4th District hopefuls participate in forum on North Shore | SierraSun.com

4th District hopefuls participate in forum on North Shore

A dynamic group of women have emerged as the Democratic Party's best hope to unseat a long-entrenched Republican in the 4th Congressional District of California.

The three women — Regina Bateson, Roza Calderon and Jessica Morse — have been on the campaign trail for months as they seek to line up support before voters head to the polls for the June 5 primary.

The top two vote getters in the primary, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Incumbent Rep. Tom McClintock has held the congressional seat since 2009. He is a former state assemblyman and state senator.

Bateson, Calderon, and Morse each appeared at a Jan. 23 candidate's forum in Kings Beach. Each of the candidates was afforded an opening and closing statement, as well as the opportunity to answer nine scripted questions.

The event drew more than 200 people to the North Tahoe Event Center, and delved into key issues in this election cycle, including health care and the economy.

HEALTH CARE

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Calderon, a 32-year-old geoscientist, favors a single-payer health care system through Medicare. She also supports the Affordable Care Act.

"So when it comes to health care I do believe that the Affordable Care Act was amazing in the way that it got us in the right direction and it got the conversation started about single-payer and universal health care," she said.

"But what I propose and what I support fully is Medicare expansion for all."

Bateson, 35, who is married with three children, said McClintock is a threat to affordable health care. She said he voted to take away health care from thousands of people in the district.

Bateson favors the protection and expansion of existing health care programs.

She said she is "committed to improving, and defending, and expanding the Affordable Care Act. Standing up for Medicaid and Medicare, which is facing $25 billion in cuts potentially this year. I will also prioritize lowering prescription drug costs and expanding coverage."

Morse, 35, said she is committed to universal health care. The fifth generation Northern Californian also supports the Affordable Care Act, but feels it can be improved.

She proposed a multi-pronged strategy that includes health care transparency laws and universal primary care.

"With a universal health care model we would be able to provide twice the service at half the price," said Morse, who holds a master's degree from Princeton University.

ECONOMY

Each of the candidates stood in stark contrast to McClintock with respect to how handle the economy.

Bateson, who holds a master's degree and doctorate from Yale, believes in empowering small business owners, investing in jobs training and vocational programs, and making smart investments in the local economy.

She is also "committed to fighting to bringing rural broadband to our district."

Morse also feels it's important to bring reliable internet to rural communities, support small business, vocational training, and the creation of clean energy jobs.

She also railed against McClintock's support of special interests and the backing of the GOP's tax reform plan.

"So we need a representative who is not gonna sit by and only advocate for his political party and special interest donors. We need somebody who will advocate and ask 'not does this cause the other side to lose, but how does this impact our community,'" Morse said.

Calderon cited "a lack of income equality" in the district, and said she would like to see better pay for workers.

She said the average income in some areas of the district is $20,000 per year, and that was not enough money to buy a home or much else.

"We have to be able to fight for a living wage," said Calderon, who would like to see a $15 per hour minimum wage.

"And so we really have to fight for, not just for the $15 an hour here in California. But an actual living wage. To be able to afford even a rental in this area you need at least $18 an hour," she said.

To view the candidate's forum in its entirety, visit ttctv.org.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misstated the university at which Regina Bateson earned her master’s degree and Ph.D.

Contact staff writer Wyatt Haupt Jr. at 530-550-2652 or via email at whaupt@sierrasun.com.