Commentary: We don’t need partisan rhetoric or people feigning dedication to O.C.

Former state Republican Party Chairman Shawn Steel, husband of supervisorial candidate Michelle Steel, recently wrote a commentary for the Orange County Register about the California Republican Party titled, “Not your granddaddy’s California GOP.”

In it he decried that we have “watched our voter registration numbers dwindle with the state’s changing demographics.” That may be part of the problem, but it is certainly not the majority of the problem. I hear from people of all backgrounds, and they want leadership based on the issues, not on race or how someone looks.

A major reason we are losing people is because of the poor words chosen by some in our party. Shawn Steel, for example, spoke at a recent tea party meeting in support of four Asian candidates, one of whom is running against Democratic Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana). When talking about Solorio, he criticized him for being a vegetarian.

This type of rhetoric does not encourage people to become Republicans. It is not because of how we look that people choose a different party. Those words have absolutely nothing to do with the issues we face in Orange County, or in our country, and we don’t need to be associated with that.

Including more people from a variety of backgrounds and heritage is certainly a good thing. Both of my parents immigrated to this country and my wife’s mother came here from Vietnam. But should we be supporting people just because of how they look, or should we look at their position on the issues?

People have asked me why I am running for Orange County supervisor. I tell them because we need someone who is from Orange County, knows Orange County, and will represent them on the issues that are important to them. It is well known in Republican circles that my opponent moved here from Los Angeles County to run for supervisor so she can springboard to a congressional seat with U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s backing when he steps down. In short, all the wrong reasons to run.

I have the endorsement of Republicans like Supervisor John Moorlach and Democrats like Westminster Councilwoman Diana Carey because I have stood strong with them on the toll lane issue, and I recently had a rehabilitation-home-reform bill pass with bipartisan support. I co-authored a bill with state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to allow hemp production in California.

Michelle Steel has expressed token, passive opposition to the toll lanes proposed for the 405 for political cover. I have been outspoken in the effort to keep Orange County Transportation Authority board members from caving in to Caltrans’ desire to use our Measure M funds to put in toll lanes. This is an ongoing battle that we can win, but it requires taking a stand for accountability to the taxpayers.

If the highly charged partisan rhetoric coming from the Republican establishment replaces discussion of the issues, then Orange County will be headed in the wrong direction for the next eight years. We need results-based, not politically based, leadership.

Do we really want Shawn Steel running our county and wielding power from behind the curtain? The hard-working people of Orange County deserve better.

Assemblyman ALLAN MANSOOR represents Orange County’s 74th Assembly District and is a candidate for the Orange County Board of Supervisors’ District 2 seat, currently held by John Moorlach.