Republican state Sen. Jeff Stone, a pharmacist, is seeking re-election to a four year term to represent the 28th state Senate District.
He was first elected to the state Senate in 2014.
The expansive 28th District, which is entirely in Riverside County, stretches from the vineyards of the Temecula Valley to the Colorado River and includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, and Wildomar.
Stone is challenged by political novice and Democrat Joy Silver.
Uken Report posed a series of identical questions to both candidates. Sen. Stone’s responses follow.
Uken Report (UR): Do you support Proposition 6?. Why or why not? What does passage or failure mean specifically to your Senate District?
Sen. Jeff Stone: Yes … People here in Riverside County are spending hundreds of dollars a year because of higher gas taxes, and Proposition 6 will repeal the tax that came with the passage of Senate Bill 1. The State of California has enough money in its general fund and transportation funds to fix our roads and bridges, but the radical liberals who run Sacramento have stolen that money to pay for more and bigger government social programs. We can fix our roads and bridges if we simply make these projects a top priority.
UR: How would you describe yourself? Yes, really. Others have described you so I’d like to hear how you describe yourself.
Sen. Jeff Stone: I like to think I’m a hard worker who studies hard. In my 24 years of public service, I’ve never cast a vote I can’t explain, and that’s because I read up on the issues and try my best to understand all sides of an argument before I make a decision.
UR: Identify one, just one, time when you rallied opposing viewpoints in support of your plan, proposal, initiative, etc.
Sen. Jeff Stone: The most memorable time was one of my first political battles, and it happened when I was first elected to the City Ccuncil. Before I was elected, the Council had decided to give Walmart $3 million to build a store in our city, and once I was elected; I posed the question – Why are we giving the world’s largest retailer $3 million to build on our city’s last large piece of vacant commercial real estate? The Council responded that it was because Walmart asked for it. After placing political pressure on the Council, I was able to convince them to change their minds; and that commercial property today is the Temecula Mall with restaurants, movie theaters, and high quality retail stores – generating millions of dollars a year to the local economy and employing hundreds of people instead of a single Walmart store. It just shows that one person really CAN make a difference.
UR:Why specifically are you running?
Sen. Jeff Stone: I believe I can still contribute to the well-being of California and Riverside County by providing the type of leadership that puts taxpayers ahead of special interests; puts the interests of families who are trying to get into an affordable house ahead of the radical liberals who want to increase fees so they can pretend they’re doing something for the environment; and puts the interests of taxpayers ahead of the powerful special interests who seem to run Sacramento.
UR: What is the single biggest issue facing your Senate District, why and what are you doing – or will you do – to correct it?
Sen. Jeff Stone: The biggest issue in our district is a lack of affordable housing in safe communities that are close to where people work. I’ve worked to lower taxes for homeowners to let more people stay in their homes and have supported our law enforcement officials who are doing their best to crack down on violent criminals who prey upon the innocent. We need to reform our laws to make it easier and cheaper to build quality homes people can afford and we need to hold criminals accountable (including those who are in our country illegally) for their actions if they choose to victimize innocent people.
UR: Where (in what area) do you think you can make the biggest difference? Healthcare, housing, veteran affairs? Those are examples of what I mean.
Sen. Jeff Stone: I’ve been able to make a big difference as a State Senator in many areas, but my background as a pharmacist has enabled me to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats AND Republicans to pass some common sense reforms to the way healthcare works in California – including partnering with a very liberal Senator from Santa Barbara to allow for drug takeback bins to be placed in pharmacies around the state. I’ve also introduced legislation to help rural areas receive better healthcare since many people don’t have access to quality medical care near their homes.
UR: Why are you a better choice than your opponent?
Sen. Jeff Stone: I have a proven record of accomplishment that I’m very proud of, and the fact that I’ve operated a number of successful small businesses gives me a fairly unique perspective on how to run government in a more efficient manner.
UR: What has been your biggest campaign mistake or misstep?
Sen. Jeff Stone: That’s probably a question I’ll be better able to answer after the election.
UR:What are the three most notable endorsements you have received to date?
Sen. Jeff Stone: I’m proud of all of the endorsements I’ve received, but if I had to pick three – they would include the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association; the California Correctional Peace Officers’ Association; and the National Federation of Independent Business.