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State Senator gets acquainted with Porterville
While State Sen. Michael Rubio, D-16th District, will not officially become Porterville’s representative until after the 2014 elections, he is already getting to know people and issues in the Porterville area.
Rubio spent a couple of days in what will be his new district if he is re-elected in November of 2014. Under the difficult-to-understand rules of reapportionment, elected officials like Rubio who saw their district’s boundaries change, only assume their new boundaries after election. Those elected next month will assume those new boundaries this year, the rest two years from now.
Rubio’s District Director Esmeralda Soria, originally from Lindsay, admitted it is kind of a confusing system, but that Rubio wanted to get acquainted now. Rubio was elected to the state Senate in 2010.
A former Kern County supervisor from the Lost Hills area, Rubio spoke briefly during a reception Wednesday night at the Heritage Center.
“I’m here to get to know the community,” he told the gathering of elected and civic leaders.
“I want to be that person to work on your behalf, assist you with your issues and problems,” he said.
He said he firmly believes in the Valley and hopes to convince his fellow lawmakers of the importance of the region to the state’s overall economy.
“The real debate in Sacramento is these small towns against the urban areas,” he said, citing an example where money to create jobs is divided equally among areas, even though unemployment in areas like Terra Bella is much higher than the Bay Area.
In response to a question from City Council member Greg Shelton, the first-term senator said he supports high speed rail. “Absolutely,” he replied, explaining that for once the Valley was getting its share of money spent by the state.
City Manager John Lollis said an issue that concerns him is that he expects pressure from the state to clean up communities that do not have clean water or sewer systems, such as East Porterville and Doyle Colony, even though they are not within the city.
Rubio answered by saying Sacramento needs to take a regional approach to where funds can be obtained and used to develop domestic water systems.
“My No. 1 priority is to fix water issues,” he vowed, noting that is one consistent issue throughout his district.
He also said he will focus a lot of his efforts on reducing regulations on businesses and to help businesses hire workers.
“I want to create development zones,” in response to a question by Mayor Virginia Gurrola about the state robbing the cities by taking away redevelopment. He hopes those zones will bring manufacturing jobs to the area.
He also said the state needs to reduce corporate taxes to increase hiring and labeled his approach to over-regulation as “The Right to Cure” that would allow a company time to correct something rather than just being fined.
“Give me the ability to be in compliance, just don’t slap me with a fine,” he explained.