California, and particularly the Central Coast, has long been the destination for people who dream big and work harder for pioneers and trailblazers.
One such trailblazer was my great-grandfather, Joseph Pagliuso, an Italian immigrant. His son, my grandfather, was an engineer who also started a ranching operation, a business our family still operates today.
My parents started our own family business when I was a boy. My first job, in elementary school, was packing boxes to ship to customers. Sometimes those boxes weighed more than I did. Today, I’m president of this business. I know how to create jobs, and I know the grueling hours required to keep the doors open.
Over the years I’ve watched businesses leave here because politics, in the form of onerous regulations, high taxes and inefficient bureaucracy, has become an obstacle that hard work no longer can overcome. We’re left with empty storefronts, fewer jobs and an increased cost of living.
People are facing tough choices, like Ryan, a general contractor I recently met.
Ryan told me he and his wife want to raise a family here, but every year it’s harder to make a living, let alone get ahead. He said, “When I started as a contractor, all of the paperwork and permitting for a project could fit on a single page or two. It’s now inches thick, requires a lawyer and can take a year for approval.” Those increased costs directly hit his paycheck.
He said he and his wife were working on their five-year plan. I’m a proponent of long-range planning. I said, “That’s great! What happens at the end?” He replied, “Our finances and business arrangements will be in order and we can leave California. Then, finally, we can get ahead.”
When good people like Ryan and his wife leave our community, taking their small business with them, it hurts all of us.
Ryan isn’t alone. Every day people in our community work long hours to get ahead, despite obstacles, hoping that Washington politicians finally will get serious about the buzzwords they used while campaigning, such as “bipartisan,” “compromise” and “reform.”
Then they watch the news and hear about one party or the other threatening a government shutdown over a single issue while there’s gridlock on issues they’re concerned about, like lower taxes, eliminating the national debt, jobs, education, and safe neighborhoods.
Instead of tackling tough issues head-on, Congress passes huge omnibus bills that increase spending but provide no solutions. Congress has run up $21 trillion in debt, mortgaging our children’s future.
Washington is broken and needs a new generation of leaders who will fight for solutions and keep promises. While working on Capitol Hill, I successfully built consensus among members of Congress to move policy forward. I’m ready to use that experience to serve the people of the 24th Congressional District.
Living here is special. I was fortunate to grow up here roaming the hills, enjoying the beaches, and absorbing the natural beauty of our environment. Here, as the rest of the world learned during the Thomas fire and the debris flow, helping people matters more than politics.
As your congressman, I’ll present business-minded solutions to balance the budget and stretch our tax dollars. I’ll work to roll back overreaching regulations, allowing local businesses to create jobs. I’ll fight to ensure that law enforcement officers have the tools they need to keep our families safe. And, I’ll always put people ahead of politics.
I would be honored to be your voice in Washington, and hope to earn your vote on June 5.