward didn't list it as one of his top three. It is, um, on his website as important to him. He does want to make it more affordable, but his third budget priority was, um, expanding childcare access to all. Um, and he said that he's done that by, um, funneling again, federal relief dollars toward essential workers to get them some help during the pandemic with childcare. But Sarah Davis, you know, wants to go to a single-payer health care system. And she also has this other component, which she called birth justice, um, improving equity and reproductive health services. And again, she has, um, a list of that outlined on her website. And we included a link to that in our story as well. Speaker 1: 06:19 Well, if I were a betting, man, I'd go with the Democrat in the 78th district. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter turned mental. Thanks, Taryn. Thank you.