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DECISION 96

Meet the Candidates

November 03, 1996

The Candidates (23rd Congressional District)

Seeking his sixth term in Congress, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) faces Democratic challenger Bob Unruhe, Stephen Hospodar of the Natural Law Party and Libertarian Gail Lightfoot.

Elton Gallegly

Age: 52

Occupation: Congressman

Residence: Simi Valley

Party: Republican

Education: High school diploma, attended Los Angeles State College

Background: A resident of Simi Valley for 27 years, Gallegly was a real estate broker and small-business man before entering politics full time. He was elected to the Simi Valley City Council in 1979 and was the city's mayor from 1980 to 1986. Gallegly was first elected to Congress in 1986. He is the only nonlawyer on the House Judiciary Committee and also sits on the Foreign Affairs and Natural Resources committees.

Issues: An avowed conservative, Gallegly favors cutting taxes, cutting government spending, balancing the budget and fighting crime and drugs. He is a leading member of Congress seeking to halt illegal immigration by strengthening border patrols, toughening laws and allowing states to deny public benefits to illegal immigrants, including banning them from public schools. He opposes abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or threat to a woman's life.

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Stephen P. Hospodar

Age: 53

Occupation: Marketing director

Residence: Carpinteria

Party: Natural Law

Education: Bachelor's degree in law and political science, Kent State University, Ohio; master's degree in business administration from Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa

Background: Hospodar is operations director of a small publishing house for nautical books and charts. Before moving to Carpinteria 4 1/2 years ago, he was the director of Transcendental Meditation centers and Ayurvedic Health Centers in various cities. He continues to teach TM part time and was one of the founders of the local Natural Law Party. This is his first bid for public office.

Issues: He wants to shift from "disease care" to health care, emphasizing prevention of illness and allowing federal coverage of alternative medicine. He favors a holistic approach to reducing crime and drug addiction, including meditation and other techniques to reduce stress--which he considers the root cause of crime. With reduced crime and illness, he believes the government can slash taxes, stimulate the economy and balance the budget.

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Gail Lightfoot

Age: 59

Occupation: Registered nurse

Residence: Pismo Beach

Party: Libertarian

Education: Completed nursing program at the Los Angeles County Hospital School of Nursing, took courses at junior colleges in the Los Angeles area.

Background: A resident of San Luis Obispo County, Lightfoot is chairwoman of the Libertarian Party of California. She has been active in the party since 1990 and has run for Congress three times against Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas). A public health nurse, she organized a protest against mandatory continuing education for nurses, calling it an invasion of individual rights.

Issues: Lightfoot wants government to stay out of abortion decisions but offer expectant mothers safe havens for adoption. She favors replacing government subsidies of schools with unlimited tax credits to individuals or businesses that cover a student's tuition. She wants to get tough on real crime, remove all victimless crime law from the books and open U.S. borders to individuals who want to come without asking for a handout.

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Bob Unruhe

Age: 73

Occupation: Retired teacher

Residence: Ojai

Party: Democrat

Education: Bachelor's degree in history, USC; master's degree in political science and education, USC

Background: An Ojai resident for 17 years, Unruhe is a retired high school government and civics teacher. He was a Culver City councilman from 1956 to 1966 and for the past three years represented Ventura County in the Senior Legislature. He served 11 years on the Ojai Parks and Recreation Commission and is a director of Food Share, the county's nonprofit food bank.

Issues: Unruhe vows to protect Social Security and Medicare from budget cuts. He wants more federal dollars for educational programs like Headstart, job training and college loans. He favors increasing the minimum wage and strengthening laws to protect clean air and water. He backs the president's plan to hire more police. He supports cracking down on illegal immigration, but opposes banning any child from public schools. He supports abortion rights.

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