McClintock has big plans to deliver for district |

McClintock has big plans to deliver for district

Senator Tom McClintock
Kelsey Edwards Photography |

NEVADA CITY “-Tom McClintock headed to the U.S. Capitol Tuesday to be sworn in as the 4th Congressional District representative after a bruising contest he says wasn’t even his toughest.

The Republican, who has served in the state Senate and Assembly, bested Democrat and Air Force veteran Charlie Brown, of Roseville. In 2002, he lost by less than one-half a percentage point to Democrat Steve Westly for state controller.

“From that standpoint, this was a runaway victory,” McClintock chuckled regarding his latest campaign. “I have to give credit to Charlie Brown for running a very good race.”

As a freshman representative in the minority party for at least the next two years, McClintock may be facing his biggest battle yet.

“I’ve learned that in legislatures, the minority does not get to govern, but the minority does have an equal opportunity to improve on what the majority is doing. That’s how people are assured a better way of doing things.”

This was McClintock’s second run at a congressional seat, having lost a bid to represent California’s 24th district in 1992.

Though he’s never served in Washington, the 52-year-old native of White Plains, N.Y., said he’s learned plenty from the politics of Sacramento that he can take to the Capitol Mall in D.C.

“The issues at hand involve the survival of our nation. When bad policy affects California, you can always move to a different state.”

McClintock does not live in the district of suburbs, forest lands, Sierra peaks and valley farmland he represents. He goes to Washington after representing a state Senate district in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley.

He plans to look for a home for his family to lease in southern Placer or El Dorado counties, McClintock said. A house he owns in Elk Grove is being rented out.

The congressman-elect said he plans to conduct town hall meetings over the next three months in his new district to gauge the concerns of citizens and set priorities.

He will seek a seat on the House’s Natural Resources Committee and Transportation and and Infrastructure Committee, which he said are of particular importance to the district’s constituents, business and quality-of-life concerns.

The Natural Resources Committee deals extensively with logging, mining and water issues, while the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is the House’s chief committee for federal road and highway improvements and construction.

“Both committees give me the opportunity to provide the best advocacy on issues vital to people in the 4th District,” he said.

McClintock would like to relax longstanding restrictions on logging.

“I’d like to see (logs) carried out of the forest, rather than burned out,” he said.

Once in Washington, McClintock may again revive a 30-year-old debate to construct a dam on the American River for hydroelectric power.

Though the California Water Resources Control Board in December revoked permits for the dam, the congressman-elect said timing will dictate whether he would push for the project, which was halted after a 1975 earthquake.

“When we have the most water-rich area in the state and it’s subject to water rationing, I think we may see a dramatic shift in favor of it,” he said. “The area cannot prosper without it.”

McClintock said the dam can produce enough hydroelectric power for nearly 1 million homes, though the damming of the river has been roundly criticized by opponents as being unsafe and reckless from an environmental standpoint.

McClintock also said he will continue to push for limited government, and blasted the Bush administration’s $700 billion financial bailout.

He said he will also push for a reduction in corporate taxes.

“You tax productivity, you get less of it. The areas with the highest unemployment would benefit from a reduction of such taxes,” he said, adding that such a reduction could help curb Nevada County’s 7 percent unemployment rate.

McClintock announced his staff in a memo to the media Monday, and will move into the Cannon House Office Building, where freshmen legislators often are assigned.

When told that a large constituency is counting on him to deliver, McClintock paused.

“I am keenly aware of that,” he said. “I feel far better prepared to be a freshman in Congress than I ever was when I was a freshman in the state Assembly.”

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