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ORANGE COUNTY State, Local Races: State Senate, Assembly, O.C. Seats at Stake

March 05, 2000

Voters go to the polls Tuesday to choose candidates who will appear on the November ballot. Here's a closer look at candidates for Congress, state Senate and state Assembly. Candidates were asked about their goals and their stand on the proposed El Toro Airport. They were also asked their position on county toll roads which have come under scrutiny in recent months.


Dick Ackerman

Personal: 57, married, three children

Education: Law degree from Hastings School of Law

Party: Republican

Career highlights: The incumbent state assemblyman (R-Fullerton) was named Legislator of the Year in 1997 by the Orange County League of Cities.

Goals: Make it easier for companies to do business in California. Limit state regulation on local school boards.

El Toro: Questions whether El Toro should be an airport.

Toll roads: Opposes toll roads. "We pay enough gasoline taxes as it is without having to pay again to drive on a freeway."


Jack Roberts

Personal: 61, married, two children

Education: Graduate degree in negotiations and conflict management from Cal State Dominguez Hills

Party: Democrat

Career highlights: Business agent for Service Employees International Union Local 660 in Los Angeles.

Goals: Deliver better education and health care to families and senior citizens.

El Toro: Anti-airport.

Toll roads: Wants state to buy the 91 Express Lanes and turn it into a carpool lane.


Ross Johnson

Personal: 60, married, two children

Education: Law degree from Western State College of Law

Party: Republican

Career highlights: Current state Senate minority leader (R-Irvine) and former Assembly minority leader. First state legislator to serve as party leader in both houses.

Goals: Demand merit pay for teachers and increase local control of schools.

El Toro: Communities around El Toro must have their legitimate environmental concerns taken into consideration.

Toll roads: Supports toll roads.


Steve Ray

Personal: 51, married, two children

Education: Undergraduate degree in government and classics from the University of Texas

Party: Democrat

Career highlights: Small-business owner for 12 years. Previously, a special-education teacher.

Goals: To do a better job of representing the district's needs.

El Toro: Anti-airport.

Toll roads: "There should be no private ownership of toll roads."


Paul L. Studier

Personal: 45, single

Education: Undergraduate physics degree from University of Illinois

Party: Libertarian

Career highlights: Designed video board for automated inspection of circuit boards.

Goals: "I want to end the drug war by implementing Prop. 215, which allows the medicinal use of marijuana."

El Toro: Anti-airport.

Toll roads: "I don't think the state should bail out the owners of toll roads."


Also running for the 33rd district seat is Michael Chacon, a Libertarian technical consultant and Wm. "Bill" Verkamp, a Natural Law contractor. Also running for the 35th district seat is Cindy Katz, a Natural Law chiropractor. Chacon, Verkamp and Katz did not return phone calls seeking comment.



Tom Harman

Personal: 58, married, two children

Party: Republican

Career highlights: Attorney, Huntington Beach city councilman and mayor pro tem

Goals: Improve education, health care, transportation and the environment.

El Toro: Has reservations about an airport.

Toll road: "Safety improvements need to be done. That place is a bottleneck to end all bottlenecks."


Jim Righeimer

Personal: 41, married, one child

Party: Republican

Career highlights: Owns property management company. Leader in the 1995 fight against a half-cent sales tax proposed in the wake of Orange County's bankruptcy. Co-wrote Proposition 226, an unsuccessful 1998 initiative that would have required permission from union workers before dues could be spent on political activities.

Goals: Protect taxpayers' money by opposing tax increases.

El Toro: Pro-airport.

Toll roads: The state should sue for the right to make needed road improvements.

Running unopposed for the 67th Assembly seat are Democrat and engineering business manager Andy Hilbert and Libertarian teacher Autumn Browne. Republican Dennis Brown will appear on the ballot but has dropped out of the race.


Bill Campbell

Personal: 57, married, three children

Party: Republican

Career highlights: Assemblyman (R-Villa Park). First elected in 1996 and reelected in 1998. Owns 14 Taco Bell franchises.

Goals: Welfare and education reform. Improve state's economy, schools.

El Toro: Anti-airport.

Toll roads: "The state shouldn't buy the toll lanes. The people who developed it took a risk when they took it on."


Gary C. Beck

Personal: 42, married, one child

Party: Republican

Career highlights: A Christian mediator, former lobbyist for the National Rifle Assn. Helped pass legislation allowing private businesses to run smog check stations.

Goals: Create a California state park at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

El Toro: Anti-airport.

Toll roads: Opposed to private toll road.

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