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John Campbell

John Campbell (R-Irvine) is an Assemblyman representing the 70th District in Orange County. Mr. Campbell is the Vice-Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. He is the only CPA in the California State legislature and recently received a national award as Freshman Republican Legislator of the Year. He represents the cities of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods and Lake Forest. He can be reached through his Assembly website and through the website for his California Senate campaign.

Disappointed But Proud
An embarrassing government, but a great state
[John Campbell] 7/26/03

It was quite a week in California politics. The first ever recall campaign of a Governor in this state qualified for the ballot. Assembly Democrats inadvertently left on microphones during a private meeting in the state capitol building allowing all of us to hear them plotting to intentionally cause "pain" and hold up a budget agreement in order to advance their initiative and political agenda. The Governor's finance director angrily shouted at me in a crowded capitol hallway while at the same time calling many members of his own party "fringe Democrats saying goofy things." Our state's credit rating was downgraded to one level above junk bond status. All the national news networks are covering these stories nightly from Sacramento. And Newsweek magazine has a cover this week depicting a map of a "crumbling" California.

I was born in California. In fact, I am a 4th generation Californian. My great grandfather was a "49er" who came to California, "the land of promise" in 1849. He never left. And I have never wanted to live anywhere else. I love this state. I love its natural beauty, its human dignity, and its unique spirit of enterprise and discovery. But is it still "the land of promise?"

Upon reflection back at this week, I find myself with a mixture of disappointment and pride. I am disappointed that our Governor has so failed this state that he must be recalled. But I am filled with pride that this state continues to display the political courage of the populace to deal with such problems, and that we have the mechanism to express them. The shameful actions of Legislative Democrats this week are indeed disappointing even if they are not members of my political party. But the nearly universal rebuke of those actions from all quarters shows that the "win at all costs" attitude is limited to just a few elected Democrats, and not shared by those who have elected them.

I am embarrassed to be part of the elected representatives of a state in such turmoil. But I am encouraged that the people are ready to rise up and make fundamental change over the next few years to put us back on the right track. I hate to hear that California is 50th out of 50 states in so many areas of measure. Just a short time ago we were the engine of America, and now it appears that we are the caboose. But we have become followers not because we do not have the people or the resources or the spirit to lead, but because we have a government that for the last 5 years has done everything it can to dampen that spirit.

However, we do not need government to lead us out of our last place position. The very special people and the very special spirit of California will do that. We just need government to get out of the people's way.

It has taken 5 long years of oppressive, special interest dominated, incompetent government to make this state the poster child of crumble and decay. We will not reverse this overnight. But reverse it we will.

They say it is always darkest before the dawn. It is very dark out now. But an energized and engaged electorate is ready to bring back a new dawn. It will take a lot of time and hard work. But California is worth it. And this citizen through it all, is still proud to be a Californian.


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